Sister Boniface Mysteries (2022) s01e07 Episode Script

Dem Bones

- It's tilting, it's tilting! - Let's deal with it.
- Got it? - Yes, now I've got it.
- Don't wanna drop it! - Not going to drop it.
- You're veering, Sister.
- Oh! - You're veering! - Oh! Hey.
Very good, yeah.
To be careful.
It's Edie, would you just please calm down.
Say froid! That's it, cradle him with pride.
Brutus! Brutus! Madam Ruth, everything okay there, is it all right? Good, please, just Brutus! Brutus no! - You're mint? - Yeah.
- Arthur! - Sisters.
Wellington's squeaky clean.
That came from the farm shop.
A quick reminder of the rules.
Each entrant may submit one marrow only.
Entrants must be in attendance for the weighing to be eligible to win.
There can only be one winner.
- Frank.
- Button.
Entries must've been grown by the entrant, him or herself.
And last, but by no means least the judge's decision is final! No arguments, we don't want to repeat of last year.
Brutus, there you are.
The real value of today is not in winning or losing, but in promoting a good old fashioned community spirit.
In one generation teaching valuable skills to the next.
What have you got? Drop.
And with so many children in attendance, it really is fun for all of family.
This is all I'm at liberty to say at this time.
Well can I at least get a picture? No! Please leave, thank you.
Well, he's definitely dead.
In fact, I'd say he's positively ancient.
How ancient? Well, that's a question for an archaeologist.
So not our problem then.
What do you think? We may have stumbled across a Viking burial ground right here in Great Slaughter.
Old Raymond perhaps, even Celtic! Who knows what treasures may lurk beneath this soil.
We might be standing on a site of the most extraordinary scientific and historical interest! - Yeah, absolutely.
- So well and good, but what about all marrows? Now they been harvested they'll be losing water.
Could that affect their weight? When will the scales be returned to the post office? We're being sabotaged! Winners should be party, but I aint.
That's right.
Get the allotments out of bounds until further notice.
Whatever for? Apparently they're a site of archaeological interest.
We won't know until they ask event excavated.
Excavated? I'd like to see you try dig up my plot when with veggies there.
You surely you won't dig up the entire site for the sake of some old bones and bits broken pottery? Okay, just to be clear, this isn't me, this is the archaeologist.
But this is outrageous, I won't stand for it.
Hear, hear! Stand for what? As chairman of the allotment committee, I propose we form an action group to oppose excavation.
- Who second? - I'll second.
Those in favour? Good motion carried.
If there no objections, I nominate myself as group coordinator.
Good, well I shall write to the British Archaeological Association and we should get our MP involved, perhaps retain a solicitor.
If it comes to it we may be able to apply for an injunction, hmm.
Thank you.
A gin and orange please, Gloria, and another Sherry for Miss Thimble.
Quite medicinal she says, for the shock.
Sorry for shooting the messenger.
Ah don't worry.
It's your plot isn't it, Miss? Paignton, Edie Paignton.
Inspector Sam Gillespie.
Oh, I can't believe I've been growing my dinner on an ancient grave all this time.
It gives me the willies.
How long have you been up there? About two years.
My husband left and took his income with him.
So I had to feed myself somehow, hmm.
It's very enterprising.
Frank took me under his wing.
If it wasn't for him I probably would have starved to death.
Nah, I'm sure you would have figured it out.
You seem very capable.
The veg maybe.
He also gave me a job in his textiles factory.
Sewing free knickers.
To be honest it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me not leaving.
Sounds like a real community.
They're all looking out for each other.
Yeah, it is.
That's what you have to understand.
The allotments isn't just a place where people go to grow vegetables, it's home, and we're a family.
If anyone tries to take it away, I predict that they'll have quite a fight on their hands.
What I am supposed to do if anyone wants to post and outsize package, I have no idea! I'm sorry, Mrs.
Clam, but if I make an exception for you, I have to make an exception for everyone.
Ridiculous, bureaucratic nonsense.
- What's the prize? - Hmm? For growing the biggest marrow, what do they win? Glory, Felix, glory.
It's for you.
Hello? Do you want the good news or the bad news? Well, both would be helpful.
Right, well, I managed to date the bones, that's the good, by the way, the bad is they're not as ancient as they first appear.
Oh, and I know where this is going, how old? Two, maybe three years.
I'm afraid this isn't the scientific discovery of the century after all.
It's murder! It appears the body was subjected to a large amount of sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, otherwise known as caustic soda.
