Losses not seen since fire destroyed the interiors of Heythrop Hall in 1831 have split the community of Enstone, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, U.K. Police have taken statements (reprinted below) about bloody acts (44+ dead) on Heythrop Park golf course. Damage to the 1710 landscape design of Thomas Bainbridge has been repaired.
1 – Jesuit’s Graveyard
A hacked and punctured corpse was found in the fairway 200 yards from the tee. To reach the victim, the perp(s) threaded his/her/their period arrows between the 300-year-old beech trees on the right of the hole – planted in straight lines to recreate the estate’s original avenue – and the Jesuit’s Graveyard on the left.
2 – Church View
Rain was not plothering down, so the murderer(s) would have been afforded a delightful view towards Heythrop Church. To find the twosome who became Victim Nos. 2 & 3 on the undulating but generously large green (that slopes from back to front and is protected by a pot bunker on the left), the medieval catapult must have been wheeled into position on the tee with practiced skill and malice aforethought. If the authorities allow the instrument of destruction to remain on the course as a memorial, and be treated by golfers as an immovable obstruction, the hole is to be rechristened as Church and Catapult View.
3 – Tew Approach
“Move along!” is the copper’s refrain to busybodies at the last stand of a poor bleeder, who had counted on a brisk downhill trot into the prevailing SW wind, past three well-placed bunkers. A matchlock musket ball to the head finished him, in the hollow on the right that feeds into a valley.
4 – The Wall
This birdie opportunity, dominated by a dry stone dyke wall that stretches down the right and separating the hole from dense Foxberry Wood, tests all golfers who hit the ball from left to right; it was not tested by Victim No. 5, bludgeoned to death on the tee, where the Chief Coroner, not a golfer, was overheard listening to Pink Floyd’s 1979 album “The Wall,” while plying the tools of her grim but necessary trade.
5 – Foxberry Wood
The buzzards that commonly cast shadows in the trees surrounding the elevated tee must be the sole witnesses to the explosion that did for Victims 6-9. The foursome’s mettle, consequently, was not tested by the stream leading to the pond, and the two bunkers that guard the landing area, and a deep swale on the right.
6 – Archer Bridge
It is no coincidence that entry wounds point to an ambush by expert archers, on the historic bridge that traverses the water on the way to the next tee. Victims 10-13 spent their dying moments on a hole destined to feature in glossy golf magazines.
7 – The Fishing Lakes
Suspicious of placid surfaces, the Chief Inspector assigned to the case ordered the waters to be dredged. At one lake’s deepest point, inside a burlap sack, at the end of a rope: Victim No. 14, dead. The Chief Inspector next demanded a list of local anglers. Later, after the list of anglers proved to be identical to a previously compiled list of local golfers, the Chief ordered a round of drinks.
8 – Kite Grove
Swinging battleaxes, our psychopath(s) must have swept uphill and overwhelmed the raised green protected by a front bunker, where Victims 15-18 cavalierly supposed they were safe from harm. A sergeant assigned to the case, obviously a film buff, reminded reporters (off the record), “Remember the demise of Steve Buscemi in Fargo?”
9 – Serpentine
Police caught a break that “mermaid-like awhile” (Hamlet, Act IV, Scene VII) the clothes of the next victims bore them up in four ornate ponds. Before being collected as evidence, torn-up scorecards (4) littering the historic Serpentine Walk to the rear of the green, resembled, from a distance, fallen leaves.
10 – Little Paddock
Boiling liquid (analysis results tba) was the weapon of choice against Victim No. 23 in an historic walled garden (Heythrop Park is famous for its walled gardens). The crush of the media was accommodated in the ancient orchard surrounding the green, where the thick-skinned reporters enjoyed traditional species of apple, pear and cherry, and in the oldest Crown Bowling Green in England, “nestling in the woods” (as the resort’s literature phrases it), just to the right of the green.
11 – South Avenue
Earwitnesses heard a Supermarine Spitfire turning sharply in the vicinity of No. 11, and indeed this par 5 has room (551 yards long from the White Tee) for a Spitfire. The target was the small green built round to the left between the old Skating Lake and the ancient woodland. Veterans of the force searched their memories and databanks in vain for a double whammy comparable to the one executed by the WW II replica. Machine gunfire from the single-seat deliverer of vengeance, followed by aerial bombardment, brought a premature end to the round played by Victims 24-27.
