Reader's WIves Part 1-3

Detective Inspector Griffiths, didn’t like it, he didn’t like it at all but he knew he had no choice. The feminist and the women’s rights groups were going to make him public enemy number one, they would want his balls in a vice but it wasn’t his fault, he was only doing his job, he had to make the arrest. It was always the same for domestics. The women’s libbers always found the woman innocent even when like in this case the weight of evidence was overwhelming.  She had killed her husband, she had admitted it for fuck sake, and the evidence was right there in front of his eyes, the bleeding corpse, the bloody scissors, a sobbing blood-stained women being comforted by a WPC. He couldn’t just ignore it; she had to be arrested. But that would mean leading her out of the house and into the prying eyes of the TV cameras, the fucking satellite news crew had got there before Griffiths, who the fuck had tipped them off? Now the world would see him lead this poor defenceless woman out of the house.

'Mrs Edwards?' Griffiths's voice sounded harsh, he tried to soften it, 'Mrs Edwards?' it made little difference, the sobbing woman looked up slowly, In all the palaver Griffiths hadn't really noticed what she was wearing.  Why was she dressed like a Moulin Rouge whore? She wore a gaudy red and black basque holding up expensive looking stockings; her ample breast pushed up by the underwear. For a second something there were nearly two stiffs in the room. 'Mrs Edwards, Why don’t you go and get changed and then we’ll need to get you down the station.'
Meryl rose a little unsteadily to her feet, her feet were encased in shiny black stilettos, the heels could have been the murder weapons themselves with a wicked silver point. Griffiths found his mind wandering, how come he couldn’t get his wife to wear clothes like that yet this dead loser being bagged up by the forensics could?

Griffiths’s mind came back to the room he nodded at the WPC to follow the suspect through to the bedroom, the clothes needed to be collected and bagged, they were vital evidence. 
The women gone Griffiths surveyed the scene. What was going on here? Was this really the man’s wife, or was it some hooker he’d hauled in off the street? Or maybe he’d married a hooker in the first place? Maybe they were playing some kind of sick game that had gone horribly fatally wrong? Griffiths had heard of couples role playing to the brink of death, not something that happened in his conjugal bed, the only rolling going on there was the missus rolling away from him. Anyway the stiff was fully dressed so that probably ruled that out.

A sniff stopped his mind from wandering further. Meryl Edwards had come back into the room, she looked completely different in her joggers and trainers, no longer a sexy minx just a short, sobbing, slightly overweight housewife in her forties although maybe younger. The WPC followed her in and subtly handed the bagged underwear to the forensic office. Griffiths sat Meryl down and tried to soften his voice again. He explained that she was being placed under arrest and that he had to get her down to the station where a specialist team would look after her for a bit. Meryl nodded her understanding and struggled to her feet again. Griffiths took a deep breath, took Meryl’s hand and headed into the bright glare of the television lights outside.

After he had got her into the car, he was left standing on the pavement alone, exposed like a lame wilderbeest. The questions came flying at him from the assembled pack of journos;
'Is he dead?'
'Can you confirm she killed him?'
'Are you looking for anyone else?'
'Why was she dressed in that way?'
'Can you confirm it was scissors what did it?'
Griffiths shook his head to signal he'd be making no comment and headed back into the house.

Part 2

In the house DC Jones was waiting for his boss - ready to show him the collection he’d found.
‘You might want to look at this guv,’ he said as the harrassed looking DI came back into the room.
Griffiths went over to Jones and looked at the pile of porn magazines the younger detective was flicking through.
‘Nothing illegal about having porn Jones,’ Griffiths was getting impatient.
‘I know boss but look, our suspect is in every other magazine.’
‘She was a model?’ Griffiths moved in closer and picked up a magazine.
‘Not exactly! The Readers’ Wives section, look.’ Jones pointed to four or five spreads and there she was, Mrs Edwards in various stages of undress.
‘I think in this one is our stiff too.’ Jones said with a smile, Griffiths looked him. ‘Excuse the pun boss.’
Griffiths looked and sure enough Mr Edwards also featured in the pages of Fiesta in the ‘One for the Ladies’ section.
‘How far do these date back?’ Griffiths asked feeling that stirring again as he looked at Mrs Edwards in white stockings and suspenders with nothing more than a smile.
‘Well 15 years I reckon boss.’
‘Do you think she looks happy in any of these photos, Jones?’
‘She’s smiling isn’t she?’
‘She’s smiling, pouting, licking her lips but that isn’t what I asked, is she happy?’
Jones shrugged his shoulders and went back to flicking through the other magazines.
Griffiths wandered away, lost in thought. ‘Bag them up Jones.’
Griffiths went back to the murder scene, where the SOCOs were just finishing up. As she had been dressed in those clothes, he guessed there had been another photo shoot planned or in progress.
‘Was there a camera here George?’
The SOCO looked up at the DI and pointed to a pile of polythene bags. ‘Yeah and a tripod, we bagged it.’
‘Mind if I take a look?’
‘Be my guest.’
Griffiths pulled on another pair of rubber gloves and looked at the camera but there was nothing on it. All the pictures had been wiped or uploaded to a PC.
‘Jones, make sure the PC is taken down the station too.’ Griffiths called up to his constable before deciding it was time to head back to the station.

