Brick houses on Warwick terrace stretched upward from flights of stone steps. Detective May lifted the door knocker noticing the half moon fan light above the frame . ‘No spy hole’ she thought. The house seemed to stand as it had been built. Heavy curtains and a piano sitting inside the window suggested the interior had avoided the concern for contemporary refurbs among Ranelagh’s 21st century property owners. All was had it been built over one hundred years ago.
It still looked like a home, like a house where someone sat at a Shearton sewing table finishing their needle work before the evening light dimmed. If Mahon had worked here as Finola suggested it was unlikely he did so as an accountant. A gardener perhaps, but not an accountant. The door had yet to open and this line of investigation already had the mark of a wild goose chase.
The length of time it was taking for the knock to be answered made May think there was possibly a one hundred year old person shuffling towards the door on. ‘They could be deaf’. She hammered again. African Lilllies lush and full swayed in a huge pot beside the door. ‘Finola – something did not quite fit with her – she clung to moments from the past as complete and defining life markers. The disappearance and violent death of her life partner in the present did not seem to register at all. Why had Finola insisted she come here?’
In any case the door remained shut. Any answers to the question of Jim Mahon’s death that possibly lay on the other side of the Warwick terrace Georgian door were beyond May’s reach. She turned to leave before her frustration grew.
‘Yes? Who are you?’ Already two steps from the bottom of the stairs Detective May turned to see a medium sized woman in her sixties standing in the door way. Taking her in May realised she could be any woman of a similar age from the affluent burrough.
‘I’m May, Detective May, from Harcourt street. Here’s my ID’ she answered proffering her badge and Garda number.
‘Yes – I see. Well, what do you want’?’
‘Do you know this man?’
‘Jim? Yes, of course I knew him.’
‘Knew him? So you are aware he is dead’
‘Is this a joke? Are you atually a Detective? Of course I know he is dead.’
May had a flash back to Finola’s anger. Perhaps she didn’t connect with older women? Wy else would they become so irate when she questioned them? At least the earlier anticipate goose chase seemed to be off the table. She identified the man in the photo as Jim. They were on first name terms so whether he was an accountant or a gardener this particular woman certainly seemed to have known the deceased well.
‘Do you mind if I come in? I have a few questions about Jim and your relationship with him while he worked here.’
‘Worked here? What kind of a detective are you?’
There was the question again. May was definitely not connecting with these women.
‘Jim didn’t work here. He lived here. He was my husband for 35 years. If you don’t believe me just drive down the road to the cemetery. Find his headstone – third row in, fourth from the end. When you have done some proper detective work come back. St Finbars- is down the road. You can’t miss it. The gates are always open.’
The door closed with a thud.
‘No wonder Jim had proposed not to marry Finola. He was a potential polygamist in the clothes of a bohemian’