The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Four
Entering the summer of 1939, the people of Bournemouth were too busy having a good time to worry about Hitler. Some had even strapped a sign to the boot of their vehicle which read: Half A Mo’ Hitler Let’s Have Our Holidays First. For those who lived there and the holiday-seekers who would arrive, collectively, they wanted the same, respite from contemplation of the worst. For them, this summer would be a joy-filled time of suspension, free from thoughts of the approaching winds of war.
Two weeks had passed since Arthur Brodley’s murder on May 21. Collier poured his tea and returned to his desk to mull over the reports and interviews on the case.
The autopsy report revealed that the assailant had attempted to strangle Brodley first before bludgeoning him with a series of blows to the head, probably with a hammer. Still outstanding were the lab results on the cigarette butts. The interview of Brodley’s granddaughter, Valerie, indicated that her grandfather’s safe contained a large stash of money and copy of his will. Taking out his pen, Collier scribbled: Will ???? Who benefits???? Furthermore, she revealed that her grandfather had a fondness for entertaining prostitutes. When questioned about the hair curler, she concluded that there was good likelihood that it may have been used during one of those occasions. When he had interviewed the local prostitutes, including Brodley’s regulars, that idea of the hair curler being used as part of their routine had been dismissed. He placed a large question mark beside hair curler with his pen. The name ‘Philly’ Morris came up several times during his investigation. Recently, Morris had come into money, and lots of it. He circled Morris’s name several times. His interview of Mrs. Stoddard provided no additional information on the day of the murder. She had even suggested that he might learn more if he were to attend one of her seances. He scribbled: ???Possibility??? Then he crossed it out. The buzzer on his intercom intruded. “Yes, Sergeant?!”
“…Jock Mahoney…owner of Hollies Pub…and Quentin Hogg…mortgages at the bank are here, sir.”
“About?” There was a momentary silence. “Did they say what it was about, Sergeant?”
“The Arthur Brodley murder, sir.”
“Send the gentlemen along, and you too, Sergeant.”
Mahoney and Hogg reiterated what had already been learned from the local prostitutes, namely that Joseph ‘Philly’ Morris, a person normally strapped for money, had suddenly come into a lot of it and had been...