Okay, where would you find large amounts of that? Well it has numerous commercial applications.
It's used the manufacturer of everything from paper to soap, in its pure form, it's actually a highly effective industrial strength drain cleaner.
It is also used on farms and abattoirs for the disposal of animal carcasses.
Oh, yes! This will do nicely.
Fact, sodium hydroxide is highly soluble and when mixed with water, it will quickly break the chemical bonds, which keep fresh intact in muscle bonded to bone.
In short, it will liquefy a body leaving any chalky bone holes, which can be easily give an impression of age.
It appears this was applied in a hurry though.
Note how some of the bones are slightly less affected, - the skull, for example.
- Hmm.
- Sorry, breakfast? - No I'm fine, thank you.
Any chance of an ID? Well, I don't think the dental remains can help, but I could tell you their height and gender if we're lucky.
That's about it, I'm afraid.
Look at this, cardboard and lots of it.
Okay, let's pull the missing persons files for the last three years, let's hope something jumps out.
I'll get this batch of bones back to the lab.
Yeah, and I'm gonna go and talk to Ms.
Paignton about this husband that did a runner.
WPC Button.
Oh, hello Sarge, didn't see you there.
What's are you doing here? Dad sent me to check on his marrow.
I figured it was okay for me to cross the cordon.
Oh please, Sarge! He's put so much work in, I think that stupid marrow means more to him than I do.
Fine, but I didn't see you here.
Oh thank you, Sarge.
- Save our allotment.
- Save our allotment now.
- Save our allotment.
- Save our allotment now.
- Save our allotment.
- Save our allotment now.
All right, all right, you're saving the day.
Your allotments are safe! - And the excavation? - Cancelled! However, your allotments are now a crime scene and will remain off limits until further notice! Crime scene! That's way, thank you very much.
Come on.
Hey Edie.
- Edie, can I have a word? - Thank you, follow me out.
Your husband, Ned, wasn't it, - left about two years ago? - Yeah, that's right.
Yeah, I wouldn't mind a word with him.
Oh right, you and me both.
If you find him let me know.
So you haven't had any contact since he told you he was leaving? Didn't even have the guts to do that, just wrote a note to say he was off, that was it? No forwarding address? I don't think he wanted us to stay pen pals.
Did you keep the letter? It's not the sort of thing one keeps as a memento, Inspector? No, of course.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help.
Don't worry, we'll track him down.
So you stooped to grave robbing? That's very good.
Although I regard it more as temporary appropriation.
You asked about cardboard up on the allotment.
Oh, yes, marvellous! Yes I was going to reread "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," for obvious reasons, but I'm sure this will be just as thrilling.
Oh Sue, the cardboard technique, it's common, is it? I'm not sure about common.
A short version is cardboard and there's large compost and all these muckers you can get your hands on.
The cardboard smothers the weeds while it rots down, and the muck tracks the worms, turn it over, job done.
It's ingenious.
Personally, I think if you're gonna oof all that muck all the way up there, you might as well have dug it over yourself.
Hitch the ran.
Poor soul, an untimely demise, and the most unchristian burial.
Covered in a tonne of manure, poor beggar.
I'm assuming they're all filed by dates of disappearance? What is? The missing persons record? Yeah, I'd go with that.
Edie Paignton's plot is next to your dad, isn't it? I'm sorry? Do you know who had it before her? No one did, it wasn't even really a plot as such, just an abandoned corner.
There was a budge of Sinclair to let her have it.
What was his objection? He said it wasn't regulation size.
Oh, you know what he's like, never rapper even though when he has a rule book for someone.
But she persisted.
Went over his head to the parish council in the end, 'caused the right old stink.
I was trying to do her a favour.
By refusing her.
Well, she didn't know what she'd be taking on.
She thought she could just turn up and start growing.
But well, that land had never been cultivated.
If it wouldn't have been for Frank's no-dig suggestion, she'd still been trying to clear it now.
So the no-dig was Frank's idea.
She was hard to get anything if it was it.
Thank you.
Work's been slow on account of how delicate the bones are.
Any idea if it's male or female? Well, the shape of the pelvis is usually an indicator, but as you can see much of this one's - crumbled away completely.
- Hmm.
But on the basis of probabilities, I'd say they're more likely to be male than female, but it's impossible to say with any absolute certainty Height? Between 5 foot 6 and 5 foot 11.
Hmm, it narrows it down.
Oh, but the good news is I've pieced together the skull, look at this.
Cause of death, the blow to the back of the head, or rather three blows.