12 – Great Cow Meadow
The massive gnarled oak tree that bisects the fairway 200 yards from the Black Tee presented the spectacle of four golfers with ropes around their necks, hung by their necks until they were dead. The adjacent property to the right of the green was once owned by the Jesuit Order, which used it as a centre for philosophical and theological studies.
13 – Cold Bath Terraces
Where were the contemporary equivalents of local 18th and 19th century ladies, who used to watch a steady stream of carriages pass along the pathway here, when the successful plotters against the lives of the next victims, a twosome (newlyweds!), stored caches of period gunpowder, dynamite, cordite and breech-loading rifles? A natural stream, lined with Cotswold stone, burbles by as of yore.
14 – The Glyne
Dumb luck, according to the starter, enabled a golfer to miss her appointment on 14 with the killer(s), for she cancelled her tee time after realizing her DVR was not set. “Football Saves Duffer’s Duff” announced one subsequent tabloid headline.
15 – Tam’s Bluff
We will never know if Victims 37 and 38 shared the opinion that the 15th tee’s panoramic view over the English countryside compensates for the uphill walk from the 14th green. They were robbed of the chance to play down the prevailing SW wind, and make the difficult club selection necessary to carry the bluff that makes the green seem closer than it is.
16 – Shrewsbury
The unknown assailant(s) channeled the victors of the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 A.D.: now as then, it is proper to pause in memory of those who fell. As of this writing, bodies have not been located, and even the golf bags were removed from the battlefield as spoils of war. In the near term, once the crime-scene tape is pulled down, golfers will have to contend with an unusual number of poor lies, as balls come to rest in the divot-like imprints of horses’ hooves.
17 – The Duel
Even the casual, morbidly curious observer detects a now-familiar pattern of slaughter. This was no old-school engagement between gentlemen, of matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules. Next of kin shall be notified after the pikes and tanks are dusted for prints, and autopsies reveal the identities of the late twosome.
18 – Grand Avenue
A Sopwith Camel provided the coup de grace on the straight closing hole. Measuring close to 600 yards, 18 seems longer to pilot and golfer because the view is elongated by the presence of the Hall, which sits 100 yards behind the green where the nun, senior citizen and two schoolchildren were holing out. Although the attack happened in broad daylight, no witnesses have come forward, evidence of the characteristic reserve of the British public.
Statements to Police
I was in the Tower Suite reading a murder mystery. Care to pop up to my room for a little chat about the case over a cup of tea?
Mrs. Spoon, village sleuth
I was in the Royal Suite, as usual. My mistress will vouch for my presence in the bedroom or I’ll have her whipped again. Have I ever owned a catapult?! I dare say my ancestors were dab hands, but I have stayed out of the business. I have other weapons. You might be interested to know that the chaps who built the golf course had to ensure that it would not be seen from the Hall. One of the guests may have spotted it and jolly lost all sense of proportion. If the villain is not a resort guest, it must be a local. You would do well to watch Penelope Brassie and the Village Idiot, both of whom don’t know their place in Enstone, Chipping Norton. I say, Lady Cleek-Baffy does not have to hear about this beastly business. Now I want my solicitor, there’s a good copper.
I was walking me dog, is all, as I have done for centuries. Dead blokes everywhere. Aye, golfers. Nay, not a mark on Old Bailey. Or me collie, also called Old Bailey. If I was you, I would insert a microchip in Sir Cleek-Baffy and see where it leads you. This business, ‘twill bollix the merchant class, wot?
Old Bailey, village idiot
I took photos of the crime scenes. You are welcome to inspect them. Look me up at the Brassey Bar, where I work nights. They may remind you of Warhol’s Death and Disaster series. You would do well to cross-examine Sir Cleek-Baffy. The gentry loves its collections of sword-rattling beastliness.
Penelope Brassie, university student
I was in the vicarage the entire time cleaning my clubs and studying yardage books. May God have mercy on us sinners.