Trinket Trail

“Detective Shelley Hobbs was feeling left out. Lets see what she’s been up too!”

Read all of Shelley’s mysteries here

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango  — Trinket
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Fire – Identity – Number
Authorworld — Picture – It’s a Mystery
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Expel

Trinket Trail

A skateboard flew over the bonnet of the distinctive black Mercedes. Detective Shelley Hobbs turned off the ignition and stepped onto the pavement with a look of displeasure.

The skateboarder, a boy of about seventeen years of age, was just getting to his feet looking dazed, “Sorry, ma’am. I overcooked my ollie there,”

“You’re lucky on two accounts. You missed my car and I have a crime scene to take care of. Collect your skateboard and gunplay in the park, like a good boy.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Shelley tightened her mahogany ponytail and smoothed a black blazer as she walked up the steps into the city library. She could see the fire alarm had been activated by the flashing lights on the sensors.

The Symposium Library was like a modern aircraft hangar. With this great glass front façade, large event space, and businesses including the café, restaurant and University centre, spread around the curved walls over three storeys. The rear of the curve was all library over the whole three floors.

“Detective Hobbs, the crime scene’s this way,” called a police officer with distinctive short blonde hair hurrying over.

“Officer Jake Klass. I’ll have to start investigating you, I think.”

“Why?” Jake gave a cheesy grin as he led the way upstairs.

“Well, whenever I get a call for a suspicious circumstances death, I always find you with the body.” Shelley chuckled as they entered the library historical records centre with a nod to a constable acting as a door guard. “Anyway, I’ve never heard of death by reading too much. What can you tell me?”

“The deceased is an archaeologist by the Identity of Rupert Akins. Seems he was here doing research.” Jake indicated the table containing five tomes of various thicknesses. Each book was in a serious state of disrepair. On top of them was a black-handled magnifying glass. “The librarian says he was working there.”

“Where are his notes?” Shelley asked. She expected an archaeologist to have notebooks, a laptop, or even a sheaf of papers to record their research. There was none in view.”

“The librarian indicated that he did have a laptop and notebook. They both appear to have been taken,” Jake led the way into the stacks. Long almost eerie aisles of bookshelves lined with decades-old books and folders of historical documents.

“His research might be a motive for murder then.” Shelley turned into a row marked – local history.

It was impossible to pass between the bookshelves here. Almost every booking folder had been thrown into a big heap on the floor. Beyond the pile, forensic pathologist, Archibald Hamilton was at work in his blue forensics suit. He was an ageing man as attested to by his white hair.

“Good morning, Shelley. I’ve often been told that too much knowledge is bad for your health. Now, we finally have proof,” he said with a cheery smile.

Now, Shelley understood, “Morning, Archie. The deceased is under the books, is he? Could it be this is accidental death?”

“Not unless a number of these books are proficient in strangulation by ligature.” Archie beckoned the detective.

Shelley nodded and made her way around him via the next line. Coming up behind the pathologist, she could see the archaeologist was almost completely buried up to his chest. He appeared to be in his mid-40s and in good health aside from being dead from what was visible of him.

“Look at the lesions on his neck, it’s clear somebody wrapped a length of rope around his neck and strangled him. They then dumped the books on him to buy time to escape, I reckon.”

“Well, that screams premeditated murder. There is no rope in here so the suspect had to bring it with them.” Shelley wrote a couple of notes in her leather-bound book.

“Agreed. I’ll remove a thousand years of history from him and see if there’s anything else in the autopsy. I suspect we have the cause of death and will find little else though.”

“Thanks, Archie.”

Shelley returned to the work area and the archaeologist. Each of the five tomes was a directory or historical record about churches within the city. Each penned by the Cistercian monk.

“What do you make of it?” Jake asked.

“Seems to me. Mr Akins was onto something to do with the city’s churches. Something that his assailant decided to kill him for.” Shelley opened the top book and began to peruse the dog-eared and torn pages.

“So, a treasure or trinket? Maybe a dark secret?” Jake surmised.

“Perhaps, for now —” Shelley had turned open page 12 and discovered a number and letters scrawled beneath a blue angel in the text.

1 – SMAEUSE

“Got something?” Jake asked with growing interest.

“Maybe.” Shelley began working her way through the other books. She soon discovered an identical angel and different letters on page 12 of the others. She added each to her notebook.
4 – NYAPRIU 

5 – TMLASNE

3 – IRDEERL 

2 – AAGNPHB 

“So, what does all that mean?”

“It means, we have a trinket and a murderer to find.” Shelley grinned and left the library with the swish of her ponytail.

The detective was soon on the road with officer Jake Klass following behind in his patrol car. She pulled up outside a 13th-century flint walled church.

“So, this is the place?” Jake asked once they met in the graveyard.

Shelley watched a colourful Jay land in a yew tree. “This is it!” She walked quickly to the arched oak door and pushed her way inside.

“Can I help you?” asked the vicar approaching down the line of pews.

“Morning, I’m DCI Shelley Hobbs. Has anybody come in looking for anything this morning?”

“Good morning, detective. He’s still here.” The vicar pointed to an alcove. “He’s in the Paupers Shrine.”

“Thanks!” Shelley dashed past him and ran up the central aisle. Turning right into the pauper’s shrine, she was in time to see a man wearing a grey suit trying to expel a blue angel from her pedestal above the shine. “Freeze! You are under arrest under suspicion of murdering archaeologist Rupert Akins. You don’t have to say —”

The man jumped down the ran.

Jake leapt a pew and drove him to the floor. “Give up, Pal!”

“Let me go! You have nothing on me.”

“Really?” said Shelley helping Jake restrain and handcuff him. “So, you just happen to be attacking an angel which is referred to in a code hidden in a series of books in the library. A series of books that were being read by a man who was murdered this morning?”

