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U3A Writing: The Mystery Girl

..."You know he done her in, and there's no more to be said about it." Mary was adamant, and was not going to be sidetracked. "And, anyway she deserved everything she got."...

But who did murder Jade? Elwyn Frankel's tale takes a surprising turn as the mystery is unravelled.

Mary and Joe were seated at the breakfast table, and in the middle of a lively argument.

"You know he done her in, and there's no more to be said about it." Mary was adamant, and was not going to be sidetracked. "And, anyway she deserved everything she got."

"Now, steady on," said Joe, "She wasn't all that bad."

"You men are all the same, you are all taken in by a pretty face and a nice pair of legs."

They each went about their business of the day, but Mary had her own thoughts about who could have killed the beautiful girl called Jade, who had recently come to live in town and work at the local Beauty Salon.

Two weeks ago her body had been found in the long rushes near the river. It was a popular spot with the young folk around town. There seemed to be a distinct lack of clues, no witnesses, the clothing undisturbed, and nothing stolen. In fact, some quite expensive jewellery was still on the girl's body.

"He doesn't fool me," Mary said to herself, "I know it's that flashy Martin, he is always preening himself, and dashing about town in his red sports car. He thinks himself a cut above everyone else in this town. I will get to the bottom of this," she promised herself, as she went about her chores.

The murder had caused considerable disturbance in the small country town, and was the main subject of discussion at the shops, pub and the sporting events around town.

Everyone had their own theory and solution to the crime. All except the police that is; they seemed completely baffled and no nearer to finding the killer than they had been two weeks ago.

Mary had to admit the girl had kept to herself, and was always pleasant to people she met. Her house looked neat and tidy, at least from the outside. Perhaps she wasn't so bad after all, and anyway one shouldn't speak ill of the dead.

Some days later there was a sharp knock at the door and Mary answered it to find two policemen there, looking rather serious.

"Good morning, Mrs Carter," said one of the men, shuffling his feet in a rather embarrassed manner. "Is your husband at home? We'd like to have a word with him."

Thinking this must have something to do with some things which had been stolen from the shed recently, Mary called to Joe, who was pottering in the vegetable garden out the back.

At the sight of the policemen, Joe's face turned white, and he looked as though he would like to take to his heels and run.

"Ah, Mister Carter," said the policeman, "We'd like you to accompany us to the Station."

Poor Mary spent a miserable morning worrying what was going on. The policemen had seemed so serious, and Joe had looked terrified as he went off with them.

"Was Joe hiding something from her?" Mary wondered.

What on earth was happening in their very settled lives?

Whatever would the neighbours think?

Mary was in such a state by now that she decided she needed a cup of tea to calm her nerves.

As she put the kettle on, Myrtle, their elderly neighbour came to the back door. "Is everything alright dear?" she enquired. "I saw the police car and thought you might have trouble. Is there anything I can do?"

"Oh, come in, Myrtle, I'm just making myself a cup of tea. I'm so worried, I don't know if I'm on my head or my heels. I'm so worried."

"Well, dear, the whole town is nervous since this awful murder happened," said Myrtle, making herself comfortable at the kitchen table. She was a kind soul if a little nosy, and Mary was glad of her company just now.

Some hours later, Joe was brought home in a police car. As he came through the door, even Mary was lost for words at the look on his face.

"Sit down dear," she said. "I'll get you a cup of tea."

"Never mind the tea, Mary" said Joe. "Make that a stiff whisky if you don't mind, and get one for yourself too, I've a long story to tell you. It's all about our mystery girl Jade, Well, she wasn't a mystery to me.

"You see, Jade was the daughter of an old army mate of mine. I thought I recognised her when she first moved here. However, when I approached her she asked me not to tell anyone of our connection. She seemed so concerned that I agreed to keep quiet.

"Apparently Jade married very young, and had a beautiful baby girl. It was an extremely happy family for a few years, and then the husband and child were both killed in a car accident.

"Jade was shattered, and in spite of all her parents tried to do to help, she started drinking and running around with some pretty bad company. She became involved with a drug dealer, and in the end, of course, she knew more than was good for her own safety.

"After a time, with her parents' help, Jade pulled herself together and decided to start a new life away from the sleazy scene, and that's when she came here.

"The rest of the story you know, and you will be glad to hear that the police have arrested the killer. I'm not sure how the police came across my connection to the girl, but I'm jolly glad it's all out in the open now."

Mary sat stunned for a few minutes and then she put her arms around Joe and have him a big hug. "Thank goodness that's all over then." she said. "I knew you wouldn't be involved in anything bad."

"Thank you," said Joe, "and now, if you don't mind, I will have that cup of tea and a slice of your delicious fruit cake to go with it please, my dear."

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