The following morning, that of Tuesday 9th September, brought with it a swift indication that Marlin did not intend to be put off so easily. I received a third letter (Note Three), again sent first class and postmarked the previous day. As with all Marlin's correspondence, the note itself was not dated, yet indications surely point to it having been written that same day, as a direct response to our earlier telephone conversation. The note read:
"YOU MUST LISTEN. AND LOOK. AND TELL.
0905 IS THE MEMORIAL IN CHRISTS CHURCH.
Accompanying the letter was a picture (Photo A), which appeared to be a colour photocopy of an original photograph, produced in much the same way as the notes themselves. As one might expect of such a copy, the photo is not altogether distinct, yet it clearly shows the trunk of a tree, with the suggestion of others nearby, and the presence of some kind of stone monument beyond.
The photo meant nothing to me, and the note little more, save that Marlin had clearly lost none of his desire for attention. I was perhaps in part to blame for this, having more or less requested during our brief conversation that he supply me with further information. With hindsight this may have been an error on my part, but of course, working as I was at this time on the assumption that Marlin's crimes were fictitious, a direct request for evidence seemed a sure way of calling the man's bluff and ensuring a climb down on his part. Instead it appeared to have provoked an immediate reaction in the form of this letter and photograph, though whether either constituted anything which could even loosely be described as 'evidence', seemed doubtful.
The key to the note appeared to be the second line: "0905 IS THE MEMORIAL IN CHRISTS CHURCH", an ambiguous statement to say the least. At the time it was utterly meaningless to me, and I admit I spent little time considering it. I was becoming increasingly irritated by the attention of this individual, and determined not to waste valuable resources in the pursuit of such a non-story. I certainly did not feel the 'case', such that it was, warranted further investigation, and resolved not to allow it to take up any more of my time.
I mention this resolve as an example of how one's actions can differ markedly from one's intentions. For whilst it is true that I vowed not to devote any further time to this matter, the result was somewhat different.
I am a great believer in the mind's ability to solve problems without the need for conscious thought, much as a computer will multitask silently in the background without the user's input. Consequently, despite having refrained from any deliberate attempts to unravel the meaning behind Marlin's latest communication, I suspect that my mind may nevertheless have been set to work. Whatever the explanation, I found myself struck by a possible explanation, or partial explanation, of the note later that day.
The words "CHRISTS CHURCH" had possessed an air of familiarity, yet had previously suggested nothing specific to me. Returning home that evening however, I made the mental link between those words and one of the more conspicuous local landmarks: Christchurch Park in the centre of Ipswich. The link seemed a little tenuous, yet given the subject of the accompanying photograph, perhaps not ridiculous. When the existence of a war memorial in the park occurred to me moments later, the connection appeared considerably more robust. I dislike the notion of 'hunches', preferring to base my decisions on facts and evidence, yet it has to be said, and not entirely with hindsight, that I felt strongly at the time that I had hit upon the correct interpretation of the note.
And so it was to prove.
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