“Prove it!” Yelled the man still fighting against his restraints and Jake.

“Of course.” Shelley took out her notebook and showed him the letters she found.

1 – SMAEUSE
2 – AAGNPHB 
3 – IRDEERL 
4 – NYAPRIU 
5 – TMLASNE

“If you read down the lines. It says, ‘Saint Mary Magdalen, paupers’ shrine, blue.’ There’s no way you could know to search that blue angel for whatever it hides. Unless you got the information from the archaeologist’s notes after you killed him in the library. I suspect the library CCTV will place you there at the time of the murder as well. Take him away, Jake.”

“My pleasure.” Jake hauled him to his feet and marched him away.

Shelley smiled at the vicar. “You might want her words with that angel. It might have something special for you,” she said before leaving the church feeling victorious.

The End



Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

55 thoughts on “Trinket Trail

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    1. I used to work at the library. The kids always used the steps out front for stunts. Skateboards flying in all directions along with the kids lol. It was breaking the city rules. Thing was they were usually respectful and apologetic if they got in someones way and so the police allowed it to some extent.

      Glad you enjoyed the tale. I love breaking codes and word puzzles. Sleuth Holly has a good few in her mysteries.
      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. WAIT! What was in the angel??? That would be evidence? You don’t just walk away and offer it to someone else without knowing what it is!!! OOOO….this one’s well written but frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just hit on the master problem with my stories. I never finish them properly because I need to many words!

      Honestly I have no clue to the contents of the angel. Only that it got the archaeologist killed.

      Like

      1. hmmm… that’s hard since you limited to churches. But if you wanted it to be that someone just hid it in a church, then the most obvious answer would be something that a church would either be the main point or the place no one would think to search. Something historical based on the giant tomes, along with local history based on the descriptions you used of the section of the library. Perhaps not a world changing find, just something that if found could be worth money. Just monetary gain. Something that would one worth something on the black market. I don’t know. but that’s what I have so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. fact-finding? For the prompts? Well, everyone has their processes. I just write. The only “fact finding” I do is typically try to get my phone to answer “What’s the word I’m thinking of?” to no avail LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I like to get my details right. So I’ll often che k the encyclopedia or google to be sure of things.
        Try power thesaurus for word finding its great.

        Like

      4. That is an overabundance of information. I just tried the word “up” there must be five thousand results! OK – actually over 1500 of them. That’s a lot of hunting for the right word! that would take days to get through!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s crazy good at finding possibilities. I usually find only the first two pages are really specific and useful. the word I seek is usually there too.

        Like

      6. The first two pages? Wow. That is too much time finding the right word! I can’t think of another word for up, I hit up thesaurus.com, I glance at the results if I don’t like any of them one of them usually triggers me to look up a different word all togeher or have figured the word out on my own and thats with like 15 results

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Doesn’t take that long to find something. Don’t need to do it very regularly luckily. I think its a use a tool that works best type of situation.

        Like

      8. Honestly, more power to you. i am too impatient for that much information. All I want is a word to say what I want it to say. I don’t need what amounts to a dissertation on every conceivable possible alternative. When I write it has to come out or it won’t. The idea of looking through that is daunting. That’s something that I, being insanely weird, would just look through for fun. Not when writing though,. that would complicate the hell out of everything. I would lose track of what I was writing and have to delete it. I am not a book author or a novelist because I can’t put it down and come back to it. Never could. Its all in one go – if I stay awake for three days to write a novel than that’s what comes out. The minute I stop for longer than 4 minutes, it’s over. Everything I’ve ever posted was written in one go. The Burying the Past Series which is 11 parts was written in one sitting. All of the prompts are too. I don’t even take time to think about what I’m going to write. I just line up all my prompts so I can see them and they’re well documented so that I can link and whatnot, and have no idea what’s going to happen. Then I put my fingers on the keyboard and they’re all there. My brain only shows up to say “DON’T FORGET THIS WORD!” “WHAT ABOUT THE PICTURE! YOU HAVE TO USE THE PICTURE!” That’s it. Afterwards, I edit for spelling, but mostly I’m just reading it because even I’m not 100% sure what I just wrote. That’s why I can read your stories and come up with a hundred ideas – that’s my brain piping in. But my stuff comes from somewhere else that I don’t understand but know better than to question. And what’s even stranger is that it changes stylistically as it sees fit too. My brain couldn’t rhyme three words together, but that part of me can. I wrote an entire post about being excited about going on vacation and it being my last day at work before going. I knew I wanted to write about going away. I knew I wanted to use the picture I used and the title. But the whole poem, every line rhymed and I have no idea where that came from.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I get you. I only look for words if I realy have to.

        I lost my higher connection when it all went wrong with Holly. I don;t hear her anymore. Now, what you read is just me.

        The only thing I can do with a poem is rhyme the last words lol.

        Like

      10. I can’t do meter at all. I’ve taken classes and the teachers told me I was hopeless LOL

        With Holly, you will get her back. You need patience. Until you are ready to hear her again, she will remain silent. you let the other voices get to you,so she stopped speaking. You’ll get there again

        Liked by 1 person

      11. OMG – the original proclamation of Martin Luther nailed to the church was saved and placed in the church for further safe-keeping as the person who had it in their possession died and they had to hide it for some reason. If it’s a Catholic church, no one would think to look there as it was a list of grievances which led to Protestantism. Just a theory

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Is it? I didn’t realize it, but you’re kind of right. Not every time, but always about one of your posts. Your stories make me think. But I can’t write anything with those ideas, they were triggered by your ideas therefore, it would be your story wiht more information… that’s not writing unless we collaborate

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Maybe. It still feels off… we’ll see. maybe if one gets too much to handle and I have to add to it or something. I dont know. We’ll see.

        Like

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