The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 10
Friday September 7, 2012
Death of Unidentified Woman in Marple
Police are again asking the public for help to identify a woman who was killed by a hit and run driver on Stockport Road in Marple on Friday evening, August 31st, about 7 p.m. She was about 70 years old, with long straight grey hair and glasses. She was wearing dark loose clothing and a beige jacket. No one has yet come forward from the previous appeal.
They also ask anyone from a garage who had been asked to repair a car or van with the sort of damages that would be consistent with a high speed impact on a body to please contact them. From interviews with local residents there seems to be an indication that a white van had been seen speeding in the area at approximately the time in question.
I soon found my new rather restrictive life boring. I wanted to go out and scout around the place, but lots of toing and froing wouldn't probably be in character for Minnie. Better to plan to go out early in the morning, and do all my exploring of the area then, and come back late in the evening like she said that she did.
I decided that as I was now living in the house for the long term, I had better move in properly. So I made the bed up – finding some clean sheets in a chest – and putting the dirty ones in the hamper in the bathroom. I supposed I'd have to deal with the problem of laundry at some stage, but I wouldn't worry about that yet. I pushed all of Minnie's clothes to one side in the cupboard and hung up my spare shirts and trousers, and one good jacket beside them. I dumped all of her clothes into one drawer – freeing the top one for my underwear and socks.
Going through her stuff was not really a temptation for me – but it just might give me a clue as to her whereabouts. Maybe there's a letter someplace asking her to come and stay for a fortnight with some relatives. It would be as well to check. Might as well start in the bedroom, as that was where I was.
I looked through the bedside cabinet, and other than paracetemol and Rennies, I found nothing of interest. There was an alarm clock, and a glass for water. The book she was currently reading, I presumed, called Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie, was on the bottom shelf. That was appropriate enough. It wasn't a library book.
I quickly scanned through the drawers in the dresser – rather embarrassed by the women's underwear – but “no one could accuse me of getting aroused from this sort of stuff,” I thought with a laugh. The bottom drawer had a couple sets of pajamas – nothing more exciting than that.
The chest of drawers I'd already started on when I was looking for bed clothes. And all the drawers were similarly stocked with either sheets or towels. All clean, but well worn and functional but certainly not beautiful.
Next door was the bathroom. Other than the bath (unluckily there was no shower) toilet, sink and hamper – the only other thing in the room was the medicine cabinet. Nothing in that either of interest – only toothpaste, and some odd medication left over from previous problems, I assumed.
The living room I'd already spent quite a lot of time in – and nothing stood out as a place of concealment. I wished I could find a hidden TV some place – but no – just couch, chairs, and small tables with lamps. The bookcase had lots of books in it – but wasn't the secret opening door that would have made this mystery much more exciting. Minnie wasn't a hoarder, that was for sure. She didn't have any knick-knacks or souvenirs of any sort. “What a dull life she must lead,” I thought, with a certain amount of pity for her.
The small dining room had only the table and four chairs. Now only the kitchen to explore. I might as well do that while I got my supper ready. Big treat tonight. Cheese on toast. Tea with Milk.
Other than the kitchen, the only other place which might hold some clues to Minnie's life was a filing cabinet in the back hall. After my meagre supper, I pulled open the top drawer and took out the first file – which interestingly enough was labelled NatWest bank. By scanning the bank statements, I found that Minnie had her pension paid into the bank, and she had direct debits for her electricity, gas and council tax. Not having a telephone or TV, she obviously had fewer expenses than the norm and her bank balance was in the black – although she didn't have a large amount of money left at the end of each month. But at least I didn't have to worry about bills coming through the door, expecting me to pay them.
Further files contained medical records – nothing interesting there – and receipts some of them going back 20 years. There were no personal letters at all – in fact nothing personal at all in the whole house. No wonder she got excited at the idea of trying to trap thieves.
I'd already investigated the cupboards and fridge – while looking for food. The drawers were much as you'd expect them to be – containing cooking utensils, small food items, cutlery, and so on. Suddenly I looked straight at the set of canisters on the counter. “I wonder what's in the coffee can,” I said. “No doubt a roll of £20 notes.” So laughing while I did so, I opened it. No notes at all – but that didn't make what I found any less amazing. It was full of gold. I had no idea if it was real gold or not – but it sure looked like it. They were coins – old fashioned ones, probably not in circulation now. I didn't know. But I did know that gold was gold, and if nothing else would always be worth the melt down value. I counted the coins. There were 21 of the big ones and 21 smaller ones. It was Victoria's picture on many of the coins, and no doubt being that old would probably make them more valuable still. I didn't know whether to be pleased or annoyed. Why couldn't she save like normal people and have usable money that I could go to a film with – buy some whisky with – get some new clothes with. If I took one of these into the bank – there would no doubt be questions asked. Where did you get it? Stuff like that. I would almost have rather than the container had been full of coffee.
If I'd had a computer I could check what they were worth, and what to do with them. Golly, here I was – thinking they belonged to me. They're Minnie's and any day now she's going to be back. I planned with her how to catch the thieves, and now I'm considering becoming a thief myself.
Ever since I'd been living in this house, I felt as if it was mine. They say that sometimes you feel like you belong somewhere. From the first, I felt like I belonged in this house. When Minnie finally comes back, if she kicks me out, it will seem much worse than if I'd never come here at all.
I'll give her another week – and if she doesn't show, I'll take some steps to find out where she is. I know her name – and her doctor's name and who she banks with. I'll go and investigate and just say that I'm her friend.
I know what I'll do. I'll take a coin with me to the library tomorrow and use their computer to check up what it's worth – and how to deal with them. Then when she comes back, I'll give her the information and she can sell them, and maybe get better food, or some new clothes or something nice. Feeling much happier with myself now, I put the coins back into the coffee can for safekeeping. I was glad that Sadie hadn't taken the bait – and come here looking for the money. She could've done it all last week when I was in Hyde if she'd been keen.
With my newly emerging self-satisfaction, I took myself off to Minnie's bedroom and settled down for a long sleep.