Chapter 10

14Nov12

The Victoria and Albert Museum was some distance from Ludovic’s flat on the Kingsland Road. He decided to jog. The team had not been allowed back to the dig for nearly a week and he felt that he needed the exercise. It still seemed unusual on a weekday morning to pull on his running shoes instead of the steel-capped workboots that he had to wear at the site.

His meeting was not until ten. He would have time to cool off if he slowed down at Hyde Park and it was there that his phone rang.

“Dr Vestas? It’s Detective Sergeant Belacar. Can you talk?”

“Yes.”

“The excavation team have nearly finished. There are a couple of things that we need to show you. I’m trying to establish which artifacts are relevant.”

“OK,” said Ludovic. “What artifacts?”

“There is a jewellery. A ring. And there is something else. Can you come to Wood Street?”

“Would this afternoon be soon enough? I have to see my textile expert this morning.”

“Yes. About two would be good. See you then.” Belacar ended the call abruptly.

Ludovic entered the Museum by a small door on the north side.  The security guard asked his name and telephoned his contact. Two minutes later she appeared.

“Jenny. Good morning.”

Good morning Ludovic. You look hot. Have you been running?”

She led him up a wide staircase and along two long corridors, cluttered with boxes and odd stacks of shelving.

Jenny Wright was in her late fifties, tall and fit enough to make Ludovic hurry to keep pace up the stairs. Her job title, Head of Textiles, was less impressive than her list of academic publications in the journals which lined the bookcase behind her desk. Her tiny office was cluttered to the point of inconvenience with teetering piles of books, cardboard boxes overflowing with coloured garments and a full size tailor’s dummy wearing a faded silk bodice and a top hat.

“Do sit down, sorry,” she moved a box off a chair and placed it awkwardly between a microscope and a telephone on her desk.

Ludovic sat and looked at her expectantly.

She paused for a moment and then said, “are you trying to trick me?”

Ludovic looked studiously blank.

“Because I don’t know what you are trying to find out,” she continued. “I’m a specialist in the eighteenth century and earlier. Pre-mechanisation. Pre-synthetics.”

Ludovic nodded, “I know.”

“Then why did you tell me that you needed an urgent analysis, top secret, all cloak and dagger,” she took a breath, “of a piece of laser-cut nylon with a semi-permeable plastic laminate that appears to have been buried in your compost heap?”

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2 Responses to “Chapter 10”

  1. 1 Graham

    I think Jeney Wright feels she’s been stitched up…. I’m sorry I couldn’t resist.

    Loving it so far Alex.


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