This was the piece I put forward for the Noirwich short story competition, the results of which were announced on Sunday. Apparently they had over 150 entries and mine wasn’t in the shortlisted four. The winner got to read out her piece, which seemed very erudite. The only requirements were that it should feature somewhere in Norwich and be a crime story of 500 words or less.
I started with the memory of being stuck in the car park for two hours after the Rod Stewart concert in June, and took it from there. Maybe they didn’t like my use of Cluedo characters. I hope you don’t mind. The car parks mentioned have victims appropriate to their locations, on the whole. The Central Library is at the Forum, the train station and the football ground (Carrow Road) are close to Riverside, Chapelfield and Castle Mall have the more mid-range fashions and chains, plus cinemas and restaurant chains etc, St Andrews is more down-range and small businesses…. you’ll get the idea. UEA is our university, and don’t forget that Colman’s mustard originates in Norwich. Lovers of my guinea pigs may like that pun, too. 😉
The Car Park Murders
Cheers and applause echoed from Carrow Road as the concert ended. Fireworks shot uncanny light into the upper levels of Riverside car park, flashes reflecting from the windscreens, mirrors, and one set of eyes, the driver gazing at the trains sleekly sliding into and out of their platforms.
He didn’t stir as the audience retrieved their cars, waited through the gridlock of one thousand cars trying to leave simultaneously into the road jammed by chaos outside the ground.
“Are you okay, mate?” The driver of the neighbouring car asked. His wife noticed the dagger hilt sticking out of his stomach, and the dark liquid pooling down on his lap. Her screams brought a flurry of action; the carpark attendant, the first-aider, a locksmith, the police…
DI Holly Black stared at the report, and sighed. “And no prints?”
“None, except the people who tried to open the car.”
“Any of them suspects?”
Sgt Adrian Forbes shook his head. “They’d been at the concert, or TGIF, or the Odeon, one had arrived on the 21:30 from London, seat reservation for the later train, but… ”
“Yes. Meanwhile, we have another car park murder.”
“Will the public have realised?”
“Oh, the press will get it, I’m sure. Is it random, or is there method in this?”
She reviewed the cases of deaths in car parks, starting ten years ago. Mrs Emma White, a self-employed caterer, killed by lead piping falling from the roof of Chapelfield as she got to her car. It was first considered an accident, but no lead pipework ran through the car park, as it was banned as a construction material. The inquest had returned ‘unlawful killing’ but eventually it languished in the cold case file. Danny ‘the Rev’ Green, supposedly crushed fixing something under his car while parked at St.Andrews, but the spanner had shown traces of his scalp and blood on it, matching the dent in his skull. Angelina Scarlett, strangled with a rope while returning to her car after a special event at the Forum. The press had noted that. Miss Scarlett had been a well-known and popular figure at the library. And now Timothy Plum.
“Anything more on the deceased? I hope he wasn’t a professor.”
“Er… he worked at UEA.”
Black stood up. This was madness. No connection between the victims except for their names. “Get someone to check the psychiatric records for someone called Mustard or Peacock,” she ordered. “And for that matter, check the DNA database, the known offenders register, and the electoral register. Oh, and the firearms register, particularly owners of revolvers. I want a list on my desk by evening.”
It didn’t prevent Patricia Peacock dying from a bullet to the heart as she returned to her car under Castle Mall eight months later, but Kevin Colman was arrested at Elm Hill, once DI Black realised he had met them all when he worked at the City College.
© J M Pett 2016