Chapter 13 – The murderer is revealed
“You want to know why I have gathered you all here together?” announced McBiscuit when the puzzled assembly had taken their places in the bar of Tolka Park. “It is simply this, my friends. I intend to reveal the identity of the fiendish murderer who perpetrated these...these...fiendish murders.”
There was an audible gasp of breath from the people sitting at the tables, followed closely by an audible exhalation of breath. Then there was another gasp of breath. This could have gone on all night but McBiscuit held up a restraining hand.
“Murder number one,” he announced. “John Clapper found beneath the roller at Tolka Park. Murder number two, Quasimodo O’Shaughnessy force fed lumps of gravel. Murder number four...”
“Three, sir,” whispered the constable at his side.
“Thank you, constable,” purred the detective, producing a ruler and measuring the constable’s height. “I just wanted to make sure you were on your toes. Murder number three, Miroslav Kampanolojyzt, skewered through the heart by a corner flag. One anonymous letter. One dead groundsman. Now gentlemen, what does all this add up to?”
Slowly, at the back of the room, a hand went up.
“Er, five?” said a hesitant voice.
“Exactly!” continued McBiscuit. All eyes were on him. He looks like a peacock, thought the constable idly, doing a quick piece of embroidery.
“It is clear to me,” went on McBiscuit, clasping his room behind his back and pacing his hands, “that somebody has a grudge against Shelbourne Football Club, a grudge so bitter and so deep that they were prepared to commit three murders, drive a groundsman to suicide and cut up an edition of Nuts. Now, I asked myself, who could possibly bear a grudge so deep that they would be prepared to desecrate a fine cultural magazine simply to try and destroy a football club?”
Among the assembly, eyes darted sideways until they got fed up and returned to their rightful owners. Liam Buckley combed his hair nervously; Pat Dolan studied the bar menu intently; Roddie Collins tried to work out how many tins of matt vinyl it would take to do one wall; Trevor Molloy tried to concentrate on his disallowed goal against Hibernians of Malta (a thought that never ceased to warm his heart); the population of Limerick made sure their knives were in their inside pockets.
McBiscuit stopped in front of a man wearing a false nose, glasses and a dark curly wig. “You, sir,” he cooed. “You have an interest in this case, no?”
In response, the man jumped up and made a dash for the exit but he was intercepted by a plain clothes policeman and a fancy clothes policeman. McBiscuit strode up to him and tore off the wig and dark glasses.
“Ow! That’s my real nose!” he wailed.
There were more gasps of astonishment from the assembled crowd as the familiar face glared angrily around the room.
“Drat! I’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids,” he spat, a remark which caused a lot of bewilderment in the room.
“John Delaney, I am arresting you for crimes against hairdressing,” cautioned McBiscuit. “You don’t have to say anything but we’ll be writing your confession anyway, so it doesn’t really matter one way or the other.”
“You’ll never take me alive, copper,” came the growled answer which, again, caused a lot of consternation among the gathering
“How did you ascertain that the suspect was indeed the perpetrator of these effusive, nay, choreographed homicides, detective inspector?” asked an anonymous former Shelbourne manager after the Waterford serial killer had been led away.
“It was simple,” replied McBiscuit. “One only had to see the punishment meted out to Shels for financial shortcomings and then compare them to the leniency shown to other clubs subsequently. It was clear to me, right from the very start that there was an orchestrated campaign to destroy Shelbourne Football Club and it came from the very top.”
“Three cheers for DI McBiscuit!” shouted somebody and the place erupted in a maelstrom of flag-waving and badger baiting. They hoisted the policeman onto their shoulders until they remembered his flatulence problem and put him down again very quickly.
Standing at the back of the room, unimpressed by the unconfined joy all around him, the constable glanced morosely at the League table.
“Now, if we could only get out of this bloody division,” he muttered.