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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11. Doyle's Theory

We headed down the stairs and across the reception room, passing the desks and heading to the offices. Our first stop was Doyle’s office, which we had visited last time, and we found it empty.

“Oh, bother!” Westby exclaimed, sitting in Doyle’s office chair. He spun on it for a moment, and I looked away to avoid getting dizzy. “Let’s wait.”

“Wait?” I inquired. “Are you sure? Maybe he’s ill today.”

Westby laughed. “Two things that tell me that’s not the case. First, the detective rarely gets ill. Second, he’s already been here today.”

“How can you tell?” I asked, well aware that I was likely to get a long-winded answer.

“Allow me to explain, Dr. Malcolm. His computer is still warm, suggesting it was used recently, and his diary is open on today’s page, with something written in his indistinguishable writing. Oh, and there’s the coffee cup in his bin,” Westby explained, smiling.

“Coffee cup?”

“Yes. You see, most of the coffee shops in this city write the date on coffee cups they sell. The shop he went to this morning is no exception, and it has today’s date on it. Therefore…” He smiled at me, leaving it for me to finish.

I sighed. “Therefore he had to have bought the cup today.”

“Precisely.”

Westby rotated on the chair slightly, and I saw him hide a smile. “There is one other clue.”

“And that would be?” I asked, folding my arms.

“He just came in through the entrance.” He glanced at me. “I saw the top of his head.”

“The top of his…”

“Ah, gentlemen!” Doyle exclaimed as he entered the room. “What are you doing here?”

Westby faced the detective and pressed his fingers together. “There is a case ongoing, which I feel I have answers to.” He cracked a smile and removed a cigarette from his pocket. “May I?”

“This is a no-smoking establishment, Mr. Ravensdale. I thought you would have noticed that,” Doyle replied, a smug expression on his face.

“Hm. I must not have seen any signs.”

I said nothing, but stood rather amazed. The laws of the Empire forbade smoking in workplaces, and that Westby seemed oblivious to this was astounding.

“Just get on with it, Ravensdale. What answers do you think you have?” said Doyle, interrupting the moment of silence. “And get out of my chair.”

Westby stood up with a smile and leaned against the wall. “Very well. I shall keep this brief, detective, as there are more investigations Dr. Malcolm and myself must carry out. But it is my belief that the victim was engaged in an affair, and his partner found out. However, I have not discovered the identity of his partner. Instead, I have found out the identity of the person with whom he was engaging in the affair.”

Doyle sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Sounds remarkably simple to me, Mr. Ravensdale. Scorned lover kills her cheating partner.”

“Ah, but there is also the matter of who his partner is. So far, all I am sure of is that she is a witch, and that she may be looking for Mr. Jacobson’s other partner.” He paused. “It is most confusing talking about these two partners.”

“It is indeed,” I concurred, for my head was aching slightly from the repeated references.

“What is your theory, Doyle?” Westby asked.

Doyle laughed. “My theory? Very much the same, Mr. Ravensdale. This is nothing more than an affair got out of hand. Once we have the name of Mr. Jacobson’s partners, we will bring them both in.”

“That is all?” I asked. “How can we know that you had no such theory, and you are now claiming Westby’s as your own?”

Westby laughed at this, drawing a puzzled look to my face. “Understand, Dr. Malcolm, that the Police always take credit for my deductions…I let them get away with it, as long as I am paid.”

Doyle sighed. “I’ll be honest. I had no such theory. I could not work out what was going on. Initially, I thought that perhaps he had committed suicide after a partner left him. After news of the Lady in Grey, I thought he had left his partner of his own accord, and they had sought revenge.

“My final theory before hearing yours, Mr. Ravensdale, was that when his little business lost money, his partner was also a business partner, and was frustrated that…”

“My goodness!” Westby exclaimed, interrupting Doyle mid-sentence. “Of course! There is more than just love at work here! There is also money!” He turned to me, and continued. “Do you see, Dr. Malcolm? If he left his partner, she would be kicked out of a business venture, and left in debt. The news of a second woman caused her nerve to snap, and she decided to kill him, so that as his partner she may inherit his business.

“Oh, it is wondrous. Doyle’s theory had a sense of accuracy, albeit minor. We must find the partner Mr. Jacobson planned to remain with. She will give us a clearer view of what is going on here, provided she still lives.”

“I am lost,” I said. “She could not have been his wife, or the Police would have found her already. So how does she stand to inherit his business?”

Doyle cleared his throat. “As a business partner, she stands to claim the business upon death of the co-owner. I believe Mr. Ravensdale is correct in his assumptions. We must find Mr. Jacobson’s lover as soon as possible. She may the only one who knows the name of his business partner.”

“What of the company?” I asked.

“She may have found a way to mask her identity. It’s not the first time it’s happened,” Doyle replied solemnly.

“Let us find Helen Fox!” Westby exclaimed, beaming. He seemed to be enjoying this case.

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