Ms. Grayston, musing upon her situation, takes an anti-depressant from her purse and washes it down with a local 2015 Pinot Grigio. She has just received an email from Ferdinand [known as Fast] Bux, HHAHD@gotmail.com. High Heels and Hot Dances is Fast’s business, along with property development on a major scale. He has asked her to meet him at 3.45 pm., 16th hole at Bermagui.
She should feel exhilarated; her tango expertise at a peak, ‘the plan’ reaching fulfilment, and Ferdinand Bux fast falling in love with her. It hadn’t been difficult to fool all and sundry of her environmental credentials. Membership of NFP [National Forest Program], WCS [Wildlife Conservation Society], FEG [Forest and Environment Group] and FOS [Friends of Scouting] had all played a part in that.
Ms Grayston, however, was not sure if she had been as successful in hiding her true intent from Winnie O’Commo, volunteer at Well-thumbed Secondhand Books. True, she had cultivated a close friendship with Winnie and her sometime lover Reg Withers, but it hadn’t been easy to feign a match for Winnie’s ridiculous enthusiasm for Green philosophy.
Fast Bux had demanded that ‘the plan’ be kept under wraps until all was in place. ‘Must be why we’re meeting at the golf course’ she thought, putting her empty wineglass on the coffee table. She would wear her lucky red stilettos, her business deals always clinched in her favour with these lovelies on her feet. This was to be the exception. As Ms. Grayston approached the 16th, a number five club met her skull with great force and she crumpled on to the fairway.
Inspector R. Sole and Detective Constable A. Brain were reviewing the evidence. With a vicious killer at large, residents of the Triangle were impatient for them to find and capture the fiend. Who, they wondered, would benefit from this terrible murder? Who had the motive, the opportunity and the means to carry it out?
Ms. Grayston hadn’t been an angel, this much was clear. In a small town peccadillos became flame to ignite hidden jealousies, and wild partying, fodder for the restless tongue. There was also the question of a large amount of cash missing from Ms. Grayston’s bank account and the secret purchase of land on the southern fringe of Bermagui. The murder scene itself presented a multitude of unanswered questions, not least why a red stiletto was embedded in Ms Grayson’s neck and why a fishing knife and rake lay beside the body.
Sole’s mobile phone interrupted their discussions. ‘Coroner from Sydney here, Inspector. You’ll be wanting to know results of the Grayston autopsy? Hit to the head with the 5 iron isn’t the first cause of death. Interesting. Evidence points to the stiletto stabbing after the victim was rendered unconscious.’
‘Go over to forensics Brain, see if they’ve found any prints on that stiletto or anything else for that matter’ Sole ordered.
Within the hour forensics identified prints on the 5 iron and Reg Withers was brought in for questioning. Collapsing under Brain’s penetratingly intelligent onslaught, Withers confessed to wielding the 5 iron but refused to implicate an accomplice, stating only that the sight of stilettos on his manicured green rendered him temporarily insane.
Fingerprints on the stiletto were more complicated, indicating that another person had dealt the fatal blow. Who could wield a stiletto with such force and accuracy? Clearly someone familiar with the diverse properties of women’s shoes.
Brain pondered this as he booked Wither’s accommodation next door in the lockup. Returning to the Inspector’s Office he suggested that they visit Winnie O’Commo whom he had learnt was a close friend of the deceased. The women not only had environmental and community interests in common but also, it seemed, shared a love of Communist manifesto. Both belonged to FET, a group committed to fetish, but of what?
Winnie lived beside Lake Wallaga in a cottage surrounded by garden. Sole and Brain, casually entering the garden, were amused to see numerous sculptures dotted throughout, some quite grotesque. One in particular dispelled any humour from their faces. Protruding from the bushes was a pair of female legs, pottery it appeared, wearing one red stiletto.
Winnie hung up her gardening gloves, put away her denim bag of bulbs, and brewed a pot of chai for the two detectives. She was ready to unburden herself of the secret that had haunted her for days.
Winnie, it evolved, had read an email sent accidently to the Well Thumbed bookshop by HHAHD@gotmail.com not realizing at first that it was meant for her friend Ms. Grayston. This email confirmed a large land sale involving public land encompassing views of whales and dolphins frolicking in the ocean, growths of rare spotted white eucalypts, and habitat for the almost extinct lardy lizard.
Her suspicion aroused, Winnie asked Reg if he knew what was going on. Reg Withers, Greenkeeper, was a man who valued information for power’s sake. He kept an open ear around the Club and had picked up news of an extension to the Club property. They agreed to answer Fast Bux’s email in Ms. Grayston’s name to see if they could discover more.
What they found out incensed them. Ms. Grayston was not a true Greenie but had joined forces with Fast Bux to secretly purchase and develop all of the land between the Golf Course and Four Winds for the purpose of an Exclusive Resort for golf professionals. Winnie also found herself subject of Fast Bux’s responses to ‘Ms. Grayston’, laughing as he did at her ‘naiveté’ as an environmentalist and her ‘lunacy’ as a ‘Red’.
Winnie decided that her friend, Ms. Grayston, must die to stop the development. She admitted sending an email asking her to meet at the 16th hole at 3.45 pm and enlisting Reg’s help to carry out the plot to kill. After Ms. Grayston had succumbed to the blow, Winnie feverishly pulled the red stilettos from her victim’s feet and delivered a fatal wound with one 15 cm heel. Reg dropped the iron and began to rake out the sand to eliminate any footprints. ‘But why was the fish knife there Ms. O’Commo?’ asked Brain. ‘Reg likes to repair divets with surgical precision’ she replied ‘it must have dropped from his pocket’.
Ferdinand Bux was last sighted sailing out of Bermagui Harbour on a luxury yacht.
The Well Thumbed Secondhand Book Store operates without the voluntary contribution of Winnie O’Commo who spends her days in prison designing water delivery systems for small communities in China.
[Goldfields Ladies Deductive Agency: We may not have the answers but we sure as hell will ask the questions.]