The Blood Pit

The Blood Pit by Kate Ellis Read Free Book Online

Book: The Blood Pit by Kate Ellis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Ellis
Tags: Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective
asked.
    ‘Help yourself,’ Neil replied. ‘I’m glad to get the thing off my hands. Want to have a quick tour of the site?’ he asked as
     Wesley put the envelope carefully into a plastic evidence bag.
    It would have been bad manners, Wesley reasoned, to refuse Neil’s invitation. Gerry Heffernan said nothing as he followed Neil
     and Wesley outside, glad of a break from investigating Charlie Marrick’s murder … just as Wesley was.
    As Neil led them from trench to trench, the diggers – who were mostly young apart from a few middle-aged enthusiasts – glanced
     up but quickly looked down again. Two men in suits meant officialdom – probably some bureaucrats from the Council checking
     on Health and Safety.
    Wesley looked at what had been uncovered; substantial stone walls and a section of tiled floor which he recognised as medieval.
     Here, in the middle of nowhere, someone had gone to considerable trouble to build a high status building and his first thought
     was that it might have been the manor house attached to some abandoned and long-forgotten village.
    Neil, of course, had done his homework and had consulted local documents and ancient maps. The site, he explained, had belonged
     to the Cistercian Abbey of Veland a few miles to the west – until Henry VIII had cast his avaricious eyes over the nation’s
     monasteries and closed the abbey down, stripping the place of its wealth and its roof of its lead. The abbey itself had been
     bought by a wealthy landowner and converted into a handsome country pile while the mysterious cluster of buildings at Stow
     Barton had decayed and crumbled so that now only a few walls and tumbled stones were left above ground.
    Neil’s guess was that it had been a monastic farm, a grange.Or perhaps a luxury retreat for the abbot, an escape from the day-to-day chore of running the abbey – the equivalent of a
     Russian dacha for high-up officials of the old Communist Party. The old maps he’d seen referred to it as the site of a manor
     house. But, like Wesley with his murder enquiry, he wasn’t leaping to any hasty conclusions.
    Wesley looked at his watch: they had been there half an hour and it was time they moved on. As they trudged across the rutted
     ground to the car, Gerry Heffernan commented that Neil’s discoveries looked interesting and he wouldn’t mind having a go at
     this digging lark himself. This left Wesley speechless as he drove back to Tradmouth for Charlie Marrick’s postmortem. Gerry
     had always seemed to find the fact that Wesley had spent three years at university learning how to dig things up mildly amusing.
     Perhaps Neil’s new tactic of reaching out to the public was having the desired effect in the most unexpected places.
    On their way back to the police station, they bought a couple of sandwiches from Burton’s Butties, the shop where Steve Carstairs’s
     father worked. Wesley found himself looking out for Steve’s father, intrigued to see the man who had produced such a son, but
     he was nowhere to be seen. When they reached the CID office they found it was almost deserted as most of the team were out
     pursuing enquiries. But this was how Gerry Heffernan liked it – sitting like a lord in his castle while his vassals were out
     hunting down information to bring back and lay at his feet.
    Taking advantage of the rare oasis of peace, they made themselves comfortable in the DCI’s cluttered office, eating their
     sandwiches from the packet and washing down their impromptu lunch with two plastic cups filled with a boiling liquid from
     the machine in the corridor that was alleged to be tea.
    Wesley took Neil’s letter from his pocket. ‘Worth sending this to Forensic, do you think?’
    He pushed it across the desk and Heffernan studied it carefully.
    ‘Bit crumpled,’ he said after a few moments.
    ‘Neil said he chucked it in the bin then thought better of it.’
    ‘The envelope’s postmarked Neston so it must be a local nutter. But

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