Bill Franks: Jesuit

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Bill Franks Jesuit
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Jesuit: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Bill Franks



Even at the tender age of ten, it was obvious to all who saw her that Kylie Johnson would grow into a beautiful woman. To those who knew her, a beautiful disposition would be added to the accolade.

The girl’s healthy, dark hair cascaded around a pear shaped face in gently waving pincers ending just below the chin. The lips were already becoming full, the teeth perfectly white and even.

Kylie’s eyes, an enchanting cornflower blue, stared unblinkingly at the clear, early summer sky as an occasional cotton-wool cloud eased its way sleepily across the expanse, reflecting in the glass-like iris.

She was positioned on her back in the warm grass of the meadow, white daises and yellow buttercups swaying in haphazard patterns in the whisper of a breeze. The red of an occasional poppy could also be noticed oscillating in its delicate majesty. A short distance from the town of Watford, in Hertfordshire, it seemed a million miles away from the rush and bustle of any township.

One of Kylie’s legs was outstretched, whilst the other bent at the knee causing the dress to fall back and expose the full extent of her flawless thigh.

Kylie had always loved this dress; it was her favourite. It fitted to her blossoming frame, ending an inch above the knee. The white of the dress was patterned with scores of butterflies; blue, red, purple, yellow, brown.

The small blue was the one she liked best — a Common Blue (Polyommatus Icarus)

She didn’t know its commom name, let alone the Latin

Didn’t need to, enough that it was pretty and she liked it.

As if to compliment the design, a real-life, Green Veined White (Oragala Daps), settled on the dress, its wings opening and closing in neutral mode, the antennae probing all directions.

As Kylie lay in the pleasant June warmth, an ugly, squat blowfly buzzed by. It first zig-zagged over her head to a point a few feet beyond and then returned as though retrieving something mislaid. Landing next to Kylie’s left eye, the ugly insect began to check its surroundings for any possible danger. Being satisfied, it walked jerkily over to the sweet wetness of the human eyeball. Another pause and then it walked onto the beautiful eye. Kylie didn’t bother to brush it away.

Dead people do not brush away flies.


Detective Inspector Graham Sampler was feeling irritable. Before setting out for work this morning, he had grumbled at his wife, Bethany, for, of all things, the milk on his Shredded Wheat being too cool! In all their nine years of marriage, he had never complained about anything she did for him; she would have had every right to tell him to do it himself in future.

The complaint was petty, he knew, and pettiness was not one of his vices. It was this case. It was getting to him.

The death of a young girl, the murder of a young girl, was deeply worrying. Ten years old with her life in front of her and, by all accounts, a happy, friendly child, always anxious to please. Her parents adored her and her schoolteachers delighted in her.

Even at that age, she had been an attraction to many boys, from the age of eight at the lower end to sixteen at the top of the scale. She had been a very pretty child.

Her prettiness was of no consequence to the investigation; a murder requires the fullest, most thorough enquiry no matter who the victim or what the status. But a child? That did evoke strong emotions amongst any investigating officer, no matter how professional he or she may be.

Sampler was a father himself. He had a son, Nathaniel, aged five, who was attending primary school and showing all the cockiness and worldly knowledge befitting a person so mature. Nathaniel wanted to be a policeman like his dad, when he grew up. Or was it a Fireman… or a Doctor…or, yet still, was it an Action Man? It depended largely on what television programme he was interested in at the time.

So, as a parent, Sampler could sympathize with the emotions the dead girl’s family were experiencing. He quietly vowed to solve this particular crime, come what may.

Sampler had been pushed into a role, by a high-powered police “think tank,” of investigating the more puzzling murders wherever they may occur within a sixty-mile radius of London. Lack of resources in general in the police force, meant that local police teams had difficulty in spending sufficient time on solving serious crimes in their area, leaving too many unsolved and thus causing unrest among the public. All credit should be allowed for the many that were solved, given the restricted resources, but Joe Public was not the most tolerant.

It had therefore been decided that a designated Detective Inspector of proven quality from the Metropolitan Police Force at Scotland Yard, should be appointed to take on such cases and have the authority to select a small team of men, not more than four, to assist. Sampler had been the one chosen and he had decided to choose just one assistant, the very able Detective Sergeant Clive Miller. The present case had been immediately identified as one that would drain the valuable finances allotted to the local force.

The autopsy had produced little of value, although DNA samples had been found and analysed, from a single stray hair that had been discovered on the dress and shown not to belong to Kylie. There was nothing unusual in the DNA strands; a common strain that could be matched — if the killer was ever apprehended and tested.

A large amount of opium had been found in the victim’s bloodstream and it was ascertained that that was the cause of death. How did it get there? No one believed the child had administered it to herself, and there were no traces at all on the body.

A thorough examination had been carried out but the only punctures found had been those administered by vaccination prior to a recent holiday with her parents to South Africa.

Even signs of a struggle had been missing from the scene. Signs of activity were evident by flattened grass around the body, showing that two people had been there at the time but nothing to show a fight had taken place. Everything seemed to be in neat order, as if the victim had willingly complied with her attacker. Normally in such crimes, particles of human hair, skin, or blood even, could be discovered under the fingernails but not in this case. The one hair on the dress may yet prove vital but it had led to no known criminal. The whole thing was a complete puzzle.

Sampler read and re-read the statements obtained from parents, teachers, friends, relatives and the local priest, Father Cobb.

He could find nothing that offered help. Most confirmed the general opinion of the tragic victim and no one had a bad word to say about her. Her school friends were all very fond of her and, unusually, there appeared to be no jealousy harboured by any.

Relatives, especially males, had been closely interviewed and privately investigated. Apart from the occasional petty theft or motor offences, all were clean. None had a sexual history, nor were there any signs of illegal pornography hidden away. Searches had been permitted to all their homes, garden sheds, garages and places of work but they had yielded nothing. Sampler had much to do.

The deep misery that pervaded the home of Hugo and Philippa Johnson was a living thing; like a thick fog, to be swept aside if movement was required.

A week had passed since Kylie’s funeral and the home was a shell without her bubbly presence. The couple had blamed themselves, unreasonably, for allowing Kylie to go out on that day. She had wanted to go into the nearby meadow to enjoy the sunshine and pick some wild flowers. Just because this was a nice, quiet village where crime was rarely a factor, they felt their guard should still have been raised. How often was it reported in the Nationals that this child, or that child, had been abducted and found some time later, horribly murdered? It was never one’s own child that was in danger, always someone else’s. Everyone felt deep sympathy for the parents and the victim but still, it wasn’t in one’s own family.

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