The Plague Doctor

A Vanstone Novel


C P Sennett

 © 2013

All characters and events here and in this book are fictitious and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.

Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing.

Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett

ISBN 978-1-909133-05-1



Chapter 3

Opportunity From Adversity

Laurie sat in a plain white waiting room at the local police station. He had been ‘booked in’ by a custody officer, who took his name, address, finger prints, a DNA sample and the contents of his pockets, in exchange for some dry clothes to wear. Awful looking brown cord trousers and a plain green shirt was hardly a fashion statement but at least they were dry.

A lengthy spell of looking at the walls and worrying over his fingerprinting was thankfully ended by the arrival of a fat, older looking police officer who quietly entered the room. “Sorry to have kept you Laurie, can I call you Laurie?” asked the portly grey haired man dressed in a suit.

Laurie nodded feeling a little tired now.

“Laurie I am Detective Inspector Ben Parks and I am involved in the murder case that has recently taken place. I’m unable to give you much information as this is an ongoing investigation but my colleague PC Jones informs me you’ve been very co-operative so far, I’m hoping this continues?

Laurie nodded again.

“I need to record this conversation and naturally you’re not in any trouble but as you have said that you knew the deceased I would like to discuss your side of things. Are you with me?”

Laurie nodded for a third time a little in shock, watching the man push some buttons on a small recording device which he placed openly on the table. He then started his speech, his name, title, the time and date and something about section 9, whilst stating Laurie’s name and address as he began writing on a small notepad.

Laurie looked on in a bit of a daze until the officer addressed him.

“I said can you confirm your name please Laurie?”

Laurie snapped back to reality, “Er yes… It’s Laurence Hood”.

“Can I confirm you were offered legal representation which you declined upon arrival?”

“Yes” replied Laurie flatly.

“Laurie, as mentioned this is an official interview and I am looking to find out why you were in the area of the deceased this evening and if there is any information you can pass onto me and my officers which could help?”

“No” mumbled Laurie quietly.

“Speak up please as I need you to be clear for the recording. You could give us a clue which helps us so please speak clearly.”

Laurie nodded. “Sorry, I was in the area as I was just given the news by a friend John, moments before. Anna and I were at school together”

The officer nodded “What school was that Laurie and how well did you know the deceased?”

“Anna” said Laurie “Her name is Anna and I knew her well at school, less so afterwards?”

“Why is that?” asked the detective, writing something on his notepad.

“Don’t know, I guess you just drift a bit, I bet you don’t keep in touch with all of your school pals?”

The officer nodded in agreement before adding “But you’re not long out of school are you, I left over thirty years ago.”

“I guess we just lost contact, I would see her occasionally, about three times since we left but that’s it”

“So you have seen her since you left school then?”

“Yes, I just said that I had seen her a few times.” said Laurie.

“Ok do you want a drink at all?” asked the interviewer.

Laurie shook his head “No ta, look Anna and I were not very close, she was nice to me at school as we lived near to one another and we shared a few lessons but that was it really. We never dated and we never hung out as friends apart from when we were about six.”

“So you were close when you were young but less so as time went by?”

“Correct” said Laurie watching his fat fingers jotting down more notes.

“And it was this friend of yours, John, who called to tell you about the news?”


The policeman surprised Laurie with his next question. “Where were you today between twelve and five p.m?

“Seriously?” he replied.

“Sorry Laurie, for my benefit please answer the question?”

“Look I don’t wish to be rude here, your officer Jones has been trying to establish a baseline and build some rapport with me in the car on the way here. I get you have a job to do but as I told him I was at work dead on 8.30 a.m. and I didn’t leave till gone five.

“And this would be at the computer company you identified to us when you were booked in?”

“Correct again” said Laurie frostily.

“Did you ever sleep with Anna Brook?” he asked

Laurie looked at him angrily. “No”.

“Would you have?” asked the officer.

“Are you new in the job or something, I said nothing happened and seriously nothing did. I was at work during the day with at least fifty witnesses who saw me, I got there by bus so I couldn’t nip home to kill someone on my lunch break as I didn’t know exactly where she lived and the busses are a little slow.

“This may seem an obvious question but if you didn’t know where she lived how did you know where to go this evening?”

Laurie sighed heavily “I knew what road she lived on as she said when we spoke some months back but that really was it, we’ve both left home and adults can have these sorts of conversations when they meet.”

The officer’s demeanour changed now as he stood up leaning over the desk towards Laurie. “Yes but that girl is dead now isn’t she Mr Hood so don’t be flippant with me!”

Laurie sat back in his chair inhaling deeply, holding the air in his stomach as he ran his hands through his hair in frustration.

“Forgive me for pushing these points Laurie. So what were you doing there?” he asked as he sat back down.

Laurie paused, sure he had already given this information.

“As I said sir, I heard the news and in shock I ran there in the hope I could assist. Actually I am not sure what assistance I could have given as this is the first time anyone I know has been murdered. Anna was nice to me at school, I’m not the best with girls and she would dance with me at the school discos and she even stuck up for me when people gave me shit about coming from a poor single parent family. I feel that I owed her that much. It was a reaction, an impulse to go and see but not a good one it seems.”

