The phone rang.
One of the uniformed officers answered it. "Sir, it's for you."Lestrade took the phone and said, "Hello."
Suddenly Lestrade's blood ran cold, and the hairs on his neck stood on end. This caller sounded perfectly normal, but three days ago another call had started just as simply, but then had changed.
"I thought you might like to know where I am."
"What is your name? Where are you?" Lestrade asked hurriedly.
"My name is Jennifer Mumby. I'm locked in a toilet cubicle at a train station."
"Which station? Are you all right?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?"
"Are you all right?" Lestrade asked again. "Is someone else with you?"
"Well there was but..." The caller's voice had almost a mocking tone to it. "They killed me you see."
Before Lestrade could utter another syllable, the line went dead. He was unnerved. Three days ago, a similar call was put through to him. Peter Griffiths, a middle-aged librarian was found dead in his home. He had been strangled with a belt. He had called to report his own imminent murder at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, yet the coroner pronounced the time of Griffiths' death to be around 11 o'clock in the morning. Lestrade put the phone down and shouted for his team members.
Five hours later, Jennifer Mumby's body was found. The plastic bag over her head was fastened with a cord. As in Peter Griffiths's case, the phone call had come some hours after her time of death. Lestrade ran his fingers through his hair and chewed his lip. He looked over to Donovan.
She'd guessed what he was going to say before he said it. She looked less than pleased. "No, sir, not him."
"Do as I say, Sally. Get Sherlock here now!"
Sherlock pushed the cubicle door open and gazed at the dead woman's body with keen eyes. John stood at his shoulder and observed his every move. Jennifer's body was crumpled in the cubicle, flopped over the toilet, with her stomach resting on the seat, and her head towards the onlookers.
"You've got five minutes, Sherlock," Lestrade said from the door of the Ladies. "At least I know you'll get some results besides the obvious."
Sherlock examined Jennifer's body. Her fingers now rigid from rigor mortis were bent inwards and as Sherlock looked at her nails he saw a fibre from the cord.
"She fought back quite furiously."
His gaze then dropped to her feet and traced bruising on her ankles.
"Whoever did it had to kick her legs apart to force her down onto the toilet. My guess is she not only put up a fight but she made it very difficult for the killer. Suffocating her upright was too challenging," Sherlock said.
"It's surprising no one saw it," John said.
"Any CCTV?" Sherlock asked.
"Yes, it shows she went in at 14.23. I got the phone call from her at four o'clock on the dot. Other people were in and out but nothing suspicious," Lestrade said.
"You're certain it was her voice?"
"Yes, we took her mobile and she has a personalised answer phone message. It's definitely her I spoke with."
"Pass me her phone," Sherlock said. Lestrade acquiesced. Sherlock immediately went to her inbox, found her last message, and read it aloud.
Bought a skirt I know you will love, it's very you. B x
Received 10.58 am
"Shall we go to her flat, try and find out who B is?" John said.
"Most definitely and then to Peter Griffiths's flat."
Sherlock spent another two or three minutes examining Jennifer and aside from the obvious the only other thing he picked up on that was worth noticing was she was wearing men's deodorant. The pair of them left the scene and headed for Jennifer Mumby's flat.
In Jennifer Mumby's hallway, Sherlock noticed and picked up a Royal Mail notice for a parcel that was unable to be delivered. As Sherlock examined Jennifer's living room, John emerged from her bedroom.
"I've looked everywhere. No photographs, notes or anything that mentions a B. However I did find a can of men's deodorant in the bathroom. She could have had a boyfriend over."
"Quite possibly. Doesn't explain why she'd choose that deodorant. The most obvious explanation when a woman wears men's deodorant is when she's had no chance to get home before the next day."
"Also there are a few men's clothes so someone was obviously staying over in some capacity."
"Though we can infer from her flat that she's single."
"How do you know that?"
"Well, there's a subconscious setting to it," Sherlock said.
"You could say the same about our flat."
"Not at all, any subconscious imprints we have on the flat Mrs Hudson eradicates." Sherlock almost smiled, this made John chuckle slightly.
"I distinctly remember a head in our fridge; what would that say about your subconscious?"
"A mind bent on knowing more than the obvious." Sherlock replied as he followed in the footsteps John had already taken and took to examining the rest of the flat.
"Which is exactly why you're retracing every step I have taken." John raised an eyebrow. He was not surprised when this comment was ignored by Sherlock, who continued his search. John followed Sherlock into the bedroom and saw him look at the men's clothes.
"Interesting," Sherlock said and then he moved to Jennifer's dressing table where he began examining her cosmetics. Picking up a perfume bottle, he sniffed it. "So Ms Mumby was a Chanel wearer, though on those clothes I distinctly smell Dior if I'm not mistaken."
"Oh, you're an expert on perfume now? Is that what you did before you created your own job? I could see you on a counter in Debenhams," John joked, but again was ignored.
"So if we don't wear Dior how come Dior is on the clothes?"
"Maybe there was another woman," John suggested.
Without another word, Sherlock marched out of the bedroom and before John could catch him up, he was out the door of the flat.
"Don't wait for me then," John said to himself.
Peter Griffiths's flat showed evidence of a man divorced, photographs of graduating children, impeccable suits, yet a messy home. Sherlock sniffed the air. "The same perfume as in Jennifer Mumby's flat,."
"You noticed that as soon as we got here, didn't you?"
Sherlock also noticed a business card for a bar called Blitz. He tucked it into his pocket. He then strode into the bathroom and glancing around quickly he soon spotted something behind the toilet. John watched as Sherlock pulled out a cosmetic bag and unzipped it, disclosing a bottle of Dior perfume and a kohl eyeliner.
"Well, well," Sherlock said, holding up the eyeliner. "Think I'm starting to see."
"Care to fill me in?" John replied.
But before he had finished his sentence, Sherlock had left the flat.