They say that at night, in the flash of the police photographer’s camera, all bodies are the same. But the moment I walked down the filthy alleyway behind Shepherd’s Bush, I knew that this one was not.
The dead man’s name was Reginald Parker-Jones, and I’d quickly checked him out. Educated at Eton, three times divorced, he’d gone to work in his father’s bank. When the bank went bust, he’d left with a million pound pay-off. He drove a Porsche with a personalised number plate and had three homes – in Knightsbridge, Kent and Kenya. KKK.
In Who’s Who, he’d written that he supported wind farms (he’d allowed one to be built on his estate in Kent) and that he enjoyed the films of Richard Curtis.
Later, he’d become a Conservative MP. He was anti-immigration and anti-gay and wrote a weekly column with his views in the Daily Mail, but he’d lost everything when he’d been accused of molesting a twelve-year-old boy called Mohammed. Parker had hired the best barristers and the trial had collapsed. After that, he’d gone on Celebrity Big Brother. He’d first become famous when he shouted out the name of the killer during a performance of The Mousetrap. He played golf at the Royal & Ancient and actively supported its ban on women. He was the consultant for a Japanese whaling company. He was well known for his eccentric appearance – the tweed suit, the monocle, the deerstalker cap and the diamond-studded Rolex.
He had been stabbed three hundred times.
They wanted me to take the case and it was true I needed the work. But somehow, this time, I thought there would be too many suspects and, at the end of the day, who really cared?
I walked out of the alleyway and went back to bed.
Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz is out now (Walker Books)
(Illustration: Edward Tuckwell)