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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9. The Meaning of the Note

I will not bore the reader with the events of my day at work, and will therefore skip forward to when I returned home.

I caught a taxi back; spending the last of the money I’d taken with me for the day, and had to get out about half a mile before reaching 52b. It took me close to ten minutes to get home, and when I did, I found the door was locked.

“What’s Westby playing at?” I asked myself, unlocking the door with my spare key. Once inside, I hung up my coat and propped my walking stick against the wall, ready to head upstairs.

From above, I heard the sound of thudding, and occasional sound of clashing metal.

In a panic, I rushed up the stairs and into the living room, where I saw Westby sitting by the open window, and the sound of thudding had stopped. “What?” I gasped.

“Oh, George. Welcome home. How are you?” Westby said, calmly.

I looked at him in disbelief, and noticed his collar was in an odd position, and his face was slightly red. “What’s been going on?” I asked.

“Nothing at all. I’ve been waiting for you to return home so I can discuss the mystery of the note,” he replied, smiling.

“You look a little red in the face,” I commented.

“I’ve been sitting at the window.”

”How long?”

“An hour…” Westby grinned. “To business.”

“Business?”

Westby jumped out of his chair and headed over to his desk, moving very casually. He picked up the note and passed it to me. “I take it you got my text?”

“I did,” I replied, reading the note again. It said exactly what he had put in the text, and I looked to him, expecting a sudden, long-winded explanation. Instead, he asked me for one.

“What have you worked out, Dr. Malcolm?” he asked. Putting aside the fact that in “business matter” he called me Dr. Malcolm, I told him what I understood.

“Well, it’s from a lover, and she didn’t want to use her actual name, so they’re hiding something. She used his name, though. Um…she wants to tell people, but their love is a secret, and she seems worried that something might get in the way.”

“Bravo!” Westby exclaimed. “A wonderful analysis, but not quite to the point.”

“What?”

“You see, whilst she does seem to be a lover, she wasn’t exactly hiding her name. “Petal” suggests that her name is something like a flower. Rose, or Lily, or something like that. And then there’s the point of them announcing their love. I think that means Mr. Jacobson is with someone else, and this “petal” is his mistress.

“Therefore, something getting in the way suggests Mr. Jacobson’s partner finding out. And that is why I think Mr. Jacobson was murdered by his official partner. So we need to find “petal” and ask her who she was.”

I nodded in understanding, realising that what Westby said made perfect sense. But I was aware that finding Mr. Jacobson’s “petal” would probably be a rather difficult task, as would finding his partner. As these thoughts went through my head, I remembered Westby’s theory about the killer being a witch, and brought this up.

“Do you still think his killer is a witch?”

Westby nodded, but did not say anything for a short time. We just stood in the living room, looking at each other. Finally, he cracked a smile. “How fast did you climb the stairs?” he asked.

“What?”

“When you got up here, you seemed slightly out of breath, suggesting you ran up the stairs. If your leg was truly damaged, you wouldn’t have been able to run up the stairs so fast,” he explained, still smiling. He paced to the window, looked down, sighed, and closed it. Turning to face me again he drew the curtains.

“Adrenaline,” I said, unconvincingly. I had a feeling Westby was finally presenting the evidence I had mistakenly asked for.

“And why did you have an adrenaline rush? You weren’t in danger, were you?”

“I thought you were,” I replied.

Westby laughed. “Me? In danger? What would give you that idea?”

“I heard thudding and the sound of metal hitting metal.” I frowned. “What happened?”

“Nothing at all,” Westby replied, pacing. There was a dull clink, and he seemed to kick something away, but I did not ask, as I was aware I would get no answer.

“We need to get our hands on Mr. Jacobson’s laptop,” Westby said, suddenly. “There’ll be a record of messages from his official partner, and his “petal”. If we’re lucky, we’ll find out the identity of one, or both.”

“If we find out both, do we just go for the official partner?” I asked.

Westby faced me and grinned. “No. We ask “petal” questions first. I’ve planned this out, and we’re following the plan.”

I nodded, perplexed. He actually planned out a case? He was an odd man, especially if he was against changing his plans. But I suppose I had been warned, though not necessarily to this extent. Was there anything else he didn’t tell me?

“What’s time, George?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t have a watch,” I replied frustratedly. “And I’m guessing we have no food, still.”

“Go and look,” Westby replied, sitting in his chair and picking up a newspaper.

I sighed and went through to the kitchen. Upon opening the fridge I found it had been stocked with some fruit, cheese and canned meat. Sitting on a plate was an analogue watch with a post-it note underneath. It read:

“Here’s a watch. For time-keeping.”

“Thank you, Westby!” I called through. I grabbed an apple and bit into it. It was good to finally have food.

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