Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (14) Good Golly Miss Molly (Part 08)
DS Marty Griffin left Molly Westwood sitting on a bench on the pier and was almost back on the promenade before he remembered he had walked to the Pier with DC Deacon who was supposed to have joined him in the interview after five minutes but he never appeared, not that he noticed.
He took his phone out and rang him.
“Sticky! Where are you?”
It turned out that while he was waiting in the wings he got a tip from a guy called Vivek Chopra who worked at one of the arcades regarding the pick pockets.
Their next port of call was the home of Jayne Keeling, who chaired the Sharpington Day Parade Fundraising Committee, so after returning briefly to the station they drove to Dulcet St Mary to her rather plush country cottage.
On the journey Marty recounted his interview with Molly Westwood.
“It sounds to me like something and nothing but someone is trying to stir things up”
“I agree” Marty concurred and asked
“What do you know about Molly Westwood?”
“In what way?”
“I mean is she reliable” Marty said
“You mean is she available” Deacon said
“No” he retorted “Well maybe”
“Well that would be a yes to both questions then” Sticky replied as they pull up onto the gravelled drive and parked outside Mrs Keeling’s Cottage.
Jayne Keeling was a tall elegant woman in her late fifties and clearly spent more money on beauty treatments and manicures that Marty earned in a year but she was not an unpleasant woman.
“So when did you hear about the incident?” DS Griffin asked as they sat in her conservatory.
“Not until the article appeared in the paper” she replied “I had a number of phone calls after that from committee members who were being badgered by people claiming to be concerned about people dressing up as Golliwogs and the Jackson Five”
“And what was your reaction?” Griffin asked
“To tell the truth” she said lowering her voice “I laughed, is that terrible?”
“I couldn’t possibly comment” he retorted but he smiled
“Do you have any idea who any of the culprits are?”
“No none whatsoever, we do know everyone who took part but there were hundreds of participants” She replied
“So how does it work?” Deacon asked
“Volunteers for the Parade register to participate on the night before, where they also pick up their collection tins. The majority of them are obviously in fancy dress, though that is optional, however committee members are not told in advance what they plan to dress up as on the day”
“So in theory they could all turn up in, for example Nazi uniforms and the committee wouldn’t know?” Boris asked
“That’s correct, although that would be a very sinister Parade and I can’t imagine the collection tins being very full, and that is the point of the whole day, charity” she said
"But if we start dictating to people what they can or cannot come dressed as it could deter them from volunteering, especially if they had to produce a picture of what they were planning to wear on the day”
“Were all the collecting tins returned at the end of the day?” DS Griffin asked
“Yes all of them were accounted for” she replied “So they probably had alternative outfits or merely discarded their costumes and completed the parade in their everyday clothes”
“You’re probable right” Marty said “Well thank you very much for your time”
“You are quite welcome” she said affably
“Just one other question” Marty said as he approached the door “Was the day a success?”
“Absolutely” she replied “Our best year yet”
“In which case I wouldn’t bother changing the way you do things the public clearly like it the way it is” He said
“I agree” Jayne said
“You might want to contact Molly Westwood at the Courier” He said “I have a feeling she’s looking for a “good news” story for next week’s edition”
“I will do that” she said “Goodbye”