Sanguine Town: Westby Ravensdale - The Lady in Grey

Westby Ravensdale is an eccentric private investigator in Sanguine Town with an ability that sets him apart from all others. He is capable of analysing a situation and coming up with an answer in seconds, making the secret weapon of both the Police and the Hunters...no matter how much he may frustrate them. With his helpful companion, George Malcolm, Westby faces up to any and all fascinating cases, bringing his unique methods to play. --- "The Lady in Grey" is the first in a series of Westby Ravensdale stories. George Malcolm is introduced to the detective, and is thrown head first into a case involving a mysterious spectral lady. --- Confession: Inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Largely a placement of Sherlock into a Supernatural setting. --- Thanks to Christie_xx for the cover drawing.

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7. Dagger Street

The drive to Dagger Street was short, and upon arrival I was the first to get out – my leg was complaining at the amount of movement I had done that day. Upon stepping out of the cab, I felt a sharp pain in my leg as I planted it upon the ground without the support of my walking stick, and let out a grunt of pain.

Westby chuckled behind me. “I say. You are so convinced your injury damaged your leg that you actually create a sense of pain. Most interesting.” He stepped out of the taxi and stood beside me.

“What will it take to convince you?”

“Evidence,” I replied.

Again, Westby laughed. He patted my back, and headed off in the direction of 7, Dagger Street. It was a short distance, and the large, cubic building was in clear view. All of the buildings in the slums were of a similar style, and although those of Dagger Street were better than the others of the area, they were still in a bad condition.

The buildings in the slums had flat roofs, making them vulnerable to damp, and less-than-desirable living conditions.

Like so many of the buildings found in the slums, 7 Dagger Street was actually a set of apartments, each of them numbered. Therefore, now we were at the building, we had to find Mr. Jacobson’s apartment.

I hurried after Westby, my leg aching as I did, and entered the building.

It was rather dull inside, and the lights flickered above us. Westby stood in the dull light, talking to a police sergeant who leaned against the damp, grey walls.

“Tell me, sergeant,” said Westby. “Which apartment belonged to Mr. Jacobson?”

“Apartment F.  Just down the corridor. The neighbour who saw the woman lives in Apartment E, in case you’re interested,” the sergeant replied.

“Ah, good.” The two of them started walking down the corridor, and Westby turned and looked at me. “Come along, Dr. Malcolm. I may need your expertise.”

“May?” I asked, though I received no answer. Considering my distance from them it took me a long time to catch up – in fact, I finally caught up with them when they reached Apartment F. As Doyle had said, the door had been broken down, and it had been left on the floor.

We had to crouch under the crime scene tape to gain entry, and once we were inside I could see how small these apartments were.

Upon entry, there was only a large double bed filling the room. A small television sat at the foot of the bed, and a laptop – closed – sat on a desk that stood against the bed.

To the left there was a small kitchen, and to the right a closed door, which I guessed was probably a bathroom.

“Tell me,” said the sergeant. “What do you make of the scene, Mr. Ravensdale?”

Westby paced for a moment, and then turned to the sergeant, smiling. “Allow me to let you in on a little secret. I cannot study a scene without knowing the details. Tell me how the body was found.”

“Well,” the sergeant replied, leaning against the wall. “Mr. Jacobson was found on the bed. His right arm was outstretched, and his left down by his side. His legs were hanging off the side, and he was laying quite straight, with a bullet hole in the side of the head.”

“And what made you sure it was a suicide?” I asked.

The sergeant hesitated. “Um…well, I doubt he would have been laying straight if he had shot himself. He would have bent slightly. Also, the angle of the shot was a bit…”

“A bit what, sergeant?” Westby pressed, curiously.

“Well, it wasn’t the kind a person could achieve with their own hand,” the sergeant concluded.

“Quite fascinating,” said Westby. “Let us go through this. Mr. Jacobson died on his bed…supposedly. The shot was in the side of the head, yet he was found facing the door. Therefore, he was not caught by surprise.

“So, he must have trusted the murderer. And consider it was the woman. She must have known him, and he must have known her. There’s more to this.” He faced the sergeant. “Tell me. What was the time of death?”

“About eight-thirty,” the sergeant replied.

“And when was the lady seen leaving?”

“That would be eight-forty-five.”

“Fifteen minutes to rearrange things and leave. Whoever she was, she left the door unlocked because she did not have a key. Now I must look around. There must be more clues that will tell me what happened before Mr. Jacobson’s death.” He wandered through the apartment, darting from the kitchen, to the bed, into the bathroom – I was correct in my assumption – and then repeating this a few times. Finally he stopped moving around, and stood in front of the bed. “I have it!”

“Have what?” I asked.

“I know what happened!” Westby exclaimed, turning to face us. “Mr. Jacobson got home, and locked the door. You can tell because his keys are over there, just behind where the door would open. See? He grabbed a sandwich, and left the knife used to butter the bread on the side, and the bread unwrapped. He did not change his clothes – there is no fresh clothing in his wash basket – and settled down to use his computer.

“The door opened behind him, and he slammed the lid down – there’s a fresh crack on the hinges, see? He didn’t panic when he saw the person, even though the door was locked. He was happy to see them. The two sat on the bed, and his guest managed to shoot him without dirtying the gun.

“His body was moved – see the smudged blood? She tried to make it look like a suicide. When she left, she put a charm on the door that would stop people opening it with the handle. Hence, it was broken down.” He looked away from us, and adjusted the covers. “Ah, look. She left something behind. A note.”

“A note!” I exclaimed. “What does it say, Westby?”

Westby smiled crookedly. “All in good time, Dr. Malcolm. I should prefer to read this outside of the crime scene. We shall be going now. Goodbye sergeant.”

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