- Made with? - Though, I had no idea.
Yes I appreciate it that's not much to go on, but I'm working on it.
Missing persons for the last three years.
So Walter Sinn, age 46.
No, she turned up.
She ran off with her tennis coach from Santorini, if I remember rightly.
That's not mentioned on the files.
It's all up here.
Wait what's that, Yorkshire Police? They lodged an inquiry regarding one of their missing persons.
Apparently, he had business dealings in Great Slaughter, - and had spent some time here.
- Sidney Jackson? No, it doesn't ring a bell.
I requested the full report, but it was destroyed when their archive flooded last year.
Okay, well see what you can dig up on him.
Mm, no pun intended.
Jenny Harsden, age 23, reported missing by her father Frank- Wait, Frank Harsden.
That's Frank from the allotment, isn't it? Yeah, he's got the plot next to Edie Paignton.
- Right? - Yeah.
It's not her.
You seem very sure.
She's in London, wrote to me a few months after she left.
Well, you didn't tell the police? She's still listed as missing.
You haven't done a very good job of looking for her then have you? Hmm, what did the letter say? Ah, that she was safe, and the baby had been born, a boy apparently.
Do you have an address? No, somewhere in Peckham.
She didn't want to see me.
Why not? Look, I know you're just doing your job, Inspector, but you're barking up the wrong tree.
Whoever you found out on that plot, it's not my Jenny.
Okay, yeah.
Okay, thank you, that is very helpful.
- Okay bye, bye.
- What's helpful? Three years ago, Sidney Jackson made an application to buy the allotments from the council.
He planned to sell the land to a chain of supermarkets, but he disappeared before the final paperwork was signed.
Did he now? Of course, Sinclair was in charge of the action committee.
That pompous old twit with no action, if it kicked him in the goalies.
He's all regulations this and procedure that.
I mean no offence, but I tell you, that supermarket would have been half the village out of business.
Me included, 200 years of Buttons Butcher down the squally.
I can't believe you never told me.
You were away at police training college.
I wasn't gonna bother you with it.
- So what happened? - Well, he just disappeared.
Do you remember the last time you saw him? Oh yeah, it was one of Sinclair's committee meetings.
"A decision within 10 working days," - they said, that's all I know.
- And if they rule against us? That will be that.
And when can we expect to hear? Hear up, there they come.
You're not welcome here, Jackson? I thought you'd want to hear the good news, decision's through, appeal denied.
I'm signing the land papers at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning.
I suggest you collect anything you want to keep before then, after that, it's mine.
Never saw him again.
Here, pass us the greasol bucket, Peg Doll? You didn't wonder what had happened to him? Yeah, of course we did.
We weren't going to go looking for him, were we? We were just glad it was over.
So you recognise him then, the body? It's one of the possibilities we're exploring.
Yeah, well, good luck if it is.
Swing a cat and you'll find 10 people who'll wanna see the bugger Jackson.
Don't suppose you will ever find out who did it.
Here, faggots for tea, Peg Doll, don't be late.
- I'll wait, thanks Dad.
- All right, love.
- Sister.
- Sister.
I'm sure I saw one just like it when I was in here the other Aha, note three blows with one instrument, but one blow with three.
You're saying this could be the murder weapon? We'll have to take it to the lab for further examination, but potentially, yes.
Wait here.
Aha! Ah, yeah Inspector.
Frank, what are you doing here? You know that the allotments are out of bounds.
I'm sorry, I just I thought I'd left my reading glasses here, somewhere.
I'm gonna have to escort you out.
All right, all right.
What's this? You can't possibly think Edie's got anything to do with this, - this girl wouldn't harm a fly.
- I'll escort you out.
Yeah, and that won't tell you anything.
They're 10 a penny.
I got one just like it, myself.
Well perhaps Mr.
Harsden, you'll so kind as to allow us an examination.
- Well, be my guest.
- Thank you.
I should think there's one of these in every shed on site.
Right, I'll leave you to it then.
Reading glasses, he must think I'm an idiot.
He was down here checking on his bleeding marrow.
If he's worried about everyone having one of these and perhaps you could have a quick peek in Sinclair's shed before we go.
Check all three of them.
Oh, what was that! What's that, a bee? - All right, come on.
- Hiss it away.
Oh no, wait! Ah close, but no cigar.
You're sure, none of these match? I'm afraid not.
But we're on the right track though, fear not.
These cultivators are the right shape and size, and the good news is, the one we're looking for will be most distinctive.