“Ok so you call it a reaction which prompted you to make yourself known to us.”

“No I ran there and shit myself seeing the crime scene people everywhere along with cops in high vis jackets, so I leaned on some old guy’s car, we argued a bit and then your officer came down and spoke to me.”

“You’re not being charged with anything here Laurie, this is really just the chance for us to get your side of events; we need to speak to any and all persons of interest. The police are on your side here”.

“I doubt that somehow.” he said shaking his head.

“Laurie, I actually want to believe you when you say you were not that close to Anna, I do. But earlier you said you were friends who lost touch so you can see why we need to ask these things. If you’re friends, you’re friends right, but then you say you weren’t close, so which is it?”

Laurie nodded “I don’t know acquaintances, past school friends whatever you want to call it.”

“It’s not about what I call it, I am just trying to get any help you can give us.”

“I’m trying too but you’re not listening very well!”

The officer looked over his notes again. “Ever thought of being a tradesman Mr Hood?” he asked as casual as he could.

Laurie gave him a confused look “What like a builder you mean?”

“Yeah, builder, plumber, electrician? Any in the family, brothers or a college course perhaps?”

“No, I’ve a few basic tools I got from a boot sale, hammer, screwdriver, nails, etc. My house is rented so anything that needs doing the landlord sorts, no formal or informal training all I do I unload lorries, why do you ask?”

“Just something I wanted to check, any plans for travel at all?” he asked quickly deflecting Laurie’s request.

“No” replied Laurie watching him make more notes.

“What was Anna’s favourite colour?”

“Pass, pink I guess but that would have been when she was six and I’m not even sure of that. As I say we weren’t close”.

Laurie sighed running his hands again through his hair. “Has she really been killed?” he asked weakly.

The officer smiled, “Sorry Mr Hood we will be releasing an official statement in due course but I need to go over some of these points again.”

Laurie put his head in his hands rubbing his eyes.

“So who gave you the news that brought you to officer Jones”….?


The next day at work Laurie was shattered having not got home until gone 4 a.m. He found the grubby stores and warehouse floor of work hard to take this morning.

Thankfully the day went by quickly and with it being Friday he had the weekend to catch up on his sleep.

Laurie was just getting ready to leave work when he got a call from the sales floor, it was Gerek.

Gerek was a bit like Laurie, in that he was one of the quieter guys in the company and of similar age, the obvious difference was Gerek was Polish. The two of them got on well and spoke most days.

“That you Laurie?” said Gerek, his friendly Polish accent clearly audible down the phone.

“Yes, hi Gerek” replied Laurie. “You after me or Shane?” he asked.

“You mainly, it’s work and beer related. Has my stock from Bellram come in yet, it’s memory?” he added. “Also,” continued Gerek, “do you fancy coming out for a beer with me and some friends tonight?”

Laurie paused.

“I have some plan’s Gerek; let me see if I can rearrange them to come along,” he said. “If I am not back to you in the next ten minutes assume it’s a no. Why, where you going?” he enquired sounding unenthused.

“My girlfriend and some of her friends from Poland are coming out and a few of them are single so I am playing cupid.”

Laurie chuckled. “Saying Cupid sounds odd with your accent,” he remarked.

“What you would prefer it if I said something more stereotypically polish?” he added teasing Laurie.

“No,” chuckled Laurie, “thanks for the offer though and if I can I’ll try to make it. Where’re you meeting and what time?”

“The Boardwalk,” replied Gerek. “We are going to meet there for drinks at 8.30, it’s a little quieter there and it’s a good spot for the guys and girls to get on. Also if it helps you to decide… I think one of her friends will like you.” he added. “And Macy agrees, she thinks you two will make a great couple.”

“Very funny, what’s she gonna see in me?” laughed Laurie.

“There is more to you than you think my hardworking storeman, besides if you want to know what she is like, its 8.30 p.m. sharp at The Boardwalk.”

The line suddenly went dead.

Laurie stood still running his fingers through his hair before he called Gerek’s extension back and got a new voicemail tone. This was one Gerek had obviously prepared for him in advance.

“Hi Laurie, Gerek is not able to come to the phone right now but as mentioned. 8.30 p.m. sharp and don’t leave me alone with so many great ladies!”

Then came the beep where he was supposed to leave his message. Laurie knew Gerek had him and that he would remotely change the message to a more professional sounding one later.

Macy and Gerek were a lovely couple who he had spoken with at a few company functions. She was really nice and they seemed a well suited couple. The problem is Laurie didn’t really feel as though he should go out, he was simply numb.


During the afternoon, Laurie’s phone beeped with a text, it was John.

How you holding up, you at to work?

Laurie replied:

As well as can be expected, I am off out tonight, I’ll fill you in tomorrow, L.

Laurie did not want to tell John he spent the most of the night in the police station or it would be a long conversation.

To view the next free sample. chapter 4 click here.

Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett

Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing