Inspector Neame finished reading the reports of the previous night’s events, squared the papers and placed them neatly upon the corner of his desk. He removed his pince-nez and regarded his assembled officers over steepled fingers.
“Gentlemen,” he began, “as you are aware, Constable Rowan suffered an assault in the pursuance of his duties this past night. Whilst he does not appear to be physically harmed, given the specialised nature of our duties, I thought it prudent to send him home, in order for him to recuperate fully.”
There was a murmur of concern from his men, with Sergeant Webb looking particularly distressed.
“However,” he continued, ” this was not the only attack to have occurred last night.” He tapped the neatly ordered papers significantly. “One Sally Meadows, or ‘Saucy Sal’ as she was more commonly known, also ran into our mysterious blue lady, but unlike Constable Rowan, she was not so fortunate as to survive this encounter. She is currently occupying a slab at St. Bart’s and…” he reached for the relevant document, scrutinising the details, “it would appear our mystery woman, for reasons known only to herself, decided to cut off Miss Meadows’ face and carry it away with her.”
This revelation caused a sharp intake of breath from the assembled officers, although Constable Moore appeared to have something else on his mind, judging from his expression. Moore had a reputation for exacting attention to detail, worrying at the minutia of a case like a terrier at a rat. If something was troubling Moore, Neame wanted to know what it was.
“You have a question, Constable Moore?” The inspector asked.
“Yes, Sir,” said Moore, gathering his thoughts, “based on the reported times of the two attacks, can we be certain that the same person committed both?”
Neame pursed his lips in thought and looked back and forth between the two reports. Moore had a point.
“The two incidents did occur in close succession, yet were seperated by a distance of a mile or so, which would suggest that they were the work of two separate indivduals…however, witnesses attest that both were committed by a ‘blue woman’, so unless we have two of them runing about, we have to assume that it was the same person.”
Inspector Neame leant forward. “This state of affairs cannot continue. I want this woman apprehended and in custody before the day is out. To that end, I shall be sending you out in force this evening. Now, I appreciate that we are a man down, with Constable Rowan currently indisposed, which is why I have requested the services of Mr. Grimm here…” He gestured to the man who had been sitting quietly in the corner of the room, a Gladstone bag at his feet, so silent that the officers had not even registered his presence.
Lancelot Grimm rose from his chair, taking his bag and placing it on the desk. He unsnapped the catch and drew forth three truncheons, which he silently handed to each officer.
“I have a fair idea of what is stalking the streets of Blackwell,” said Grimm, “and that is why you will need these.”
Constable Nash whistled appreciatively, sighting down the length of the obviously non-regulation baton. “Solid Rowan core, 18 inches in length, studded with stirling silver,” he murmured, “nice…”
Moore hefted the truncheon, a thoughtful expression on his face.
“Does this mean…?” He began.
“Indeed it does, Constable,” interrupted Grimm, a savage grin on his face, “We’re hunting faeries…”