One of these prongs will be just ever so slightly bent inwards.
There's a good chance that none of these three did it? It's a puzzle, isn't it? What's next? Well, I'm glad you've asked.
So once the bones were removed from the site, I collected an additional spit step for soar from all sides and underneath, just in case.
- What I'm I looking at? - Teeth.
Not bad condition either.
I'll put them together and take an impression, then check it against dental records for an ID.
- Will that work? - Only one way to find out.
No match on the murder weapon.
How are you doing? I've requested Jenny Harsden's medical records.
If Frank is telling the truth, there'll be a record of the pregnancy.
Excellent! Any more on Jackson? His mother no longer resides at her last own address, she doesn't appear on the electoral register, father unknown, no siblings.
Okay, we'll stay on it.
What about Ned Paignton? We've drawn up a list of friends, family, and business associates, WPC Button is working through it now.
Okay good, I'm gonna stop at another pub, see if I can coax any useful information of the locals.
It's also the local single ladies Bridge night, if I'm not mistaken.
Ah, happy coincidence Felix.
You know me, duty first.
I wonder.
Bingo! Is that what I think it is? Well, if what you think it is, it is the right maxillary lateral incisor, then yes it is.
- A gold tooth.
- 18 carat.
Say hello to Sydney Jackson.
You beauty! Right now we've got our victim, we need to widen the net.
Motive, Sinclair was fighting for the allotment, but plenty of people would have been affected by the supermarket.
It means we need to find out who had access to large amounts of caustic soda, who knew the allotments and opportunity What's the matter? This is the break we've been waiting for.
- I'm - Well, spit it out.
This is ridiculous! I think I'd know if my own dad was a murderer.
It's just to rule him out.
I'm sure this will put them in the clear.
Oh no! There you go Hester, regards to your mum.
Will do, thank you, Mr.
All right, Sam I've got a nice bit of bacon put aside for you, my friend.
Actually Ted, I'm gonna have to ask you to come down a station.
I've used caustic soda years, it's standard practise.
I saw Ms.
Thimble cleaning her drains with the other week.
You gonna arrest her too? And I told you, half the village wanted rid of Jackson, it's not just me that stood to lose everything.
I want to believe you Ted, I do, but it's not that simple.
This is a photograph of Sidney Jackson's fatal injury, and this is the implement which caused it.
Oh then that's not my cultivator.
But it was found in your shed, can you explain that? No I can't.
Ted Button, I'm arresting you for the murder of Sydney Jackson.
Sam, come on lad.
You're not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say will be put into writing and maybe given as evidence.
I'm sorry.
- Open up.
- You can't be serious, sir.
You're making a terrible mistake.
I'm so- Can we? Fear not Sergeant we'll get to the bottom of it.
I was only following the facts.
Yes I know, and so does WPC Button, she'll come around.
- Post.
- Thank you! Eventually.
Jenny Harsden's medical records, no doubt confirming Franks theory.
Pregnant, just like you said.
A broken arm, a sprained wrist, bruised ribs, a black eye? There's always an excuse, a slip on the stairs and an open cupboard door.
So Frank was knocking her out.
No wonder the poor girl didn't want to raise her baby here.
And if that's what you do to her, what might he do to the man who got his daughter pregnant out of wedlock? I spoke to civil registry office and I asked them to locate a copy of the birth certificate.
Oh, drum roll, please! The father of Jenny Harsden's baby is, Sidney Jackson! Good man, great work! Now there is just one tiny problem, we've yet to prove the link between Mr.
Harsden and the murder weapon.
Well, you better get cracking 'cause I'm bringing him in.
If you have any bright ideas, Sergeant, now would be a good time to mention them.
I do have one.
I knew you would.
We've photographed the contest every year, and I never destroy a negative.
Don't know when it might come in handy.
Are you going to tell me what you're looking for? Confidential police business, I'm afraid.
Well, then you might be here for awhile.
We best get started.
You never told us that Sidney Jackson is the father of Jenny's baby? You've never asked.
I can't imagine you were too thrilled to find that out? Did he offer to marry her? I wouldn't have her let him marry that tow rack, if he was the last man on earth.
No, how far would you have gone to stop it? I'm not a violent man, Inspector.
Really? So how do you explain these broken bones in your daughter's medical records? She always was a clumsy girl.
Come on Frank, if you're man enough to knock a young girl around, you should be man enough to admit it.
Is this yours? I told you before these things are 10 a penny, they all look alike.
