The murder weapon, a sword, was still lodged in the victim’s body, yet there was no blood & cause of death was given as asphyxia.
“What’s that meant to be when it’s at home?” asked DI Stafford. He was in a bad mood. Why was he always the one they came to with these peculiar, twisted murders? “I can never tell with these things.”
“Well, it’s not a giraffe,” said DS Ringer. “And I don’t think it’s a flower. Must be a sword.”
“How on earth did they get it down his gullet?”
“Doc thinks the perp must have introduced it when it was partially inflated. The victim was probably asleep at the time. He may have been given sleeping tablets, or some kind of relaxant. We’re awaiting the results of the medical examination. Anyhow, the balloon was inflated enough for the killer to force it partway down his throat. Then it was inflated fully once in place. The sword handle was probably sculpted post-mortem.”
“What kind of sick -”
“His girlfriend is a children’s entertainer, guv.”
Stafford shook his head in grim resignation. His bad mood deepened. There was only one thing he hated more than children’s entertainers, and that was murderous children’s entertainers. “Have we spoken to her?”
“Not yet, sir. She done a bunk.” Ringer avoided Stafford’s gaze, as if embarrassed. “Last seen floating away in a hot air balloon,” he added.
“Couldn’t they just track it in a helicopter and have a car waiting where she puts down. It has to put down somewhere.”
“Well, this is the thing, guv. It turned into an aeroplane in mid air. There’s no one like her for balloon sculpting, apparently.”
DI Stafford’s eyes bulged. “Are you having me on?”
“All right,” said Ringer. “I made up the bit about it turning into an aeroplane. I just wanted to cheer you up.”
“Well, it didn’t work,” said Stafford.