Cover photo: Ellen Nielsen.
Read part I, part II, part III and IV, part V.
– If only we knew who stole what. Constable Penrose had just gone through Rhapsody´s nice and tidy notes. He gave her a brief summary of the doctor´s preliminary examination. – And I´ve been over the charity shop with a fine-tooth comb, of course. But the problem is that all our suspects are volunteers who had every right to be in the shop.
– So you also believe theft is at the heart of this case?
He nodded. – Furniture perhaps? But one person couldn´t run off with any of those huge wardrobes or cupboards.
– A valuable table then? Rhapsody had hardly stuck her nose into the shop. Even though she was embarrassed to admit it, the stench had proved too much for her.
– Perhaps. If only Mrs Chesterfield had used her ears half as much as her mouth.
– Something valuable one person could carry away? Rhapsody doodled in her notebook while she tried to pick her own brain.
– What about that stamp? The King George stamp?
– Didn´t you find it among his personal belongings? There aren´t any stamp albums in his study.
– No. And I´m not at all sure it is valuable enough to be a motive for murder, but if it isn´t there…
– The question is who would know it was valuable? She flipped through the pages, scanning her interviews.
– According to Reverend Thwing, Mr Chesterfield told these tall stories about his possessions and his family background all the time.
She agreed. – The vicar and Hepplewhite certainly knew, but they don´t seem to think the stamp is that valuable. Or at least that´s what they said. She shook her head. A detective´s life would be so much simpler if people didn´t lie all the time.
– What do we know about the stamp?
– King George IV, four pence, grey or green, issued around 1912, she read aloud.
– How much can such a piece of paper be worth? Constable Penrose wondered. – Sold for four pence hundred years ago, used on a letter and…
– No, it wasn´t used, Rhapsody butted in. – Mint, Hepplewhite said.
He looked at her. – But surely no one in Aldburgh is poor enough to…
– Not poor enough, she snapped. – Just greedy and careless enough to steal other people´s things.
– We must get hold of that letter, they shouted all at once.
– I´ve no idea why he made such a fuss. I just wanted to borrow a stamp. I only had some old ones, thirty-two pence, you know, and I needed thirty-six pence. For mum´s letter, you know.
Young Morris shrugged, but at least he had stopped trying to use his blue-eyed charm.
The letter lay on the table in a cheap manila envelope, sporting two stamps, one of them a grey-green specimen which was still in mint-new condition. Fortunately, the local pillar box was never emptied Sunday night so they hadn´t even had to send for it in Ipswich.
– So you stole Mr Chesterfield´s rare King George stamp even though you knew how much it meant to him? Rhapsody was so angry Penrose grabbed her arm to keep her from battering their murderer.
He nodded sullenly.
– And what then?
– Well, he hurled himself at me like a madman, didn´t he? I had to defend myself, and that wooden hammer thingy was a bit heavier than I thought. It all just sort of happened, you know.
– I know. Penrose bared his canines in a wide smile. – And now you´re going to prison for a four-pence stamp, you know.
Copyright: Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen