INSPECTOR D’WARD JAVERT in:
THE CASE OF THE ISLAND CONNECTION
There’s a serial killer loose on the streets of London. The police can’t find a single clue as to who it might be or what the connection is between the victims. Only one man can possibly solve the case. The greatest detective of all time...Inspector D’WARD Javert.
That’s me, and I’m on the case. This should prove to be quite a difficult case. Two days ago, I got a call from a colleague of mine in London. He gave me a few details, and I flew in from Paris. Since then, I’ve been studying everything that is known so far, which isn’t much. The victims were all around 30, give or take a few years. There have been five murders so far. There is no apparent connection between them. But I’ll find the connection. After all, I am D’WARD Javert.
I started by talking to the first victim’s parents. I drove up to the house and rang the bell. A woman greeted me at the door.
“Good afternoon, ma’am. I’m Inspector Javert. I’ve been called in to work on this case. I’m sorry to bother you, but-”
“No, of course, come in, Inspector.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
As I walked in and took off my hat, I said, “I really should get right to the point of my visit. I want to talk to you about your son. I’m trying to find a connection between him and the others. Is there anything you can tell me about him, maybe something you forgot to tell the police?”
“No, I can’t think of anything.”
“It might not have been anything recent. Some experience they might have shared. Perhaps in their childhood. Maybe they all went to camp together, or-”
“No. He never went to camp. In fact, he’s lived a rather dull life. Still, if I do think of anything, I’ll get in contact with you.”
“Thank you. Well then, I guess I can be leaving. Good bye.”
“Good bye, Inspector.”
As I drove away, it seemed there was something she wasn’t telling me, but I knew I couldn’t force her to tell me anything.
Next, I visited the second victim’s family. The door opened, I took off my hat and said, “Good evening. I’m Inspector Javert. I wondered if I could talk to you about your son.”
“Well, it is getting rather late, and I was about to retire for the evening, but I suppose so.”
“Thank you. I must find some link between the victims. It might be from their childhood.”
“Well, give me a minute to think about it.”
As I waited, I thought that this was good; at least he’s thinking about it. Of course, he could just be trying not to arouse my suspicion, but-
“I’m sorry, but I can’t think of anything. Actually, he led a very average life.”
“I see. Well, thank you for your time. If you think of anything, please call me. Good night.”
“Good night, Inspector.”
Later that night, I discussed the case with the associate I mentioned earlier, Victor Christien, with whom I was staying while in London. “I don’t know, Vic. I’m sure there’s a link, and I think that the families may well know what it is. But I can’t think why they wouldn’t tell me. Any ideas?”
“Sorry, D’WARD, can’t think of a thing. That’s why I called you in. Well, maybe there is no link. After all, this is a serial killer. Maybe he’s just mad. And I’m rather glad I can’t think like a madman.”
“Mad, yes, but surely there’s a method to his madness. We don’t have to understand his madness so much as his method.”
“Of course. It’s just that it’s much easier to follow the method of a sane man than an insane man.”
“Yes, I suppose---of course! That’s it!”
“What are you talking about, D’WARD? What’s it?”
“Follow the method of sane people, namely, the families of the victims. They all basically said that the victims had led very normal, average, even boring lives. Most of them without even stopping to think about their answers.”
“Well, I’m sure they’ve spent plenty of time thinking about it, trying to make some sense of it all, to-”
“Exactly, Vic. They’ve all thought about it, and they’ve all come up with the same answer. Something they’d rather not think about or have made public.”
“Well, what’s the answer?”
“I don’t know yet. But I’ll find out. For now, though, it’s getting late, so I’ll be going to bed. The little grey cells need their rest, as our Belgian friend would say, eh?”
“Good night, D’WARD. I’ll just catch the late news before retiring myself.”
“Good night, Vic.” I went upstairs to my room. I was preparing for bed, when Vic shouted to me.
“D’WARD, come look at this!”
When I got down to the living room, there was a story on the news- another killing. We watched until the segment was over, then we retired for the evening.
The next morning, we talked about the latest murder over breakfast. “I can’t believe it, Vic. I come here to stop this killer, and another muder takes place before I can do anything.”
“Come, now, D’WARD, no one expects you to solve a case like this in one day.”
“I know, but still, it’s terribly upsetting.”
“Of course it is, but there are always going to be many murders in this world, and you won’t be able to solve them all.”
“But I will stop this murderer from killing again. Well, I guess I’ve got another family to interview. I should get going. See you, Vic.”
I arrived at the house of the latest victim’s parents. Chief Inspector Hass of the London police was there. “Good morning, Hass.”
