‘He put her in the cesspit where he knows every time he uses the facilities in the house, that’s where it’s going.’
His wife-to-be, as was. ’Cos when Helen Bailey called him her happy ending, she was only half-right.
Slim lady of a certain age (51); just too old to have had to have her teeth fixed.
For the DCI it’s the deliberate brutality of Ian Stewart’s lies, all the while her body lying in the pit underneath the garage.
On the police tapes he’s a man made of smoke: those sorry-I-don’t-knows in the phone call to report her missing; and when they come to take him away, the knocked-back, sit-down-on-the-stairs in his dressing gown – unruly hair, what’s left of it, the only thing that’s standing up for itself.
So did Ian Stewart surprise himself that fateful afternoon?
And can you kill your lover squeamishly, in the strangulated way he talks?
Even the police raid was softly, softly: ‘could you wake him up, thank you, is that all right?’
Well past first light, already a comfortable seven o’clock.
They do the easy stuff first: ‘how are you?’ and the warrant to search; before reading him his rights –
The officer stumbles over ‘suspicion’ of murder.
Arrested, and still he’s being taken to the station for ‘a full discussion’.
Any minute now, Plod’s going to ask if he can use your euphemism.
What a relief when they get down to it in the interview room: determined detective, questions meant to penetrate; Stewart staying shtum like villains are supposed to.
Was he that Master of Deception, belovèd of the dear old tabloids?
Or, all the years on the set for Midsomer Murders, before he went and did one himself –
Delusional, perhaps; or else he was who he said he was, as much as the killer he became.