Maxwell's Inspection

Free Maxwell's Inspection by M.J. Trow

Book: Maxwell's Inspection by M.J. Trow Read Free Book Online
Authors: M.J. Trow
‘ninety-eight. Some basket case kid seeing if crêpe paper in the Art Room would burn.’
    There were murmurings around the room. Empirical, investigative education was a wonderful thing.
    â€˜There is one kid known to us as a bit of an arsonist, but he was firmly ensconced in a French lesson at the time and the teacher swears he didn’t move. Except when the fire-bell went of course and then he was out of there like a bat out of hell.’
    â€˜So who set the alarm off?’ Hall asked.
    â€˜We don’t know, guv,’ Prentiss said. ‘I talked to the caretaker, bloke called Bert Martin and he narrowed itdown to an alarm in Aitch Block.’
    â€˜Jacquie,’ Hall turned back to the flip chart. ‘Where’s that in relation to Aitch One?’
    She checked the plans. ‘Here, guv,’ she said. ‘Down the corridor and in that direction.’
    Hall tapped his teeth with his biro. ‘So what are we saying? The killer sets off the alarm, makes his way from the alarm to Aitch One, kills Whiting, who is either deaf or hasn’t bothered to obey the implicit instructions of the fire-bell and is obligingly sitting there. Then he walks out of the school through eight hundred witnesses.’ He let it all sink in. ‘Well, that’s straightforward then.’
    â€˜Getting out wouldn’t be a problem.’ Baldock the boy detective gave everybody the benefit of his superior intellect . ‘The assembly point was here, right?’ he had crossed to the flip chart. ‘So everybody’s there, everybody’s attention’s there. Chummy just has to walk out the other side.’
    Chummy? Thought Hall. The lad had been watching too many re-runs of Gideon of the Yard on TCM on his days off. Even so, the little bastard was essentially correct.
    â€˜Or,’ Philip Bathurst wasn’t going to let it go. He knew when a little shite was after his job. ‘He didn’t walk out at all.’
    â€˜Go on Phil.’ Hall was all ears.
    â€˜If it’s one of the Ofsted team, if it’s one of the staff, even if, God help us, it’s one of the kids, a cool customer would just mingle with the crowd, wouldn’t they, muttering about what a bloody waste of time fire drills were.’
    Everybody in that room had been thinking that since word of Whiting’s death got around. What if it was one of the kids? Could it be? They all knew that kids killed. From Mary Bell to Venables and Thompson, those two twistedlittle bastards who battered the toddler Jamie Bulger to death, there were psychos out there who just started out on the trail of havoc a little earlier than most. But Whiting, surely, was different. Most murderous children killed children younger than themselves or at least their own age. When they killed adults, it was the result of a mugging, a burglary gone wrong, the eventual ghastly retaliation for years of abuse. This was altogether something else.
    Hall waited until the muttering and the murmuring died down. ‘Cause of death.’ He had changed tack now, knowing how useless, at this stage of a murder enquiry, speculation was. ‘That’s down to Dr Astley.’ And the mutterings and the murmurings began again.
    Dr James Astley wouldn’t normally have worked nights. His patients, after all, were not usually in a hurry and they certainly weren’t going anywhere. But his bridge tournament had been cancelled and his wife had her sister over and suddenly, that Tuesday night, the mortuary seemed the only place to be.
    Astley would never see sixty again. Unless he really squeezed , he couldn’t often see his own genitals either, but hey, that was what growing old disgracefully was all about. And as for genitals, well, in his line of work, you got to see plenty of other people’s. In his line of work too, you talked to yourself. He hadn’t bothered to get his long-suffering assistant, Donald, out of his

Similar Books


Stephen Coonts

Gamblers Don't Win

W. T. Ballard

Lost River

Stephen Booth

Midsummer Murder

Shelley Freydont

The Carrion Birds

Urban Waite