20th March 2023

The bishop of Winchester was inclined to take a vitriolic viewpoint on all things ‘woke’. Claudine found this rampant display of hypocrisy totally unacceptable, especially considering his long-term penchant for cohabitating with much younger male vergers, who just happened to exactly fit his very specific physical type.

Claudine’s father was a village clergyman in the leafy part of Worcestershire. He had disapproved very forcibly when she declared her sexual preference one Sunday evening sitting around the well a laden dining room table. Her mother had immediately leaped to her defense, pointing out quite truthfully that question of her taste in partners had never been in doubt since she first chose metalwork over embroidery in secondary school.  Mother always was the more thoughtful of her parents, caring more about the rights of a thing than any supposed moral principle.

Not being someone who could stand to stay out of the limelight Bishop Palfry was busy sermonizing at anyone he could coerce to stand still for a few moments. From what Cladine could gather from a respectful distance he was saying very little on import at all, just repeating the usual sympathetic lines traditionally spouted on such somber occasions.

The majority of the refugees being non English speaking Muslims the target for his quaint patter were entirely other ears, namely the volunteer support staff whom effectively organized and executed the day to day working of the entire  center, excluding  security.

“This whole set up seems very Dads army.”

Annettes reference to the apt but aged television series brought an immediate grin to Claudine’s lips.

“Right down the Bishops line of drivel, good old fashioned camp comedy.”

“W-i-c-k-e-d!”

Annettes comic aside and rather flamboyant double handed gesture indicted The two policewomen’s joint devilry and further cementing of their rapidly burgeoning  affections.

“Perhaps we should grill the Bishop a little? He seems to know the internal workings of the volunteer organization as well as anyone.”

‘Long as you do the talking, inspector.”

Alois Fennel was quite happy to let Annette and her new playmate sergeant Claudine take care of all of the basic enquiries. He need time to poke around. contemplate, delve, and most important of all, think. It was all too easy in a complex investigation to get so involved with the nuts and bolts that the really important items, like means and motive, got lost amidst the general chaos. Annette Grubbers specialty was creating space, making enough room for his brain to function in a fashion both useful and productive. Alois had the definite feeling that Claudine Miller served a similar same function for Peter Gogan.

“Looks like Sakeena’s husband was killed in the initial explosion, and the wrappings the girls found had all in likelihood been used to conceal and transport Russin sourced fragmental grenades.”

Fennel nodded sagely. All very much as he had supposed but raising far more questions than providing finite answers.

“So Basheer could easily have been the source and delivery of the blast, but what long term purpose did such an extreme action serve? We have maybe successfully discovered the means but have absolutely no notion about a motive.

Any relationship between cause and effect should be intelligible and tangible.”

Gogan appreciated that Fennel was merely talking aloud, so made to attempt to respond. Nothing was sometime the exactly correct thing so say. Both he and Alios had separately arrived at a similar conclusion, that whatever was the reasoning behind the malicious act there deeper than just some display of terrorism. The action, effect and possible repercussions indicated a far more sinister purpose.

“Do you get the feeling that we have just witnessed the first act in a three of four-part play?”

Chief inspector Fennel sighed very loudly.

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