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Authors: Graham Ison

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Hardcastle's Frustration

Table of Contents

Recent Titles by Graham Ison from Severn House

Title Page

Copyright

Glossary

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Recent Titles by Graham Ison from Severn House
The Hardcastle Series

HARDCASTLE'S SPY

HARDCASTLE'S ARMISTICE

HARDCASTLE'S CONSPIRACY

HARDCASTLE'S AIRMEN

HARDCASTLE'S ACTRESS

HARDCASTLE'S BURGLAR

HARDCASTLE'S MANDARIN

HARDCASTLE'S SOLDIERS

HARDCASTLE'S OBSESSION

HARDCASTLE'S FRUSTRATION

 
 
Contemporary Police Procedurals

ALL QUIET ON ARRIVAL

BREACH OF PRIVILEGE

DIVISION

DRUMFIRE

JACK IN THE BOX

KICKING THE AIR

LIGHT FANTASTIC

LOST OR FOUND

WHIPLASH

WHISPERING GRASS

WORKING GIRL

HARDCASTLE'S FRUSTRATION
Graham Ison

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 
 

First world edition published 2012

in Great Britain and in the USA by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of

9–15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.

Copyright © 2012 by Graham Ison.

All rights reserved.

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Ison, Graham.

Hardcastle's frustration.

1. Hardcastle, Ernest (Fictitious character)–Fiction.

2. Police–England–London–Fiction. 3. Great Britain–

History–George V, 1910-1936–Fiction. 4. Detective and

mystery stories.

I. Title

823.9'14-dc23

ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-281-8 (Epub)

ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8171-7 (cased)

ISBN-13: 978-1-84751-431-8 (trade paper)

Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.

This ebook produced by

Palimpsest Book Production Limited,

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

GLOSSARY

A FROM A BULL'S FOOT, to know:
to know nothing.

ACT UP:
temporarily to assume the role of a higher rank while the substantive holder is on leave or sick.

ALBERT:
a watch chain of the type worn by Albert, Prince Consort (1819–61).

ALL MY EYE AND BETTY MARTIN:
nonsense.

ANDREW:
Slang term for the Royal Navy.

APM
: assistant provost marshal (a lieutenant colonel of the military police).

BAILEY, the:
Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London.

BEF:
British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders.

BLIGHTY:
the United Kingdom.

BLIGHTY ONE:
a wound suffered in battle that necessitated repatriation to the United Kingdom.

BUCK HOUSE:
Buckingham Palace.

COUGH to:
to confess.

DABS:
fingerprints.

DARTMOOR:
a remote prison on Dartmoor in Devon.

DDI:
Divisional Detective Inspector.

DIP a:
a pickpocket.

DOGBERRY:
a watchman (
ex
Shakespeare).

DRUM:
a dwelling house, or room therein. Any place of abode.

FEEL THE COLLAR, to:
to make an arrest.

FOURPENNY CANNON, a:
a steak and kidney pie.

FRONT, The:
theatre of WW1 operations in France and Flanders.

GLIM:
a look (a foreshortening of ‘glimpse').

GUV
or
GUV'NOR:
informal alternative to ‘sir'.

JIG-A-JIG:
sexual intercourse.

KC:
King's Counsel: a senior barrister.

KATE CARNEY:
army (rhyming slang: from Kate Carney, a music hall comedienne of the late 19th early 20th century).

KNOCKING SHOP:
a brothel.

LONG BOW, to draw the:
to exaggerate
or
to tell unbelievable stories.

MI5:
internal counter-espionage organization.

MONS, to make a:
to make a mess of things, as in the disastrous Battle of Mons in 1914.

NICK:
a police station
or
prison
or
to arrest
or
to steal.

NICKED:
arrested
or
stolen.

NOT PYGMALION LIKELY:
a euphemism for ‘not bloody likely', from George Bernard Shaw's play
Pygmalion
.

OLD BAILEY:
Central Criminal Court, in Old Bailey, London.

ON THE GAME:
leading a life of prostitution.

POLICE GAZETTE:
official nationwide publication listing wanted persons, etc.

PROVOST, the:
military police.

QUID:
£1 sterling.

RAGTIME GIRL:
a sweetheart; a girl with whom one has a joyous time; a harlot.

RECEIVER, The:
senior Scotland Yard official responsible for the finances of the Metropolitan Police.

ROZZER:
a policeman.

