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Chapter 5

The Murder Bag

… The temperature was just kept above zero in here. Beyond an impatience to get started, I felt nothing when I looked at the bodies. Their spirits had flown. Now there were just the living in this freezing room, and two brutalised empty husks.

I shuddered.

‘The four questions of death, ‘Elsa Olsen continued. ‘Cause? Mechanism? Manner? Time?’ She smiled pleasantly. ‘Death’s fifth and final question – who? – I leave to you gentlemen.’ A smile for DI Whitestone. ‘Andy lady.’

Elsa stepped between the two steel tables.

‘Cause of death for both men was suffocation,’ she said.

Mallroy said, ‘They didn’t bleed to death?’

Elsa shook her head. ‘The single wound to the neck caused a massive haemorrhage. Death would have been quick, quiet and messy. An initial spray, perhaps several, as the artery was cut and then massive bleeding. As you noted, DCI Mallory, the trachea was severed, so screaming was a physical impossibility – there was nothing left to scream with. But it wasn’t just the trachea that was cut. The carotid artery was also severed along with the jugular vein. Death would have been almost immediate, but neither man had the chance to bleed to death. They suffocated before they had the chance to bleed out.’

'We don't have a weapon,' Mallory said. 'We don't even have an idea of a weapon. What kind of blade can cut a throat like that, Elsa?'…