“Ah, Javert. I guess I should’ve been expecting you. I didn’t know you were in town, but you do so often show up when-”
“Nice to see you, too. Have you spoken to the family yet?”
“Not yet. The officers on the scene last night took some preliminary statements, and I was just about to follow up. You can come with me if you-”
“So are you just going to stand there jabbering, or are we going to go talk to them?” I said, starting to walk off toward the house.
Hass stood there for a moment and mumbled under his breath, “Yes, always a pleasure to see you, D’WARD. So good of you to drop in.” He sighed, “Oh well,” and ran to catch up to me.
I rang the bell, and when a woman came to the door, I began to greet her. I was interrupted by Hass.
“Good morning, ma’am. Sorry to trouble you. I’m Chief Inspector Hass. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“Certainly, Inspector, but I don’t know how much help I can offer. I’ve been up all night thinking, and I really can’t imagine why anyone would do this.”
“I understand. But we believe the killer is insane. His reason might be something you or I wouldn’t see as a cause to kill anyone.”
“Of course. But I can’t think of anything. Perce has never even been in any fight, or had any quarrels with anyone. His life was actually somewhat dull. He worked as an operator for the phone company.”
“Perhaps it wasn’t anything from his recent life, Mrs. Madison,” I interjected. “It could have been something from his childhood.”
“Well, actually, there was one event in his life that was rather out of the ordinary. It happened when he was seven. But that was such a long time ago. How could it possibly have anything to do with this?”
“Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it does. You never know. So maybe you could tell us about it, if it isn’t too much trouble?”
“Well, during the war the government evacuated many children here in London. The plane Perce was on was attacked by Germans and crashed on a little island maybe a few hundred miles off the coast. A bunch of boys were stranded there for months. Perce never talked about it. I guess he blocked it out. Since I knew how painful the experience was for him, I never asked him about it. All I know is what the officer who found the boys told me, and what I read about it in the paper. The boys kept a signal fire going. An officer on a patrol ship eventually spotted the fire. The crew picked up the boys and brought them home. Three of the boys on the plane had died in the crash, along with the pilot. I guess the whole ordeal was enough to make Perce and the others want to just forget the whole expecience. But we’ve never talked about any of this, and he’s always been fine. I don’t see how this could relate to his murder.”
“As I said, perhaps it doesn’t. But you never know what may prove to be helpful. Thank you, Mrs. Madison.”
Hass said, “If you think of anything that you think might be of help, please contact me.”
“I will, Inspector.”
We excused ourselves. Outside, Hass and I talked.
“Do you think that crash could really have something to do with this case, Javert?”
“You never know, Inspector. Well, good day.”
I went to the library to chck the newspapers. I finally found one brief article about the rescue:
An officer on a patrol ship recently spotted
a signal fire on a small island several hundred
miles off the coast. Upon investigation, he
found a group of yong children, who had been
stranded there for several months. During the
German blitz-krieg of London, they had been
on an evacuation plane, which was attacked and
crashed. Three children and the pilot died in the crash.
The rest of the children survived and maintained a
The article didn’t name any of the children, but it did give the name of the officer who found the children. Luckily, I was able to locate him.
“Well, they were all very glad to be rescued, of course. None of them wanted to talk about their time on the island. They did a lot of crying, but that was fairly natural, I suppose, considering all they’d been through.
“Oh, I did notice that one of them tended to stay away from the others during the voyage home. I think he was the oldest of the children. They only ones he talked to at all were a pair of twins perhaps a couple of years younger than himself. But mostly, he just kept to himself. He spent most of the time mumbling about being chief, keeping the fire going, and I think he mentioned some kind of shell. A couple of times, eh just screamed out names. One was Simon, and the other, I think, was Piggy. I really don’t know what any of it was about. Maybe the heat had gotten to him, or maybe the lack of food and water. Maybe the whole ordeal. I don’t know. Of course they really wreen’t on the ship long. I probably wouldn’t remember much of any of this if I hadn’t kept a journal. I’ve kept one since I was about 10.”
“Could you tell me the name of the boy you were talking about?”
“Actually, I don’t think I ever heard his name. I surely would’ve put it in my journal if I had. But I think someone made a listing of their names when we got back, to find out where they belonged. We checked it against a list of the boys on the crashed plane. Three of the names on the original list were absent from the list of survivors. No one ever found their bodies, so it was assumed they died in the crash. Their deaths were reported to their families. Simon was one of the boys who had died. I suppose “Piggy” was probably a nickname for one of the other missing boys. The deaths of these three boys would certainly have contributed to the state he was in.”
“Yes, I suppose so. Do you have copy of the list of boys?”
