Grant walked with Martin Jones home, then shook his hand, said goodbye and went to the bus stop. Hours later Martin was sitting in his living room. It was still pouring and cold. The lights were off and the room was empty. Upstairs his wife was fast asleep in their bedroom while Jones was wide awake, thinking about his life. It was 2 o’clock in the morning, He was 47 with no children and a wife that he didn’t love anymore. He liked his job though, being a detective was thrilling and it kept him out of the house and away from his nagging wife. He liked his partner Grant too. They were a good team together.
Martin was lost in his thoughts when suddenly the phone rang.
“Yes, Captain.” said Martin.
“There has been a murder in Follows Rd in Swiss Cottage at number 13, a woman is the victim, I’ll meet you there and call Grant!” said the Captain.
Jones hung up and called his partner but he didn’t answer. He put his coat back on and he thought how annoying it was to go out again in the rain. He wrote a note to his wife and left.
Being a detective without a car was a real nuisance. Martin had an accident a week ago and the car was still at the mechanic, so to get on the spot faster he decided to take a taxi. Fortunately he lived near a taxi station.
He rang Grant again, but still no answer.
“Where the hell is he? Why is he not picking up the damn phone!” he said to himself.
The driver looked into the rear-view mirror at Jones.
Once he reached the house, Martin found the Captain supervising the investigation and the medical examiners analysing the body to pick up samples. The woman was about 30, she had been strangled and probably hit several times as she had bruises all over her body. She was lying on the floor perfectly straight with her arms by her side totally naked except for a pair of shoes. Red heels. There were also some clothes perfectly folded on the bed.
“Weird…why would anyone leave a body only with its shoes on? She definitely doesn’t look like the kind of woman that would wear stilettos…maybe the murderer has a fetish for shoes?” he thought.
Her name was Alexandra Bratten. Her wallet was found in the hall while her body in the bedroom. The front door hadn’t been forced and there weren’t any signs of quick escape as the windows were sealed. The room was tidy and the bed was made. Jones supposed that Miss Bratten lived by herself because there was only one tooth brush in the bathroom.
The kitchen and the living room were clean. There was only one glass of wine on the table and it had some red lipstick on it. It probably belong to the victim. No books nor magazines. No food either.
“Why would Miss Bratten drink a glass of wine naked and alone with no snack or reading? Everything looks too tidy, too perfect, almost planned.” Jones thought.
Jones wanted to discuss the scene with his partner as it looked quite a peculiar one, but Grant hadn’t yet shown up.
“He must have seen my calls.” he thought. The Captain had been asking for him since Martin had arrived. He knew Grant was going back home to his wife after they had said goodbye so he was wondering why at 3.30am his partner was unreachable. He called him again but he had the feeling that he was going to carry on the job alone.
On the other side of town at that hour of the morning the Croydon depot was deserted a part from a guard snoring in a cabin. The burglar had long gone. Steam and smoke were coming out from the bus. The driver was face down on the steering wheel and probably dead, while Grant was unconscious on the floor and the other person who was behind him had fallen from the stairs.
The bus crushed badly but because it was late at night, raining heavily and residents were all asleep, the accident hadn’t been noticed and the police were too busy protecting the American ambassador. Grant’s phone kept ringing over and over.