SAM BROWNE:
a military officer's belt with shoulder strap.

SKIP
or
SKIPPER:
an informal police alternative to station-sergeant, clerk-sergeant and sergeant.

SLÀINTE:
(
slän'cha
) Gaelic salutation for ‘Good health'.

SLING ONE'S HOOK, to:
to run away, hastily or secretly.

STAGE-DOOR JOHNNY:
young man frequenting theatres in an attempt to make the acquaintance of actresses.

SUB:
Police shorthand for sub-divisional inspector, the officer in charge of a subdivision.

TOPPED:
murdered or hanged.

TOPPING:
a murder or hanging.

WAR HOUSE:
army officers' slang for the War Office.

WAR OFFICE:
Department of State overseeing the army. (Now a part of the Ministry of Defence.)

WIPERS:
Army slang for Ypres in Belgium, scene of several fierce Great War battles.

ONE

T
he detectives' office in Cannon Row police station, in a turning off Whitehall in London, was thick with tobacco smoke on that Monday morning at the beginning of March 1918. The police station and New Scotland Yard opposite had been erected 28 years previously to the plans of Norman Shaw and constructed, fittingly, from Dartmoor granite hewn by convicts from the nearby prison.

All the windows in the office were firmly closed and the only heating came from a solitary and inadequate smoky fire. However, the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District was obliged to be parsimonious in his capacity as controller of the Force's finances, and spent no more on the comfort of junior police officers than met the minimum requirements. The thinking of the hierarchy was that such officers should be out on the street, not languishing in their offices.

In this stark and essentially functional room, four or five detectives were seated around a long wooden table, each working on reports, applications for warrants and all the other paperwork that was a necessary part of a CID officer's lot. There was, however, only one typewriter in the office, and fewer chairs than there were detectives, a state of affairs that was regarded by the senior officers as an incentive for their juniors to arrive early.

Close to the door of the office, Detective Sergeant (First Class) Charles Marriott, being the senior officer in the room, was privileged to have his own desk. This morning he was drafting a complicated report that would eventually find its way to the office of the Solicitor to the Metropolitan Police and thence to the Director of Public Prosecutions. But it was not proving easy, and several times, he had begun it again. In common with other detectives, Marriott had often thought that it was easier to solve a crime than to commit the details to paper afterwards.

‘Excuse me, Sergeant.' The young uniformed constable on station duty hovered in the doorway.

‘Yes, what is it now?' asked Marriott, throwing down his pen in exasperation and heaving a sigh. ‘And don't tell me you're applying to become a detective. Take it from me, it's not worth the trouble.'

‘No, Sergeant, it's this message that's just come in from Thames Division.' The PC crossed to Marriott's desk and handed over a form.

Marriott quickly scanned the brief missive. ‘All right, leave it with me,' he said, standing up and dismissing the constable with a wave of his hand. He buttoned his waistcoat and donned his jacket. Crossing the narrow corridor, he tapped on the divisional detective inspector's door and entered.

‘What is it, Marriott?' DDI Ernest Hardcastle, head of the CID for the A or Whitehall Division, looked up with an expression of annoyance at having been interrupted. He too was engaged in writing a difficult report about ex-Inspector John Syme that would eventually find its way to the Commissioner. Since 1910, Syme had held a continuing, and often violent, grudge against the Metropolitan Police for his reduction in rank and subsequent dismissal for a variety of disciplinary offences. At nine o'clock last Saturday evening, he had been arrested, yet again, outside Buckingham Palace with a brick in his hand. Syme, who would throw a brick through any government window he could find, including 10 Downing Street, had been charged with intent to commit malicious damage and would appear later that morning at Bow Street police court. It was unfortunate for Hardcastle that most of Syme's protests were conducted on A Division, and that it fell to him to be the one writing the reports.

‘A Thames Division crew from Waterloo Pier has reported dredging up a male body, sir.'

‘Waterloo Pier's on E Division, Bow Street's patch. What the hell's that got to do with us?' demanded Hardcastle, placing his pipe in the ashtray.

‘It was found floating near one of the uprights of Westminster Bridge on our side of the river, sir.'

‘Well, if he committed suicide it's not a crime, Marriott,' said Hardcastle. ‘You should know that you can't prosecute a dead man. Only
attempted
suicide's a crime,' he added archly. ‘A successful suicide's not a matter for the CID.'

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