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Double trouble

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Based loosely on an episode of 'Castle' and 'Death in paradise'


When Rose Tyler had become a successful pop singer, her mother couldn't have been more proud of her. She had dreaded Rose being pulled into working at Torchwood but with the right contacts that Pete knew, Rose had been accepted into an independent talent agency and Rose liked nothing more than going on location to make pop videos instead of doing them in the studio.

This time though, she'd hit the double as not was she only filming for her latest single due out soon but she'd got invited to appear at a pop festival in Dorset, well Broadchurch to be exact.

Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller were not looking forward to chasing up the organisers to make sure the law was followed regarding health and safety issues but when Ellie had found out Rose was attending, she'd relented a little.

"So what's all the fuss about her?" Alec asked, trying to play innocent even though Daisy was a big fan and hoped she'd be back from her mother's in time, if he could get her a ticket.

"You'll see if you attend Hardy," Ellie laughed.

"Have you never heard of Rose Tyler?" Katie asked him, not wanting to be left out and wondering if her immediate boss Ellie could get her a free ticket.

"Yes, I've heard of her," he had to admit. "I still say she's just another act, she only churns out all the old songs."

"With respect Sir, she does them better than the original artists," Katie defended her idol.

"Huh," Alec huffed and walked off, Ellie and Katie grinning after him.

"He'll change his tune when she arrives in the town," Ellie smiled.

His phone rang, the new chief wanting him and Miller in her office right away.

"Miller, come on, the chief wants us, probably about that damn music festival," he told Ellie.

It wasn't just about that though as the chief informed them a small production company had applied to the council to film on the beach and it was non other than Rose herself, a week before the festival and only three days away.

"Seriously, why pick on the beach here?" Alec asked, thinking he'd see it from his newly rented home on the side of the cliff.

"They never said Alec," the chief replied, knowing he hated being called that since his return and she'd got to know him.

"It's as good a place as any," Ellie spoke up. "Why tell us though?"

"They want to bring in their own security to keep onlookers away from the filming, Ellie, you can liaise with the production company. They'll see to the star," the chief told her.

"Best not tell Daisy," Ellie laughed on the way back to their office.

"Well she'll have to come back if she wants to catch the festival," Alec told her. "If I get her a ticket, it may impress her."

"You know you'd do anything for her Hardy," Ellie smiled.

So a few days later, most of the production company had arrived in the harbour area, taking up rooms at two of the pubs and lucky Rose got a room with a view of the stony beach and the sea, being next door to her friend and stand-in Mandy.

"This is gonna be great," Rose told her friend the first day they were standing on the beach as everything was being set up. "I love it when we get to film at the seaside."

"Yeah that's very you Rose," Mandy laughed as she helped herself to a cold drink and flopped in the chair next to Rose. "We should get hammered tonight," Mandy laughed.

"Yeah? Why not?" Rose laughed back. "As long as we're sober in the morning then? Find out who else is up to it."

"Pity your friend Jake's not here, he can drink both of us under the table," Mandy reminded her. "Who are those two talking to the security guy?"

Ellie and Alec had decided to take a walk to the beach to see why it had all been cordoned off from the side of the pub next to the church hall that used to be the sea scouts hut.

The security guy had reluctantly let them past when Alec said they needed to talk to the manager.

"Hey Rose, we have company," Mandy told her as Rose laid back with a drink in her hand, her sunglasses slipping off her nose.

Instead of stopping though, the two detectives headed towards who had been pointed out was in charge. Not being too bothered, Rose waited to be called forward to begin filming.

"You do realise we just passed her?" Ellie asked Alec.

"Which one was her?" Alec asked innocently, since the two blondes lounging on chairs could have passed for twins, well with wearing sunglasses they could and from a distance, which Alec thought was probably the idea.

It made sense to him the famous Rose Tyler would have a double and she wouldn't perform all the moves in her pop videos.

Ellie smacked his arm. "As if you didn't know," she told him.

"Miller, I have no idea which one was her, they both looked the same," he defended himself.

"That's the idea," Ellie just laughed as the manager turned around and asked what they wanted.

After making a start, Rose and Mandy were told they could leave and production would move slightly further up the beach the next morning.

"Who's meeting us in the bar later?" Rose asked anyone who could hear.

She got a few confirmations and she and Mandy decided word would get round.

Alec had gone back home, wondering where the pop star was staying but it was probably the pub just on the beach, a few yards from where he was but he had totally ignored her, not wanting to admit to Miller he'd not known which of the blondes had been her.