It's subtle, but this one is actually ever so slightly bent, just here.
You expect me to know every knock and dent in my tools.
No one could tell you that.
What if I was to tell you that this is the cultivator that killed Sidney Jackson? I'd ask you where you found it.
Well that's the funny thing, the person whose shed we found it in, none of their fingerprints were on it.
- No? - No.
Anybody else's fingerprints on it? No! I suppose that's the thing about gardeners, Inspector.
They tend to wear a glove.
Let's cut to the chase, Frank, the other day at the allotments, you weren't looking for your glasses.
You were switching your cultivator with Ted's! And you can prove that, I suppose.
Dad, I brought you a brew.
Ho, ho, that's my girl! So, reckon there'll be reopening the allotments soon, will they? Well you're not still thinking about the soddy marrow contest? Oh, I thought I was in a good chance this year.
- Wayne's, is this afternoon.
- Oh, that's that then.
You know what Sinclair is like, someone's got to be there in person or you're disqualified.
All that work! All that effort for naught.
- All right, fine I'll go.
- That's my good girl.
But you know, I'm sure this will be cleared up any minute.
And then you can go yourself.
Oh, come on Peg, don't we both know how it looks.
Go see if they can prove that cultivator was planted.
Even your Sister Boniface can't perform miracles.
It's no use, there's nothing here.
Not luck here either, I'm afraid.
I suppose it would have been rather convenient, a photograph of the suspect with the murder we Sister? I need to head back to the lab.
43 pounds, 43! Let's talk about caustic soda.
I understand it's widely used in the textile industry.
Next up, Edie Paignton.
Is it true, your father has been arrested? No! Yes, but it's been a mistake, they're sorting it now.
Where's Frank? Inspector, I've got a marrow judging to get to, so unless you've got anything else, I think we're done here.
Rhubarb! Hello Sam, may we? Yes.
You once had a rather handsome croft of it, rhubarb that is.
Ted's croft to you looks rather tiny in comparison, lovely brassicas though.
What is she on about? In and of itself, that doesn't tell us much, but you got me thinking about something that I read recently.
Fact, rhubarb thrives best in soil that has a pH between 6 and 6.
Brassicas on the other hand, prefer their soils slightly more alkaline, pH of 7 or above is ideal.
And for the most part it doesn't make much difference, most plants will tolerate a range of growing conditions by a time.
As you can see, your soil is actually rather than much more acidic than Teds, which is more alkaline.
So? We tested the soil from the cultivator in your shed.
We also tested a soil from the murder weapon found a Mr.
Button's shed.
Which proves incontrovertibly, I'm afraid, that the cultivators was switched.
Good man! Frank, give it up! You might as well tell us what really happened.
Oh, was that quite necessary? Sit down Mr.
Harsden! He was a slimy, arrogant, little toad! Looking down his nose at us, thinking he was better.
Time's up Frank, everyone else has cleared out.
How's Jenny these days, - she had her sprog yet? - What's it to you? Well nothing.
I told her to get rid, even bought her the gin.
Silly cow! You! Didn't you know, she couldn't get enough of me.
Now hurry up and get off my land.
I did the village of favour.
You find one person around here sorry he's gone.
Huh, even his own mother barely looked for him.
You do the honours, well go and spring Ted.
It would be my pleasure.
Frank Harsden, I'm arresting you for the murder of Sidney Thomas Jackson.
You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so.
But what you say may be put into writing and given in evidence.
- 51.
- 51 pounds.
51, we have a winner, Ted Button! Come on up, Ted.
What's this? Dad's been waylaid, so he sent me instead.
No, no, no, this won't do at all, the rules are quite clear, entrants must be in attendance to be eligible to win.
No, no, no, I'm sorry, it'll have to be disqualified.
So the winner is the next heaviest, which is- Oh you won, Dad! - Come up! - Yeah! Thank you, thank you everybody! Can I have a photograph Ted, and maybe an exclusive interview? Ho, ho.
Thank you, sir.
Oh actually, Sergeant Livingstone - was your St.
- Managed to saved the day.
Thanks Sarge, I'll never forget this, ever.
And have you officers fancy a nice of British sirloin for tea? You know where to come.
Much appreciated Ted.
However I'm afraid, the manual of guidance prohibits police officers from accepting unsolicited gifts, even from satisfied members of the public.
Say no no more, I don't want to get in trouble on my shift.
Come in for the photo though, hey! Free sirloin for life.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Sam.
Say marrow! Marrow!
Previous EpisodeNext Episode