The two detectives paused, while a constable held up the police bunting for them to duck underneath. The little chequered octagons (‘those darling little octoidals are so this year’) hung limply in the airless glade, the heat oppressive. Detective constable Susan Glow hissed, ‘Geez,’ as her eyes adjusted to the gloom and she saw the asymmetric pieces of material draped over the branches. ‘Another one.’
Detective Sergeant George Corduroy sighed. Was this really what got his colleagues so vexed? A sodding washing line? This secondment was a total waste of space. He heard DI Ulysses Trombone’s voice intoning, ‘Don’t be so precious George. It’s part of the multi agency cooperation thingy. Do this right and you’ll make inspector.’
While George hung back Susan allowed herself to be fitted with a mid calf Scene of Crime suit in a diamond pattern with pointy collar. A constable held a mirror while the makeup assistant touched up her eyes. She pulled on the satin-latex gloves and joined the two men in matching cerise and gold one pieces eyeing up the cloth strips.
‘Who are those guys?’ George asked the constable.
‘Textilistic Scientists. Checking for the provenance of the pieces.’ She glanced around to see if anyone was listening. ‘I’m sure they’re Gucci. It makes sense. Part of the bastard’s pattern.’
The woman PC looked irritated. ‘It was part of yesterday’s briefing.’
George shrugged. Another chance for a snooze, he’d thought.
‘London Fashion Week. The first major show was Prada, then Tommy H, then Mizani and Gucci. If it continues…’ she stopped and glanced anxiously at DC Glow who had taken an evidence bag containing what looked, to George, like a rather tired hanky, and was carrying it with exaggerated care towards where he stood. A tear slipped down her cheek.
The constable stepped forward and offered Susan a supporting arm. ‘Hey, it’ll be ok? What…?’ Her voice tailed off. ‘Is it Gucci?’
Susan nodded, holding up the bag. ‘Naomi wore this, the show’s masterpiece, a homage to McQueen.’ She turned to where George stood, fury in her expression. ‘Do you now see? This is what we have to put up with in the Fashion Police. The worst kind of son of a bitch.’
‘What does this all mean? It’s just some hem or something.’
She spoke slowly. ‘It’s not just any old hem. It’s been systematically slashed. I’ll tell you what this means, George. It means we’re dealing with a serial rippest. Bastard.’