The Chorus, Episode 4 of The Muralist & the Inspector series, is coming soon!
I'm getting a little bit burned out, so I've decided to take short break from working on this project to recharge.
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Meet the New Supporting Cast
In this episode, we begin to see the repercussions of Carol Ogilvy's murder and the expectations being placed on the investigating officers by the media, higher-ups in the police force, and the nation. So, there are a lot of new characters to get to know.
Here's a first look!
Adrian Lester as GRAHAM GARDER
Nikki Amuka-Bird as JOY OGILVY
Marc Warren as PETER OGILVY
Amara Karan as OLIVIA KHAN
Karla Crome as SANDRA O'BRIEN
Hayley Atwell as MARNIE PHILLIPS
Nicola Walker as PHILLIPA PEABODY
Olivia Colman as MARY DUNBAR
Kiernan Shipka as BETH DUNBAR
Stephen Graham as DEPUTY COMMISSIONER WELLINGTON
Matthew Goode as SEBASTIAN WRIGHT
AT CAROL OGILVY'S CHILDHOOD HOME, HER FAMILY WAS PREPARING TO BURY HER.
Carol Ogilvy had looked like neither of her parents. If you’d seen her with either of them, you wouldn’t have guessed at the relationship. She’d been a strange amalgamation of them both, and it was only when you saw them all together did you realise, yes, she belonged to them. They belonged to each other. At least they had. Now there was a gaping hole with bloody, ragged edges where she’d lived. None of the pictures lining the walls of the house where she’d grown up revealed the abyss. The darkness was hidden in some other dimension. As the years continued to pass, the evidence would show itself, though: Carol wouldn’t age. There’d be no wedding photos, no grandchildren. All that would be left was the past.
For her mother, Joy, the quietness of the destruction was the most difficult thing to bear. If it had come in screaming, hurling bombs and dropping napalm it may have been easier to grasp, easier to explain, easier for people to understand the depth of the loss, the searing pain of the tragedy. There’d be rubble to point to – a bombed out family. But there’d just been a phone call, a body to identify, then an empty space that would never be filled.
No parent should ever have to bury a child. It was a truism the world over, but there was no word for it in the English language – a parent whose only child had died. Children without parents were orphans, spouses who’d lost their other halves were widowed. The suddenly childless were marooned on their tossing sea of grief without even a name to call themselves.
There was a solitude in the suffering. It was too great to share and obliterated everything else. Joy was alone with hers. As was Carol’s father, Peter, with his. Their daughter’s murderer had killed whatever was between them as well. The only other person who could possibly understand what the other was going through was only feet away, but the gap may as well have been light years.
They were dressed for their daughter’s funeral, all in black. Carol wouldn’t have liked it, but this was no homegoing where the departed’s life would be celebrated. It was an interment of all the light in their world. They hadn’t the strength to pretend the event was anything but utterly desolate.
Joy sat at her dresser trying to apply her makeup with shaky hands. Peter sat on their queen sized bed staring at the wall. There was a flaw where the panels of wallpaper overlapped. The pattern was slightly out of sync, and he couldn’t stop looking at it. That small error, that mistake he’d overlooked for years – he realised that was how the rest of the world would take his daughter’s murder once the fuss died down. It would be something they scarcely remembered or thought about. Their eyes were probably already glossing over the headlines. How small and insignificant they all were, how inevitable it was that all of them would be crushed by the turning wheel of time. It didn’t make his loss any less devastating, though, and it somehow made it seem even crueller – as if they were all ants some larger being intermittently sprayed with pesticides.
Joy began sobbing without warning. It happened from time to time. Peter looked over at his wife and caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He looked like a clubbed seal. The stunned expression never left him, not since the morgue. He watched his wife’s shoulders shake, listened to her wet, heaving gasps, then turned back to the wallpaper. What was the point of saying anything? What were either of them meant to do in the face of grief that stretched to the far reaches of the universe, to a place the light had yet to find? Was that where they were now? In the eternal darkness? Is that where they would be forever?
Downstairs, some of their extended family were waiting. They would travel to the church together. In spite of all the comings and goings of neighbours and friends offering condolences, the house was spotless. Everything was in its place, and every surface was gleaming. Joy’s sister, Francine, had moved into the guest bedroom temporarily and had been cleaning compulsively. Keeping her hands busy, maintaining some sense of order was the only way she felt she might avoid being sucked into the black hole of her sister’s grief. She finished stacking the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and started the load. She wiped the counter down, scrubbing at a stubborn stain that had probably been there for years. She almost got the bleach out but thought the better of it. She removed her rubber gloves and stowed them neatly next to the sink. She took a moment to gather herself.
It was almost time.
She left the kitchen and went to the front room where most of the family were sitting waiting quietly. She nodded towards the window looking out on the street. “Are those vultures still outside?” she asked. Her husband nodded in response. She parted the curtains and looked out at the phalanx of press gathered outside the house. “Animals,” she hissed.
