"Good evening Miss Moore," Lawrence said kindly as the front door swung open. "You are Miss Moore, are you not?"
The woman he was talking to was supposedly in her mid thirties, but her wrinkled face and flabby skin made her seem much older. Her hair was curled messily and a shade of dark brown. She had many freckles on her face and wore thick-rimmed glasses over her hazel eyes.
"Alas no," she said, her voice was calm and soft. "My sister is out with a friend, do doubt she'll be back soon, you're welcome to come in if you like."
"Thank you er…?"
Lawrence smiled. "Thank you Susan,"
He and Carl stepped inside and stepped through the hallway. It was a fairly large house for middle class citizens, though nothing too extravagant. The floor was plain, unpolished wood and the walls were covered in plain scarlet wall paper.
Susan Moore led the two men into the kitchen which was very large and full of cooking tools, from knives to sieves, rolling pins and other instruments that Lawrence had never seen before, he bet his wife would know what they were. She was an excellent cook.
"Would you like a brandy?" Susan asked once both of them were seated. Carl opened his mouth eagerly but Lawrence cut across him.
"No thank you Susan," he said. "We are here on a business matter,"
Susan's eyes widened. "Oh, well erm, I hope you don't mind my asking, but what business are you here for."
"We are here madam," Carl answered her. "Investigating the death of a man, you may not ask any more information unless we see fit to disclose it to you."
At that moment Susan's eyes became even wider and the glasses she wore made them seem bigger than her head. Lawrence noticed that there was a tear trickling down her eye. He did not speak, for Susan was crossing the room and she picked up a portrait of a man who looked a lot like there victim. She caressed it with her porky little fingers.
"It was Edward wasn't it?" she sobbed.
"Do you mean the man in the photo Susan?" Lawrence asked kindly.
Susan nodded her head and several tears splashed onto the photo of Edward making the photo smudge as she massaged them into the ink with her caressed.
"What was Edward's last name Susan?" Lawrence pushed on, trying to not notice her tears.
This appeared to be a good move, for before she answered, Susan straightened herself and wiped her tears from her eyes.
"Edward Nichols," she said.
The moment the word Nichols came into his head, the whole image of Mary Jane Kelly's body sprung into his mind so vivid this time, that it made him feel sick.
"Is everything alright sir," Carl said, putting out a hand to stop his boss from keeling over.
"Everything is fine, thank you Carl," Lawrence replied, steadying his balance. "Now Susan, did you have feelings for Mr Nichols? More than friendship I mean."
Susan gave a shriek and stepped back. "Of course not," she snapped. "I would never do such a thing, my sister got him because she loved him and I did not! How could you think such a thing?"
The moment she had finished speaking Lawrence knew she was lying. He saw the way Susan had caressed the photo of Edward; he even saw the sour glance that she gave to the picture of her sister when she put away Edward's picture.
At that moment the door came in and a sweet voice echoed in the corridor.
"Susan, are you home! You haven't seen… (She entered the kitchen) oh, I didn't know we had company. Good morning?"
"Chief Inspector Craven," Lawrence introduced himself. "And this is my partner Carl Collins. We are here investigating your husband's death."
Mary Moore seemed rather cool about the situation, she was a little shaken, but was no where near as distraught as her sister Susan had been.
One thing that Lawrence concluded immediately, as Mary came into the room, was that Susan was defiantly, positively jealous of her sister and nothing would convince him otherwise.
Mary was wearing a revealing satin dress over her slender and perfectly curved body. Her hair was a mixture of blond and brown and it was curled into thick curls that wound down past her shoulders. Her lip quivered slightly, but other than that, she did not seem in the least upset which meant one of two things: Either she did not care that her husband was dead, or that she was a very strong woman and judging by appearances, it could have gone either way.
"Well I can hardly say I'm surprised at all," she said curtly. "He did make himself many enemies, well that's if any of them found out what he'd done. But I think I'm the only one who knows."
"Mary!" Susan exclaimed with disgust. "How dare you say that about Edward!"
"Oh really Mary," Lawrence asked in a high, curious tone ignoring the livid look on Susan's face. "And what would that be?"
"He had been seeing other women of course," Mary said casually. "Greasy piece of scum spent a whole year going behind my back, with five different women for goodness sake! So when I found out I left him, and I haven't heard from him since."
"Well that's a load of…" Susan began but Mary held up her hand.
"Shut it Susan! This has nothing to do with you, now get out!"
Susan suddenly burst into a series of giant sobs and ran from the kitchen, tears splashing down her front.
Lawrence knew that Mary was lying of course, for the letter had told him that the two of them had been in contact recently. But before he could question Susan, Carl spoke.
"So, Mrs Moore, what friend were you out with?"
Mary replied with a puzzled expression. "What are you talking about?"
Lawrence could have promoted Carl, they had Mary now, hopefully they would force a confession out of her that very day. "You see Mrs Moore, your sister told us that you were out with a friend, or was it a customer?" when he asked that question Lawrence knew that Carl had gone too far; for Mary's face went purple with rage and her fury took away her beauty and it was replaced with the face of a deadly viper.
"HOW DARE YOU SAY SOMETHING?" she roared so that her voice echoed throughout the halls. "I AM NOT SOME COMMON WHORE FROM WHITECHAPEL! NOW GET OUT!"
Lawrence could have arrested her there and then, but from the corner of his eye he saw Susan watching through an open window. Before any further rows would insue Lawrence assured her with hast that they were leaving and that they would be in touch and then the moment they were outside, who should happen to cross their paths, but Susan.
"You saw me standing there didn't you Inspector?" she said quietly. "I assume you want to ask me something about my sister, well here is the answer. Two nights ago my sister met Edward at his best friends thirty-first birthday party. They had some sort of row and she left the party. She told me she was staying with a friend and would write to me later, so I went home alone. I spoke to Edward briefly that night and he seemed rather shaken, he was desperate to find Mary, he didn't see why though, that was the last time I saw him though," at this moment Susan's eyes began to well with tears. "The very last time!"
Lawrence felt a little compassion towards Susan. He handed her a handkerchief and asked. "What about your sister, did she really work as a prostitute?"
Susan looked urgently, with fear at the house, then she turned dramatically and whispered in Lawrence's ear. "It was the reason that they were divorced. I never heard anything about Edward having relationships with five other women. Never."
"Thank you Susan," Lawrence replied with kindness. "There is one more question I must ask you, did Edward always work as an Alchemist?"
"Oh no," Susan replied casually, yet with a little pride. "He used to work at the Whitechapel Infirmary, he lost his job though, I can't remember why though. Is that all Inspector?"
"Yes it is Susan, thank you, you have been most helpful."
Susan beamed at Lawrence and Carl. "Anything to get to the bottom of this crime, I hope you catch however did it, goodbye Inspector."
Susan waved at them both and made her way back into the gardens. Carl waited until she was out of sight before he asked with curiousity. "Why did you want to know where Edward worked sir?"
Lawrence's lips curved upwards into a wise smile as he spoke. "Because Carl, Edward is the only living relative, of Mary Anne Nichols the first victim of Jack the Ripper."