By eleven though, Rose had declared she'd had enough and gone back to her room and tried to drink some black coffee, wishing she had an antidote for the effects of alcohol that Jake always bragged about. Alec couldn't actually see the pub from where he now lived, the view was blocked by the café he'd only been in once to meet Beth Latimer and her client who had been assaulted a few months back.

He was glad though the culprits were now locked up, with all the claims against them although the younger one may not get out of the remand centre in one piece but maybe neither would the other one. He went to bed after he'd talked to Daisy to see how she was getting on with her mum, maybe they got on better than when she'd actually lived there and wouldn't want to come back?

He was rudely awoken by his phone ringing at just after five thirty the next morning, telling Ellie Miller to look at the time.

"I just got a call," Ellie yawned, thankful her dad was staying and she didn't have to worry about leaving Tom and Fred. "An early morning dog walker found someone lying on the beach, just around the corner from you. I've sent uniforms down and an ambulance, I'll meet you down there but we have to stop the film company, if they planned on using that part of the beach."

"They just found someone? Male or female?" Alec asked, trying to wake up.

"Unfortunately female, I don't have all the details. I'll get someone to phone the production manager later."

"I'll see you down there Miller," Alec told her, trying to put his trousers on one-handed.

Ten minutes later, cursing there was only one way down from his chalet and having to walk all the way round, he passed the ambulance and one of the officers on the scene let him under the tape. It was just after six and already a few people had gathered around. Ellie caught up with him as they could see a young woman laid like she was asleep on the sands.

"No!" Ellie exclaimed. "Tell me that's not who I think it is?"

"Shut it Miller, don't get emotional," he told her, thinking being rude again would make her take more notice than if he was nice to her, well at present anyway.

He squatted down to take a closer look.

"No, it's not her, it must be her stand-in. Did we get any names from the manager?" he asked Ellie as he called the ambulance crew over. "Get her covered up and get that tent here, fast."

Ellie got her notebook out. "Her name's Mandy Smith, she's almost Rose Tyler's exact double. Well she fooled you yesterday," Ellie reminded him.

"Find out where Rose is staying then find the production manager, this part is now sealed off and no filming today at least," Alec ordered.

"Yeah, they'll just love that," Ellie muttered to herself but Alec heard her.

An hour later, Mandy had been taken away and officers had obtained room numbers in the hotel and forensics were examining Mandy's room. It fell on Ellie and Hardy to inform Rose herself but they'd come to the conclusion after Brian had told them that Mandy had been strangled by the scarf around her neck. They thought at first she'd walked into the sea or fallen from the cliff but he'd ruled that out.

Brian still didn't like Hardy very much, thinking they'd got rid of him when he'd gone off.

"I'd say she died from strangulation," Brian had told them.

Alec didn't think that was too difficult to work out since she still had the scarf around her neck but he couldn't be bothered arguing with the other man.

"We'll know more when the coroner has examined her. Do we have a name?" Brian asked. "Only it looks like the singer, Rose Tyler."

"Do not go repeating that," Alec warned him.

"It's not her, it's her stand-in, Mandy Smith," Ellie told Brian.

So they went to knock on Rose's door, having seen a few of the film crew in the bar.

Rose could hear someone knocking although she thought it was her head after last night. Whatever had possessed her to try Jake's trick of challenging all those present?

"Alright, quit knocking, I'm coming," Rose yelled after the third knock. "This had better be good," she added as she found her dressing gown.

She got a surprise to see the man and woman from the day before, holding out their ID cards but she already knew who Alec Hardy was – he was the Doctor's twin whom she'd tried to ignore since he first hit the headlines in 2012 when two cousins had gone missing and more recently that he'd locked up two serial rapists. She'd wondered how he was going to follow that.

"Miss Tyler, I'm DS Miller, this is DI Hardy from Broadchurch police," Ellie began. "May we come in and talk to you?"

"Yeah, sure but don't mind the mess, I got totalled last night," Rose grinned. "Has there been a complaint about us being noisy?"

Alec wondered if she got complaints everywhere she went, if she was in the habit of getting drunk all the time.

"No Miss Tyler," Alec replied, seeing clothes all over the place. "You know a Mandy Smith I believe?"

"Mandy? Yeah, she's my double. What's she done now?" Rose asked, wanting some coffee.

They had been talking on the way up, coming to the conclusion Rose had been the intended target, since no-one knew who Mandy Smith was. Ellie had agreed with him, Rose was more likely a target, she was bound to have some crazy fans.

"Let me take the lead in this," Ellie suggested as they'd reached Rose's room.

"You can't make it any better for her Miller," Alec replied quietly.

