Mrs Jane Crispin is a local character who lives in a little detached house on the edge of town. Although in her 60s, she is still hale and hearty despite the handicap of her blindness (exceptionally near sighted, she only sees blurred colours through her milk-bottle lensed glasses). She makes a modest living selling the product of her labours in her well-equipped kitchen. All across town her pies are famous for theirwonderful pastry and delicately herb-flavoured meats.
However, horror stalks the town at night. Senior citizens are slain in their beds or disappear in the night, never to be seen again. The bodies left at the crime scene are mutilated horribly, missing limbs and organs. The authorities have been unable to keep the murders from public knowledge, but they have been able to conceal the fact that they have been occuring sporadically for over a year!
The glare of the media spotlight has forced the police to institute a manhunt, and they have no manpower to spare to chase a new (although very slim) lead. Their lead comes from Mrs Crispin, who has reported a strange man hanging around her herb garden. Under normal circumstances such a report form a blind old lady would receive little attention, but with a maniac on the loose, things are different. Independent, discrete and trusted persons may be able to assist the police by looking into the matter.
Talking to Mrs Crispin brings unexpected results. She is very sorry to have disturbed the police, but she is fine really. The stranger is no longer a stranger, but a new friend whom, at first, she mistook for a potential thief. Her friend George is a shy type not easily traced. She doesn't know where he lives, but he helps her around the house and garden, and does errands for her.
1 Mrs Crispin is being stalked by George the homicidal odd-job man. His modus operandi involves befriending his victims to lull them into a false sense of security. He also gets a thrill from the stalking. George is a genuine gardener (or social worker), real name Henry George Baird. He lives out his twisted dark fantasies by killing the pathetic senior citizens upon whom he depends for his living.
George lives with his innocent Christian wife Mary, an organiser of church fetes and charities. Mary provides many of his initial contacts. George and Mary are childless due to George's impotence, one of the factors which has sent him over the edge. George has an extensive collection of tools such as scythes, hammers, axes, saws, a furnace, a nondescript van, and a good sized garage next to his rose garden.
2 Mrs Crispin's new friend George is a ghoul who moved to town in the last year or so. He has been unable to let go of the world of man, and can often be seen raking through garbage bins and scounging. Unless scrutinised carefully he appears to be just another homeless person. Naturally he is quite sneaky and very good at moving around unobserved. George and Mrs Crispin met by accident when George was attracted to the smell of her cooking. As Mrs Crispin couldn't see him, George found it easy to make friends with her. George has started running small errands, but he keeps the money that he should spend on butcher meat and subtitutes the best cuts from his victims. Forensic examination of remains has identified odd partly-human bite wounds on the victims, but this has not been made public and will only be divulged after much bureaucratic maneuvering.
Mrs Crispin's usual butcher Andrew Cross drops the clue that the amount of meat he supplies her has decreased in recent weeks (as the rate of murders has increased). The distributor of her pies, Norman Kent, is most pleased at how well Mrs Crispins' pies are selling, and is due to call on her to ask if she can increase her output.
Norman may unwittingly become the ingredient for her next batch!
3 Mrs Crispin is a homicidal cannibal who has been doing a nice line in long pig pies for over a year. She is inhumanly strong due to her unnatural diet and, although blind, has the senses of a bat. She is very adept with her old-fashioned razor sharp butchers knives. The offal from her victims helps her herbs and vegetables to grow rapidly. Mrs Crispin selects her victims during her bi-weekly visits to the Womens Guild and senior citizens outings. George is a relative of one of her victims who met her just before his own mother Eleanor Trent was killed. He feels sorry for the blind old lady and is working out his grief (and suppressed guilt at having left his mother alone to be killed) by looking after Mrs Crispin.
He should be looking after himself.
Copyright (c) 1997 Peter Devlin