The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Three
The call came through to his home at 4:00 A. M. Putting on his slippers, Collier grabbed his robe from the foot of the bed. The bedroom was still in total darkness as he made his way across the room to the door. His wife, Lila, mumbled something incoherent, but he encouraged her to go back to sleep. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs the phone was into its fifth ring. The telephone was in the alcove under the steps. He cleared his throat and picked up the receiver: “Chief Inspector Collier,” he said. He turned on the small table light on the telephone table.
The call was concise and disturbing to say the least. Arthur Brodley had been rushed to the hospital shortly after midnight. He had suffered a severe beating and had died within the past half hour. Sergeant Archie Snowden was quick to advise Collier that the crime scene had already been secured.
“Who called it in Sergeant?” Inspector Collier asked.
“His granddaughter, Valerie…She found him in the lounge.”
“Did you get her statement?”
“Constable Dubin did, sir.”
“Did she say if anything was missing?”
“In her statement she said that his rings, watch and gold chain were missing.”
“Did anyone check his pockets after his arrival at hospital, Sergeant?”
“I did, sir. They were empty.”
“Good work, Sergeant!”
“Should I await the preliminary autopsy report?” Snowden enquired.
“Let’s not worry about that for the moment.” Collier rubbed his hand on either side of his face. “Give me time to shave and have a bite to eat…Say an hour? …Yes! Pick me up in an hour.”
Collier had barely noticed that his wife had passed him in the hall as he slowly returned the receiver to its cradle. The rattling of pots and pans and clatter of dishes sent him along the hallway to the kitchen’s entrance.
“Lila…I’m sorry. Please…go back to bed.”
“Shush,” she replied crossing over to him. She reached up and put her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek. “I need to be here; so that’s that. Now go get yourself ready while I make breakfast. We certainly don’t want to start your day off on the wrong foot, now do we?”
He wrapped his arms around her waist lifting her off the floor and twirled her around in a complete circle before putting her down. “I love you. What you ever saw in me I’ll never know. I’m just glad you saw it. I don’t deserve the likes of you.”
“You’re right, you don’t,” she sighed, eliciting a broad smile. “Nevertheless, you got me. Now, don’t you be too long, or you’ll try my patience.” Playfully, she slapped him on the backside as he headed out of the kitchen. ...