It became known as the night of the honey. A strange case of the girl found drowned in a pool of honey. Or so it looked.
I had been called in as an expert investigator. I’d been around a few honey pots in my time and knew a yellow box from a red gum and I could spot a Tasmanian Leatherwood a mile off.
The girl it appeared had been dancing on the upstairs balcony when the incident occurred. Like in so many cases the existence of witnesses left a lot to be desired. Most of them were so drunk they literally couldn’t give a fig about what had happened.
I decided to have a close look at the crime scene. To get from the balcony to the downstairs area where the body had been found you had to negotiate a rickety spiral staircase. I could see that she might easily have stumbled on the stairs but my sixth sense; my sense that came from thirty years in this business told me there was something sticky about this case.
At first there was not a trace of anything that pointed in any direction. In the corner of the room I saw a girl who was obviously in a trance, she was staring straight at me, not blinking, at first I thought she was another victim but a closer look said she was breathing, sort of.
I asked her if she had seen anything, heard anything, knew anything.
She looked at me, her eyes blinked for the first time, then she spoke, the words seeped out of her mouth, they had a ring to them like a dinner bell ringing on the fourth floor.
‘It’s Emily isn’t it?” she asked but I knew she already knew the answer. ‘She was an emulous woman you know. She came here tonight to win over Charles, but Charles spurned her, said she was a nobody, said she’d never work in this town if he could help it. You see Emily’s heart was sheathed in a bitterness that went back to our school days when she was passed over for house captain. She blamed me of course, said my conniving ways had set the school against her but I said that’s impossible as I was the school darling you see.’
She blushed furiously at that point.
‘It was the pressure of the moment you see that led me to do it,’ she said.
‘You killed her?’ I asked incredulously.
‘ Oh no, never, I dislike honey you see but Emily loved nothing more than to swim in it. Though if you look closely you’ll see it’s the ligature round her neck that is more the cause than the honey. She was skylarking with Ms Roeder’s honey jar when she came a real cropper, so to speak,’
Her statement gave rise to me looking closely at the body once more. Sure enough round her neck was a thin ligature, the sort of ligature you’d use if you were not wanting the ligature to be seen.
The honey I concluded was a red herring, placed there by the killer to put me off my scent. Very clever but not clever enough.
‘If you want a good clue Officer I’d check out Ms Roeder. She’s the short woman holding the coffee mug in two hands. She’s a witch of a woman, be careful round her, she’s wanting and needing and one other thing, she has a hellhound called Sam. Don’t turn your back on Sam.’
At last I had a clue. I knew if I hung around long enough the true would begin to seep out. I approached Ms Roeder, she too appeared to be in a trance, the shock of a death and her honey spread all over the floor was too much for her.
As I approached she turned and looked into my eyes. Her big beautiful blue-grey eyes looked into my own, I could feel my own face blush, the pressure was clearly getting to me, I felt a strange sensation come over me, suddenly all memory of what I was doing there vanished, bells of a different sort started ringing, I had this weird feeling of being ligatured to her when she said in the sweetest voice I had ever heard:
“Officer I do hope you have a sheath with you.”