"You've said that before," Ellie reminded him.

"Yes and I was right, you couldn't make it any better for the Latimer family. It's obvious Mandy Smith was not the intended target Miller."

"I know that," Ellie huffed, as Alec knocked rather loudly on the door and on the third one got a verbal reply.

"I think you'd better sit down Rose," Ellie advised her as Rose looked like she'd had a rough night.

"Why, what's wrong?" Rose wanted to know.

"Please Rose, take a seat," Alec asked her, Ellie wondering why he was nice to every female apart from her and now Katie Harford, who'd been cleared of any misconduct over her father being a suspect in their last big case, though Ellie hadn't been that pleased she'd been allowed back but there again, she herself had got her job back.

"Tell me what's wrong," Rose insisted.

"Rose, Mandy was found on the beach earlier, she's been strangled, with her own scarf we believe," Alec told her.

Ellie steadied a shocked Rose.

"What are ya talking about? What was she doing on the beach?" Rose managed to ask.

"We were hoping you could tell us," Alec continued.

"We don't share a room, I've no idea how she ended up on the beach. Okay, we had a few drinks last night, maybe she went out early to shake off the cobwebs?" Rose suggested.

She got up and went to the dressing table, checked the water level in the kettle and switched it on.

"I need coffee, I feel like hell," Rose grinned, aware there was a man in the room and she only had a nightdress and dressing gown on, reminding her of all those years ago her mother had stood in her room doorway and made a pass at the Doctor when she'd first met him.

Ellie took over, opening a sachet of coffee and one of the small cartons of cream.

"Take your time Rose, you've had a shock," Ellie told her.

"Can you answer a few questions?" Alec asked, getting his notebook out and getting a frown from Ellie.

Rose nodded, trying to get her head around the fact her friend had just died.

"Was Mandy in the habit of taking early morning walks?" he asked.

"Sorry, I've no idea," Rose replied as Ellie made the coffee. "We don't always have a beach location, it's for my new single."

"Yes, we understand that," Ellie told her. "We were made aware you were filming."

"You both passed us yesterday," Rose smiled, blowing on the hot liquid.

"Is that why you hired her?" Alec asked. "Because she was almost identical to you?"

"Well partly, she was a good dancer, she fills in some of the parts, like side-shots and from the back," Rose told them, Alec writing something down. "What happened?"

"We believe Mandy was just looking out to sea and someone grabbed her scarf from behind and choked her with it," Alec replied, Ellie wanting to slap him for coming out with the facts instead of having some sympathy.

"She had her scarf on?" Rose asked. "We both have similar ones, just a slightly different pattern but from a distance, you wouldn't notice. It got her killed?"

"We're afraid so. Who knew you were filming here this week?" Alec asked, dotting a few 'I's' and crossing a few 'T's' as he tended to do, which annoyed Ellie to the point she really wanted to slap him.

"Just my agency and the film production company, oh and my family of course and Mandy's mum, her dad left home ages ago. Have you told her mum yet?"

Ellie had to smile. "She'll be contacted shortly, given the time," Ellie told her.

"I have to call my stepfather," Rose told them.

"Leave that for now," Alec replied. "Rose, we have every reason to think whoever came up behind Mandy believed it was you."

Rose almost dropped her cup, Ellie grabbing it and putting it down.

"What? Why would anyone be after me or Mandy?" Rose wanted to know.

"A crazed fan, a disgruntled member of the film company, even someone who works for your agency. Most likely someone followed you here and waited for the opportunity," Alec replied. "Think carefully Rose, yesterday, was anyone hanging around while you were both sat on the beach?"

"I don't think so," Rose tried to remember. "Just the usual crew members. I got her killed."

Ellie patted her arm. "No Rose, don't even think that," she told her.

"Don't blame yourself," Alec assured her. "Right now we need you to get dressed, pack your things and come with us, you can't stay here."

"Then where are ya taking me?" Rose asked, still feeling slightly rough but it had been her own fault.

"Just get ready, we'll take you to the station for now," Alec replied as Ellie's phone rang.

"Sir, they have some preliminary results," Ellie told him. "Rose, go get dressed in the bathroom and I'll start packing your things," she offered.

"I will be downstairs in the bar, hopefully one of the crew may have seen something," Alec told them.

"I doubt it," Rose replied, going for her jeans and a t-shirt. "A few of them were drinking with us last night."

"Then maybe someone went out early for some fresh air and may have seen something?" Ellie suggested.

"Or maybe someone looked out of the window, saw who they thought was Rose and saw the opportunity?" Alec told them.

