Welcome to J.J.’s Chapter-by-Chapter Extravaganza Fog of Doubt Edition part 2! If you’ve only just arrived, J.J. of The Invisible Event had a cunning plan – read a mystery and write one’s thoughts chapter by chapter. Guessing the ending before it is revealed preferably, but just as likely looking like a dope. It’s a bit of a hassle stopping each chapter, but it’s a fun exercise and I did it with The Red Widow Murders previously. These posts are, of necessity, chock full of spoilers. You can read the previous post which has the first six chapters probably without spoiling too much, but probably more entertaining to read Brand’s Fog of Doubt and then see how far wrong I go. It is also called London Peculiar, a Dickensian name for London’s famous fogs, which were really smog, but nevermind. Onward. You’ve been warned — there be spoilers ahead!
Chapter 7 – Okay, cut me some slack here. I’ve slept since I read this. Inspector Charlesworth of the Yard and Cockrill meet again and have a chat about the case. They speculate on whether it could be some outsider, but come up against the fact the weapon was not immediately to hand if they were surprised by Raoul. Only the immediate circle knew where to get it. Tedward’s calling and phone number are prominently on every phone in the house, which explains Raoul’s calling there. Tom and Tilda discuss the murder a bit. How she couldn’t have done anything. He puts the doll’s limbs on it back-to-front so, apparently not as calm and cool as he seems on the outside. They have told Tom about Rosie’s pregnancy which he claims not to have figured out before. Damien and Melissa are revealed to have been doing something last night which has made them both sick and freaking out. Damien insists to his mother he’s fine and he’s not limping. Later they meet and she thanks him for whatever it was. He is very worried the police are going to come ’round and his mother will give him away. Rosie gets a call from the famous Stanislas, who was supposedly walking around with Melissa in the fog, but turns out to have been groping Rosie in a phone booth. This girl has a problem. She bumped into him in the fog, didn’t know him from Adam, but makes out with him instantly. He somehow had missed the news of the murder, so she fills him in and also tells him that Melissa used him for her alibi. He does a bunk to the continent, so there goes my bright idea that he’s a suspect. Sergeant Bedd has listened in on all this, so presumably next chapter will be a re-questioning of Melissa. Now, I’m thinking the baby must’ve done it. Tilda brought her down to say goodnight or something and the mallet happened to be lying around and as babies do, she picked it up and started pounding things with it and Raoul had one of those fragile skulls. He goes down, Tilda runs back up with the baby. Calls Tedward mimicking Raoul and then runs back up to put her murderous little toddler to bed.
Chapter 8 – Okay, things are getting ridiculous. Cockrill intuits a gun is involved. Sure enough, there’s a gun in the drawer which seems to have been slid into the drawer on top of the other stuff. This is a non-working gun so, theory goes whoever used it threatened Raoul with it and asked him to use the phone. Raoul obligingly turns his back on the person with the gun and said person bops him over the head with the mallet, dropping the mallet, putting the gun away and fleeing the scene. Brand tries to convince us this would work because we’ve all seen movies where people are forced to make phone calls at gun point so victim would relax and turn his back. Rubbish. You’d keep that person in sight as much as possible. And knowing Tilda was in the house, I’d probably yell. Let’s hope this is a false trail. Probably is as I’m not even halfway through. Oh, and that person would be a doctor because he knew where to hit.
Chapter 9 – There’s blood in Tom’s car and no way it could have gotten there according to his own testimony. He garaged the car, locked it, had the only key, and did not go back to the car that night. Logical conclusion, he killed Raoul and went back to his car, drove around and pretended to arrive later. He’s arrested. If he’s covering for someone, he’s doing a pretty poor job of it. Then again, he could be covering while trying not to get hanged himself. If he sat outside the house for an hour and a half and this cockamamie plot was the best he could come up with… Wouldn’t you try to make it look like an outside job? Leave the door open. Steal something. Damned silly of whoever did it, not to try to make it look like some burglar. Anyway, the three investigators are having a beer and talking it over when it finally occurs to Cockrill that Raoul might not have made the phone call. His reasoning: Raoul would not have known to call it a ‘mastoid mallet’ any more than I would. I should have thought of that myself. What I did think of and fail to record was that I thought the whole ‘someone’ or ‘a man’ has hit me was weird. I guess you might say that if you had never met the person. So, now the call looks bogus, which tells us what? Tilda still didn’t go up until 9:15, so unless she did it, it couldn’t have happened before that.
Chapter 10 – In which Cockie proves that Tedward could have faked the call himself. Though how he was supposed to kill the guy, I don’t know. He’d been expecting Rosie since 8. Had he left while expecting Rosie assuming she’d be late, conked the guy, then driven back? And how do we explain Tilda’s absence before 9:15? Unless we’re going with a Tilda and Tedward collusion?
C.11 – Gran confesses, sort of. Followed by Tedward. Melissa laughs hysterically and Rosie faints away. Perhaps the only thing keeping Ted from confessing was he couldn’t figure out the phone call, but Cockrill did that for him, leaving him free to try to take the blame.
C.12 – Entire chapter of They would never hang… and then all the suspects. Some because they know something – Tom and Ted about the car. Matilda would never let Tom hang if she’d done it, so therefore hasn’t done it? Does that stand? Police don’t know about Damian. Melissa does. Everybody knows something and they’re not talking. Rosie states at the end that Ted went in alone. Probably lying. Not sure why Cockrill would believe her or just wants to know if she’ll lie about it. Anyway, she’s about to be offed, apparently.
C. 13 – Rosie managed to forge twelve prescriptions and get them all filled for what Tedward gave her to begin with. This killed her. According to Cockrill, she wasn’t smart enough to think of this herself, although the book keeps pointing out she’s smarter than she seems. But this really lets the baby off the hook. A baby might whack someone in the head — probably every parent has experienced this at some point — but she could not counsel taking 12 times the amount prescribed in a purely evil attempt to do her aunt in. Maybe none of this is about what they thought it was about. Although how we’ll ever find out, I don’t know.
This is probably enough for one post. I’ll do the rest of the book in a final post. We’re down to six suspects. Tilda, Tom, Ted, Melissa, Damian, Gran. I think my money’s on Tilda. Raoul could have told her what he had to tell her and whatever it was could have driven her to kill him and Rosie.