Elsa Holland

Historical Romance Writer: LUSH SENSUAL READS

Snippet: from the thriller plot in Painted Trust

Great Britain 1898

There’s a fledgling killer, fostered and trained by men so deep in the echelons of power catching him could be more dangerous and letting him run loose. Inspector Morrison and Master Brody head to the first crime scene in Manchester.

Morrison stepped from the cab. Wind sent his black coat billowing and flapping behind him as he pressed down his hat and made his way to the front door of the three story soot encrusted boarding house. People, dressed in shades of dust and smoke milled about for word of the events within. Around them a chimney filled skyline purged black smoke into a sky that had no choice but to suck in the pungent fumes as all around them the city’s heartbeat filled the air with the ceaseless pounding of cotton looms. It was truly as Friedrich Engels, the socialist voice of the people described …‘hell on earth’.

“Inspector Morrison…Sargent Briggs.” The Sargent held out his hand. Morrison took it, and received a firm dry handed shake, the man was solid.

Sargent Briggs looked to be mid-thirties, tired eyes and a jacket that swan on thin shoulders. Briggs didn’t appear to eat his fair share of gods’ mighty bounty. He would be paid enough unless he had a dozen kids to feed at home or his wife, tired of too many nights alone had left him to his own devises. Some men might jump into that freedom and feed themselves with a hand wrapped around a tavern wench, however that was not Sargent Briggs. Did he dive into his work to feed a litter of kids or did he over work as he pined at their loss?

“Glad you could get here so quickly, Inspector.”

“Steam, is the master of distance, Sargent Briggs.” Morrison moved into the house as the Sargent filed in behind.

“The body is up on the top floor. It’s been near impossible to keep the lid on this one.” The Sargent said as they walked through the small entrance foyer towards the staircase against the far wall. A quick glance over his shoulder and Morrison made eye contact with the pup, the kid was right behind them, determination setting his pretty little jaw.

Morrison took the blackened stairs two at a time. Two, four, six, eight, landing. Boarders slouched in doorways or peered through doors held ajar, people saw everything and nothing in places like this.

“I assume you’ve questioned the residents?”

Two, four, six, eight, landing.

“Yes Inspector, only a few left who haven’t returned from shifts to follow up.”

“You interview them yourself?”

“Yes, sir.”

Two, four, six, eight, landing.

“Married?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Wife, kids?”

Two, four, six, eight, landing.

“With her mother, sir. I will have the time to put into the case if that’s what you are asking.”

Two, four, six, eight, landing.

Morrison turned at the top landing. Behind him the Sargent diligently followed as did the pup.

“Its ‘bad’ sir,” came the Sargent’s puffed voice.

‘Bad’, bobbies thought any crime that had sliced up flesh was bad. Even here in Manchester most of ‘bad’ would be what a body looked like after it got pulled out of the river Ink, a bubbling admass of green crusted slime that changed the color of the body’s skin and ate away the hair if left in it. Morrison doubted anyone at the scene had seen ‘bad’. The Ripper was bad, he’d seen that. They hadn’t. Most men no matter how well trained couldn’t see past the blood of a crime like that to see the facts needed to track and catch a monster. He could, military service gave him that skill. You hold enough limbless and decapitated bodies and ‘normal’ moves to an entirely different benchmark.

For him humanity was a term used to express an aspiration, not a reality.

 

 

 

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