‘Meryl, I am trying to help you here love, but you won’t say anything.’ Griffiths stretched out his arms, the gesture completing his sentence for him. ‘You say he didn’t beat you or molest you so why did you kill him.’  Griffiths was hopeless at this, he could deal with real crims, the scum, but this woman wasn’t scum, if anything she was the victim. He wished he had a female colleague but instead he was lumbered with Jones.
Meryl Edwards said nothing. The sobs had dried up and her face had hardened.
‘We know about the photo shoots’ try as he might Griffiths couldn’t get his voice to sound right. It was too harsh, patronising, too policemany. ‘Did he make you do them?’
But it was hopeless, Meryl had said all she was going to say.
Griffiths and Jones turned off the video camera, and left the room.
‘She’s got no defence boss. If he wasn’t beating her then she has no defence, just cold blooded murder.’

But Griffiths wasn’t so sure, there was more than one way to skin a cat. 

Part 3
‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Jones,’ said Griffiths ‘it’s not his fists he tormented her with. Come with me.’
Griffiths marched back into the interview room this time carrying a doll that he had picked up in the office. Just before they entered he whispered to Jones not to say a word.
He turned the video back on and announced their arrival. He then put the doll on the table in front of Meryl and sat quietly in the chair.
After a few minutes she picked up the toy and played with it, almost childlike in her movements, moving the arms and legs. Making the doll sit and stand.
Griffiths watched her for a while before he spoke.
‘Meryl do you know why we use that doll?’
She shook her head, still enchanted by the figure.
‘We usually give it to children,  we ask them to point to where their attacker hurt them. Where did your husband hurt you Meryl?’ Griffiths didn’t know it at the time but he had his voice tone exactly right.
Meryl put the doll down and stared at it, then after a few moments she picked it up again with her right hand and with left she pointed to the head.
Out of the corner of his eye Griffiths could sense Jones was desperate to say something. The DI moved his hand just slightly to let his colleague know he should keep stum.

‘There,’ she said it so quietly that Griffiths couldn’t be 100% sure she spoke.
‘There, every day, every week, every month, relentlessly, there, there, there.’ Her finger was stabbing the doll's head her voice still quiet but the words clearly enunciated.
‘It started out as fun, he liked me, wanted to take photos, just for us he said, he bought me underwear and made me feel sexy. God it was so long ago we used to have to go to a ‘special’ place to get the films developed. Then he wanted to send them into the stupid magazines. I didn’t want to but I said yes to make him happy. We won, £50, he used it to buy new underwear for me. But then it became an obsession for him, an obsession for him but a trap for me. I didn’t want to do it anymore but he insisted. He told me he’d show my friends the snaps, threatened to post a magazine through my mum’s letterbox. He had me.’ He voice was getting stronger. Griffiths had expected tears but there were none.
‘I knew he was showing his mates, they’d come round leering at me, making crude remarks like I was some kind of animal in a sex zoo but then came the insults, subtle at first,  things like oh this used to fit you but then, then he just came out and told me I was fat, fat and ugly. He’d dress me up like a whore and then call me names. If I tried to wear those clothes out in public, then I was sleazy, a slut. I wasn’t a human to him anymore, just a toy, like this fucking doll.’ She threw the doll on the table.
Jones’s mouth hung open. Griffiths tried to smile an encouraging, sympathetic smile. She picked the doll back up.
‘Recently he’d been on about making porn, I mean real porn - movies, him and me on film for one of them amateur websites. Being spread eagled in a magazine every other month was bad enough; I couldn’t walk down the street without being convinced people were whispering about me -there she goes, the slut from Fiesta. But video? On the internet? No way was I going to let him get me doing that.’
Meryl paused and took a swig of water.
‘Today he said that he was going to get the video camera, that today was the day. I said no but he did his usual shit, tell your friends, tell your mum, show the people in my work. I couldn’t take it. I said no but he just smiled at me, an evil, sinister, rapist’s smile. I snapped, he’s dead, send me to prison.’
Griffiths announced the interview was over and turned off the video. He had all he wanted, all her solicitor would need for her defence. The women’s libbers might still see him as public enemy number one but he’d sleep at night.

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