Reporters had been camped outside the house off-and-on since the story of Carol’s murder had broken. Joy and Peter had essentially sequestered themselves to avoid being ambushed and having cameras and microphones thrust in their faces when they left the house. The crowd had swelled to bursting this morning. They all wanted photos and video of the grieving family on the way to the funeral services. Broadcast vans jammed the narrow street, and reporters and photographers milled about. Among them was Olivia Khan, a young staff writer for the tabloid, The London Post. She was on the phone to her editor. “I don't know if I'm going to be able to get anything,” she warned. “At least not anything no one else has. Everyone, their Mum, and the family dog are here. They'll be at the church too.” It was Olivia’s job to root around in people’s lives, ferret out their embarrassing secrets, and reveal them to the world in the most salacious fashion. She sometimes wondered why she didn’t have more qualms about the way she made her living. Being so bloody good at something had a way of sweeping away any doubts about its ethics, though. The front curtain of the Ogilvy’s house was rustling again. A face peered out, and the energy in the crowd rose another notch. “The natives are restless,” Olivia said. “They should be out soon. The service is due to start in twenty minutes.”
IN THE OFFICE OF SANDRA O’BRIEN, THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE METROPOLITAN POLICE.
Sandra was a multitasker by nature, and this was one of those days that called for it. Carol Ogilvy was being buried and Roger Bloody Templeton was still on the loose. It was going to be a long day filled with questions no one wanted to answer, insinuations of incompetence, and outright recriminations. On Sandra’s television, the sound was muted and the news station’s camera was focussed on the exterior of the Ogilvy’s house. A reporter mouthed unheard words. The chyron read: “Carol Ogilvy Funeral”. The door to the house opened. Joy was practically being carried out by her husband and sister. All three were wearing dark glasses. A barrage of camera flashes went off. There was pushing and shoving, and the camera jostled as reporters and their crews tried to get in position to follow the Ogilvy’s car to the church.
It was all a spectacle.
Much of Sandra’s job was doing everything possible to make sure the lights and cameras stayed on someone besides the police until the press conference announcing arrests had been made and charges brought. That wasn’t happening today. She sighed and turned her attention to her computer where she was tracking Twitter traffic about Carol Ogilvy. She was following the hashtags #CarolOglivy, #RIPCarolOgilvy and #JusticeForCarol to try and take the public’s temperature. Thankfully, most of the top tweets were celebrities offering condolences to the family. The #JusticeForCarol tag was peppered with some unpleasant commentary about the Met being bunglers. Old cases no one in Sandra’s neck of the woods wanted discussed were being dredged up.
There was a knock at the door.
Sandra looked up to see Detective Superintendent Major stick his head in her door. “Paul,” she said in greeting. “Please tell me you've got something new on Carol Ogilvy.”
She wasn’t one for small talk, and Paul was always grateful for how much time her no-nonsense attitude saved. “We do,” he replied. Sandra frowned. What should have been good news clearly wasn't. “Roger Templeton,” Paul continued.
“You've found him?” Sandra asked, sitting up straight.
“In the weeds off a country road outside of Norwich,” Paul replied.
“Dead?” Sandra asked, already knowing the answer. Paul nodded. “Suspicious circumstances?”
“He was hit by a car.”
“So, it could be an accident, then?”
“It could be, but it's too soon to tell.”
The only suspect they had couldn’t be questioned, arrested or tried. It could be a good thing, Sandra thought, if they could tie it all around his neck with a bow. If his death was an accident. “Are your people on the scene yet?” she asked. They needed to start getting their ducks in a row.
“They're on their way.”
“Do you know anyone down that way? Will they have the sense to keep this to themselves?”
“I had a word with the commanding officer and made it clear it was a sensitive matter. I'm sure she's passed the word on.”
“I don't know if that will do much good. The whole thing is too bloody sensational. Someone's probably unholstering a tweet featuring a selfie with the body as we speak. We have to put out a statement.” Sandra was talking more to herself now. “We'll say something like ‘The body of a man believed to be Roger Templeton, a person of interest’ – no – ‘who was wanted for questioning in the investigation into the murder of Carol Ogilvy has been found on the side of the road in the outskirts of Norwich, the victim of an apparent hit-and-run.’”
“I'll leave you to it, then,” Paul said, glad to see things on this end were well in hand.
“I need to be all the way in the loop on this, Paul,” Sandra said, holding his eye. “Minute by minute if necessary. We've got to control the narrative.”
Paul nodded and exited. He’d had a bad feeling about the Carol Ogilvy case from the beginning, and this business with Roger Templeton only intensified his unease. He sensed there was something larger, just out of view they were all failing to apprehend, and Templeton’s death was raising more questions he feared they’d be unable to answer.
Thanks for your patience! I hope you enjoyed the new chapter. There are a lot of new characters coming up in this episode, and they’ll become entangled with the people you’ve already gotten to know. I hope you enjoy the change and don’t find it too overwhelming!
In other news, I’ll be doing giveaways of my book, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ADVENTURE OF THE PAPER JOURNAL on Facebook in the upcoming weeks. The giveaways are a bit of a race. I’ll make five copies of the book available for download, and the first five people to click the link win! Follow me on Facebook, like my page and choose to see me first (hover over “Followed” or “Liked” to see that option), so you don’t miss out!
If you won one of the copies I already gave away, I hope you’re enjoying it!
See you next week!