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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12. Fox Hunting

Westby hurried from the office, and with a sigh I followed him, quickly saying goodbye to Doyle. On the way out, I saw Westby pick up a phonebook from one of the reception desks – the receptionist did not seem bothered – and then disappear out the door.

“My goodness, he moves fast,” I thought as I passed the desk.

“Make sure he brings it back this time,” the receptionist said, looking at me for a moment, and then returning her attention to the queue of people before her.

“I shall,” I replied, hurriedly. Once I was outside, I saw Westby leaning against a wall, smoking the cigarette he had gotten out in Doyle’s office. “Desperate?” I inquired.

“Not at all. Impatient. Now come along. I have found the address of Helen Fox,” he replied, grinning and dropping the cigarette. He snuffed it out with his shoe, and then frowned. “I also found these two, as well. It would seem there are three Helen Fox’s in this city.”

“Which do you think it is then?” I asked, myself growing impatient.

Westby handed me the phone book and pointed at the names. “Take a look and work out which one it is most likely to be.”

“Fine,” I said, taking a look at the three names. Considering Mr. Jacobson’s age – about thirty – Miss Fox was likely to be around the same age. That got rid of one of the women, as she was fifty-six. That still left two, and I could not determine which one it could be. Something Westby noticed – probably from seeing my perplexed features.

“Down to two, are we? Do not be troubled, Dr. Malcolm. I cannot determine which it could be. Therefore, I propose we split up,” he said, moving from the wall and towards the road. “Which would you prefer to take?”

I paused and looked at the phonebook again. I felt it would be better to go to whichever lived closer to 52b Parkside, and I found that, fortunately, one lived very nearby, at 43a Parkside – a remarkable stroke of luck.

“In that case, I shall go to the other, up near the University,” Westby replied after I told him I wished to visit 43a. He handed me some money from his pocket for the taxi, and then hailed one for himself. “Call me if you’ve got the right one,” he said as he got in. The door closed, I saw his lips move, and then the taxi drove away.

With a frustrated sigh, I hailed a tax for myself, and hopped in. “43a Parkside, please.”

“Right away,” said the driver, and we headed out onto the road, and along the streets of Sanguine Town.

It took the usual half an hour to arrive in the Parkside area, and as expected number 43a was just down the road from where Westby and myself had taken up residence.

After paying my fare, I headed towards the house the taxi had stopped at, and checked the number on the left hand side of the building – 43a. Thankful this was the correct door, I knocked twice, and then waited.

It was a rather long wait, but as I was about to knock again the door was opened, and a young woman with neat blonde hair and a slender frame stood within. Her hair was wet, and I guessed that she had recently washed it, as there had been no rain recently – an odd occurrence, though, as it usually rained on Sanguine Town nights.

“Sorry,” said the woman, regarding me with no particular expression. “I was in the shower. You weren’t waiting for long, were you?”

“Not at all,” I replied, knowing well that it was a bit of a lie.

“Oh, good. So, how can I help? You’re not a salesman are you?”

I laughed at this remark and shook my head. “No, no. Not in the slightest. Is your name Helen Fox, by any chance?”

“Yes…” She paused and looked at me with a concerned expression. “What do you want?”

“I need to know something. Do you, by any chance, know a Mr. William Jacobson?” I asked. I waited a short time as her face remained blank, and then I saw genuine tears begin to form.

“You’re with the Police, aren’t you? He’s…” She sobbed, and leaned into her house a little more. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”

“I’m not with the Police, at least, not officially. But I’m afraid he is. May I ask how you know him?”

She sobbed again, and then sighed, regaining her composure. “William and I were…somewhat involved with each other, but…well, he was with someone else.”

“May I come in?” I asked, suddenly. “The doorway is no place to discuss such matters.”

She was taken aback by my question, I am sure, but after a short interval she invited me into the living room.

It was a small room, with two sofas and an armchair, as well as a television upon which sat small ornaments. It was also a rather bright room for a home in Parkside.

She gestured for me to sit on one of the sofas, and she sat on the other. “I asked him to break up with her, but I don’t know if he did.”

“Okay…what can you tell me about his partner?” I asked, eager to find out as much as possible so that the case might be closed, and I could go back to work again.

“Forgive me, but…how are you connected to the Police?” She sat back, and frowned.

“I’m involved in the investigation of Mr. Jacobson’s…sorry…William’s death, along with a…friend of mine,” I replied, honestly.

She sighed and then, fairly reluctantly, answered my question. “She was his business partner, and then things got romantic between them. But then he met me, and he drifted from her a bit…I don’t know if he noticed.”

“Anything else?” I pressed, needing a name.

“She’s a witch…a bad witch. Always causing trouble…and her name’s Francesca Nightingale,” Helen replied. She paused, and almost seemed to glare at me. “Is that all?”

“Er…yes, that’s all.”

“Then can you please leave?”

I stood up. “Okay. Thank you for your help, Miss Fox.” I walked from the living room and, as is the case in Parkside properties, headed down the stairs to the door.

 

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