Rose grabbed her clothes and retreated to the bathroom. Ellie whacked his arm.

"Not exactly Mr Tactful, are you?" Ellie asked him.

"What was that for?" he asked, thinking Miller was taking one too many liberties these days. "That could have happened, it has to be someone staying here, how else would they have known?"

"Yeah and anyone working would know the difference between the two women," Ellie told him.

"Not if it was still dark?" Alec asked. "They are both the same height and build from behind and if they both wore similar scarves?"

Ellie had to give him that one, reluctantly. She saw Rose's empty case and picked up the clothes from the chair and was clearing a drawer when Rose came out, just as Alec had left.

"Where's DI Hardy?" Rose asked.

"Gone to interview some of the film crew," Ellie told her. "We'll wait here until he calls, then we'll take you to the police station. We'll have a few more questions for you, sorry."

"I don't mind if it gets whoever killed my friend. Can I call my stepfather now?" Rose asked.

"Leave it for now, DI Hardy will maybe want to speak to him," Ellie replied.

"When he finds out, he'll send my two friend down," Rose told her.

"Friends from Torchwood?" Ellie smiled.

"Well anyone from Vitex is no good," Rose tried to joke.

"I'd leave that for now, we want whoever killed Mandy to think they succeeded, for now."

"They'll soon find out it wasn't me, if they're watching?" Rose suggested.

"Maybe they already left? We have officers talking to the other crew members, the manager said they're in another hotel. Once we have a complete list, we'll see if anyone is missing or if there's one too many," Ellie told her.

"So ya think someone was tagging along with the crew?" Rose asked as she went to clear the bathroom.

"Possibly," Ellie admitted. "We'll just wait here a while, I have a car outside but it's not far to the station though we don't want you walking across. Rose, have you had any fanmail, someone a bit over-enthusiastic? Maybe someone on social media?"

"I don't use it, not so fans can write things but I have a private account, for my real friends, under another name," Rose admitted. "I still don't put where I'm filming though."

Downstairs, Alec was talking with the production manager, who had made a list of those in the other hotel and Alec had sent someone to organise talking to them but he'd told them not to mention who it was, in case the killer was amongst them. He had every reason to think whoever it was had indeed seen Mandy from the hotel, if she wasn't in the habit of taking early morning walks.

He called Ellie and told her to bring Rose down, offering to take Rose's holdall and leaving Ellie with the case, getting him a scowl from her.

"You can leave all your things in my car," Ellie offered as she drove to the back of the police station.

"Where am I gonna stay then? I don't want to be on my own, what if the person realises it wasn't me?" Rose asked.

"We'll put you somewhere safe and you'll have someone with you at all times," Alec assured her, trying to think where to hide her.

Then he thought the reprieved DC Harford would come in useful after all.

They took Rose to Alec's office, Ellie offering to make another drink since Rose still looked a little out of it. Rose flopped down on the leather sofa, Alec feeling sorry for her.

"May I have your stepfather's phone number?" he asked her when Ellie had left, giving Rose her drink.

"Yeah, sure. What about Mandy's mum?" Rose wanted to know.

"DS Miller is going to contact her now," Alec told her, as he'd spoken to Ellie as Rose had waited in the car.

Pete was in the kitchen, trying to persuade Tony to eat his breakfast instead of asking where Rose was. His phone rang and he saw a strange number and debated whether to answer or not, this early in the morning but maybe it was about Rose misbehaving on the film set?

"Mr Tyler, this is DI Hardy, Wessex police," Alec told Pete when he answered.

"The infamous Alec Hardy? What can I do for you? I know my stepdaughter's in your town, I hope she's not causing any problems?"

"Your stepdaughter is not the one causing problems Mr Tyler. There was an incident just yards from her hotel this morning. Her friend was found on the beach, she'd been strangled."

"I see. Is Rose okay?" Pete asked him.

"Yes, she's in my office, we are going to find her somewhere else to stay. We have reason to believe they mistook Mandy for Rose."

Pete was hoping Jackie wouldn't walk in. "Why would anyone go after either of them?" Pete asked.

"We are still investigating. Mandy went for an early morning walk on the beach, we believe someone saw the opportunity. We are interviewing all the film crew and other guests at the hotel to find out if anyone saw her leaving."

"Do you think Mandy went out on her own or someone arranged to meet her?" Pete asked, not looking forward to telling Jackie.

Alec hadn't thought of that. Maybe she'd got a text or someone had knocked on her door but her phone was still with the crime lab, he'd have to ask, not that he liked dealing with Brian Young.