by Andrew Learmonth
The first thing to mention about the house is the house itself. It was a bungalow. The main door opened and led into a hallway. There were doors off this hallway. Three doors. One led to a living room. The other two led to bedrooms. If you followed the hallway round you would end up in the kitchen.
The dead body had been found in the living room.
There was blood everywhere. A big dried pool in the centre of the room and drops splashed up all four walls. Whatever had been the reason for the occupant’s death, it had been brutal.
I looked at God and said, “The police said there weren’t any suspicious circumstances?”
“I know.” said God. “They want you and everyone else to believe that this gentleman killed himself. That he simply took a large, blunt, heavy object to his face maybe 40 or 50 or 60 times”.
“That” said God “is the question of the detective. Look around and see what you can see and what you make of this man”.
God stood looking at the dried bloody pool as I started looking around. I felt God was testing me. I knew he had been in already. I wondered what he was hoping I would see and what conclusions I would come to.
It was then that I noticed the picture of pop star Michael Bublé on the wall. To call it a picture is an understatement. It was more a framed fresco. So big was the photograph that it took up almost one side of the wall.
Then I noticed the picture of Michael Bublé on the window sill and then the three pictures of Michael Bublé on the cabinet behind the sofa. And then I looked back into the hallway and saw picture after after picture of Michael Bublé. There must have been at 30 pictures of Michael Bublé in the hall alone.
“He liked Michael Bublé” I said to God.
“No. Look closer”.
So I did. I looked at the massive picture of Michael Bublé on the wall. In my head it was definitely Michael Bublé. That part of my brain that remembers the faces of famous people kicking about the general popular consciousness told me it was Bublé. But was it possible that the eyes weren’t quite right? Podgier face, a slightly higher cheek bone and eyes that verged more on the squinty than Bublé’s.
The more I looked at it the more it was like I was looking at a bad photo of Bublé. As if some paparazzi had snapped off hundreds of pictures in seconds and then given the owner of this house one of the ones where Bublés eyes were closing.
I looked at the other pictures. There were pictures of him performing. One was on a stage against the a black curtain. Just visible on the right hand side was a large jar with neon yellow card attached. I had to look really close but the neon yellow card said: Ellon Community Gala fund raising.
Not that I could be too sure without the aid of Google but surely Bublé had never played the small, north-eastern town of Ellon?
“It’s not Michael Bublé, is it God?”
“A lookalike? A tribute act?”
“According to this stash of letters his name was Robert Radcliffe. Do you have your phone there? Google him”
And there he was. No 1 in the search ranking:
Robert Radcliffe as Mickey Bubbles – Glasgow top Michael Bublé tribute act. Bublé in the pub, Bublé in the village hall, Bublé in the concert hall, Bublé in your kitchen. Micky Bubbles takes Bublé everywhere. Book him now!
“Wow. He was a Bublé tribute act. And you reckon he’s had his head smashed in? Who would do such a thing?” I asked God.
“Well, with deaths like these we have to ask who will benefit. Who benefits from one of Glasgow’s top Michael Bublé tribute acts being killed?”
I looked God square in the eye, “One of Glasgow’s other top Michael Bublé tribute acts.”
“Exactly.” He pointed to my phone. “Google. Who else is there?”
I searched the listings again, and there on page 4 of the results was an article from the Coatbridge Advertiser.
“Listen to this God:
“Coatbridge Detective Sergeant Danny Hoskins won £75 after coming second in the St Andrew’s arm Stars in Their Eyes contest as Michael Bublé. The 32 year old Homicide Detective said that it was a dream come true to be finally recognised for his voice”
“Incredible” said God.
“Now we’re starting to understand why there are no ‘suspicious circumstances’ surrounding Robert Radcliffe’s death.”
Suddenly behind me the door to the living room opened. There was a shout of “what the hell” and the beam of a torchlight.
“Who the fuck are you?” said a gruff voice. I looked at God. He shrugged.
“I’m Andrew Learmonth. I’m a detective”
The man lowered the torch
“No you’re not” he said. “I’m a detective.” He walked into the light and there, unmistakably were the Bublé-like features of singing policeman, Donny Hosking.
End of part three
Other parts of ‘The Case of the Red Cup’ are available here.