“No, but I can obtain one for you.”
“Thank you, that’ll be a big help.”
We got a list, and I made a copy for myself. I discovered who the boy in question was. His name was Ralph. I found out where he worked, and I paid him a visit.
“Excuse me. I’m Inspector Javert. I’m investigating a murder case. I wondered if I could ask you a few questions.”
“Sure, if I can help. But I don’t think I know anything about any murders.”
“I’ve been trying to establish a connection between the victims of these murders. I’ve found that everyone who’s been murdered so far was on an island with you about 20 years ago. Could you tell me about the time you spent on the island?”
“Well, I’d rather not think about it. And it’s been 20 years; I’m not sure how much I’d remember anyway.”
“It must have been a somewhat traumatic time for you. I’d think you would remember it fairly well.”
“Well, OK, I’ll tell you what I can. On the island I was elected chief. I had a friend whom we all called Piggy. Actually, I never learned his real name. He was the smartest boy on the island. I relied on him a lot. He came up with the idea for the signal fire. We all tried to keep the fire going, so we could be rescued.
“There was another boy, Jack, who ran against me for chief. He was always upset about having lost. He grew to hate me. I think it was Piggy who first pointed that out to me. Jack hated Piggy, too. Myabe even worse than he hated me. Anyway, Jack was the leader of the hunters for the group.
“There was another boy, Simon. He was different. We all thought he was rather batty. Eventually, Jack and his hunters left and formed a new tribe with Jack as their chief. They got meat, and others started joining them. They started turning wild. One night there as a big storm, and wild dancing, and Simon stumbled out of the forest in the dark, and they were dancing and going wild, and they thought he was the beast and they-”
“Oh. ...Yes. Some of us thought...in the end we all kind of thought that there was a beast of some kind on the island. We were all afraid of the beast, except maybe Simon. I think he knew something about the beast that the rest of us didn’t. Anyway, that night, everything was wild, and they thought he was the beast, and in all the confusion, they...killed him.
“And later, they stole Piggy’s glasses. He needed them. In fact, he could hardly see at all without them. They stole his glasses partly for fire-we focused the sun with them-and partly, I think, out of pure malice. We went to get them back. But instead, Jack’s tribe ended up killing Piggy and then began hunting me. I was the only one left outside of Jack’s group. They would’ve killed me, if that ship’s officer hadn’t appeared just when he did.
“Do you think it could be Jack committing these murders you’re investigating?”
“It very well could be. I guess I’ll have to pay this Jack a visit and find out. Thank you for your help.”
Vic, Hass, a group of his men, and I went to Jack Merridew’s home. He opened the door, and was surprised to see us. But he seemed more annoyed than scared.
“What is all this? What do you want with me?”
“I’m Inspector Javert. And you are Jack Merridew?”
“You’re a suspect in a serial murder case.”
“What?! I didn’t kill anybody!”
“Perhaps not. We’ll have to find out.”
“Wait, why do you suspect me?”
“The island, twenty years ago. Simon. Piggy.”
“What? ...Oh. I thought all that was long over. I’ve been trying to forget about it for 20 years. It was terrible. It’s been horrible having to live with it. I managed to push it out of my mind, after a few years. But it still hurts to think about all that happened. I wish it hadn’t. It would be impossible for me to kill anyone. After all that, I’m appalled by murder; even the thought of it makes me shudder. I just don’t want to think about the island, or any of it.”
“I’m sure the murderer is one of the survivors, as all the victims are survivors of the island. And right now you’re my prime suspect.”
“Well, it isn’t me. Put me in jail. There’ll be another murder, and then you’ll see.”
“Well, come on then. We’ll see if there are any more murders or not. In the meantime, I’ll be questioning the other survivors.”
While Merridew was in custody, I did look for the others. I falked to the twins, Sam and Eric, as well as several others. I learned what Merridew’s tribe had been like. The twins had been impressed into the tribe. They were scared, and they knew they had to be loyal. If they didn’t, they could’ve been beaten or killed. They said they had been scared of Jack, but not as much as they were scared of another boy named Roger.
I went with Vic, Hass, and his men to this Roger’s house. He wasn’t there, so we waited. While we were there, Hass got a call. There had been another murder. Half an hour later, Roger arrived. When he saw us, he ran, but we quickly caught him.
It wasn’t very difficult to prove him guilty after that. But it was even easier for the defense to prove him quite insane. Merridew was released, of course, and Roger was put into a maximum security prison for the criminally insane.
And I returned home to Paris. My secretery suggested I take a vacation, to have a little rest after the case. Maybe to some small island, just off the coast...