Manton Rempville – 4

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Knowles and Barnes drove back to Scoresby station and immediately headed to the forensics laboratory, hoping that Dr Crabtree would have some news for them.

            “Well, Colin, I don’t have that much to tell you, really. You know some of it already. Stabbed in the back with some force by someone slightly taller than the 5ft 7 inch victim – the blade has followed a slightly downward trajectory – victim died instantly and fell in a heap on the ground causing the blade to buckle and bend slightly, so that the murderer was unable to remove the sword cleanly although they had a good go, causing the exit wound to be very messy indeed. There are no fingerprints on the sword whatsoever – it was cleaned before use with a metal polish and quite possibly sharpened too.”

            “Really? That sounds pre-meditated to me,” said Knowles, “go on Dr Crabtree.”

            “We found a red thread on the hilt of the sword, which looks as though it has come from a sheet or towel used to hide the sword from view.”

            “No great surprise there,” said Barnes, “few people could carry a sword without alerting suspicion of some kind.”

            “Whereas carrying a large red towel is perfectly normal and wouldn’t be in any way uncommon,” replied Knowles, “although it was probably carried in a bag for the most effective disguise. What material is the thread?”

            “I think it’s cotton, Colin, we can have it analysed for you.”

            “Yes, please Doctor, I like to be thorough in the affairs of evidence.”

            “Of course, Colin, that won’t be a problem.”

            “And now the all important question – what was the time of death approximately?”

            “Well, I am almost certain the time was 11:06pm.”

            “Give or take an hour or so?” said Barnes.

            “Give or take 30 seconds,” said Knowles, “the doctor is indicating that the victim must have smashed his watch when he fell dead to the ground – are there any fingerprints on the watch?”

            “We’ll have to check, Colin, and let you know when it’s been dusted.”

            “Thank you – I wonder whether he would have smashed his watch though, if he fell on to the grass.”

            “The watch face was broken by something, Colin” said Dr Crabtree showing Knowles the watch, enclosed in a plastic evidence bag.

            “Indeed it was, but there’s no indication it hit the grass, no soil, no colouring of green. Were there any stones lying around where he landed?”

            “Let’s look at the photos, shall we?”

            The men walked over to the doctor’s table and examined the photos that showed the ground around Morgan’s left hand.

            “There’s no stones around where his left hand and wrist would have landed, so what could he have hit the watch on?” pondered Barnes.

            “There’s nothing obvious is there, so either the killer did it to fool us or it was broken before he was killed,” replied Knowles, “so Doctor, what do the other signs tell us about his time of death?”

            “They more or less fit with the watch, I would have put the time at between 10:30 and 11:30pm last night.”

            “Interesting, so I wonder why half-an-hour could make so much difference, if the murderer knew the body wouldn’t be found until the morning?”

            “It has to be to establish an alibi, sir – I can prove I was within Person X at 11:06pm and they will verify that, whereas half-an-hour earlier or later and that alibi would not hold.”

            “Indeed, Sergeant, we shall have to ask our questions very carefully when we meet our suspects.”

            “You have some suspects already, Colin? That was quick work.”

            “Well, I suppose I shouldn’t call them suspects yet, as I haven’t even met them, but I was referring to the people who live at the hall in Manton Rempville. Adelaide Hills saw some people behaving suspiciously when she was discovering the body and they must have all come from the hall.”

            “Try not to bring class politics into the conversation, Colin, especially when there’s a case to be solved.”

            “Right, wait until afterwards, you mean?”

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.

Manton Rempville – 3

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Barnes and Knowles drove their individual vehicles back to Goat Parva and parked outside The Cottage, the residence of Adelaide Hills and her retriever Bingo.

            “Well here we go again, sir,” said Barnes as he knocked on the door and heard the mad barking of Bingo inside.

            “Bingo is in fine voice today, oh how I have missed those desperate notes of happiness from our favourite retriever,” replied Knowles, “give me a cat any second of the day.”

            “And how is Gemma?”

            “I’ve bought her a male friend from the animal shelter in Madeley. His name is Freddie and he knows who’s boss in our house. He tried to pick a fight with Gemma on his second day in residence and he won’t be doing that again. She has a mean straight right and it scratched his nose quite badly. He was so upset; he hides behind me whenever he can…oh here she is.”

            Adelaide Hills opened the door and smiled at the two officers.

            “Sergeant Barnes and Inspector Knowles, what a pleasant surprise, I rather thought we’d never meet like this again, but how wrong I was.”

            “Well, we thought the same thing, but Bingo has a nose for a dead body, ” grinned Barnes.

            “You won’t be having me followed on my morning walks will you, Inspector Knowles?”

            “Not yet, Adelaide, not yet. Could we come in it’s a bit cold out here?”

            “Of course, where are my manners – Bingo stop there and allow these two gentlemen to pass by.”

            Bingo withdrew slightly, but eyed the shoes of the two policemen with great suspicion.

            Knowles and Barnes sat on Adelaide Hills’s settee in her living room and declined her offer of a cup of tea.

            Barnes began: “Adelaide, you and Bingo were walking this morning near Manton Rempville when something quite familiar happened.”

            “Yes, Sergeant, Bingo started barking when we walking through the monastery grounds and straining at his leash and I followed him into the refectory where we saw that man who had been stabbed with the sword.”

            “Did Bingo take anything?

“No, he was on a tight leash, and I have learnt my lesson. I phoned you from the scene of the crime and waited until your local constable arrived from Norton-juxta-Wychwood and then went home. Bingo didn’t pick up anything from the scene and didn’t take any clothing.”

            “Things are improving – now did you see anyone in the area of the monastery, Adelaide?”

            “I did Sergeant, there were three young men horsing around as they walked through the trees away from me towards Manton Rempville Hall and also a youngish couple sitting on a fence by the monastery car park having an animated discussion. There were no vehicles in the car park, so I presume they’d walked there too. I also heard an older couple arguing about some money related subject, wills etc when I was walking back here after the constable had arrived.”

            “And how old were the young men and the youngish couple would you say?”

            “The young men were around 20 and the youngish couple were slightly older, say around 25, but no older than that.”

            “When you say the young men were horsing around – what were they doing?”

            “They were fooling around, pretending they had swords and fighting each other.”

            “That’s a very strange coincidence, isn’t it?”

            “I suppose so, Inspector, but could their horse-play and the murderer’s modus operandi be connected, do you think?”

            “We’ll be heading to the big hall later on today, so we’ll find out who you saw and why they were acting in that manner.”

            “Well I hope I have been of help, Inspector, and do call again if you need to ask any more questions.”

            “We will certainly do that, Adelaide, thank you.”

            As the two policemen left, Bingo looked rather sad. Neither of the two men had patted him on the head as they passed him. He must have done something wrong again.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.

40 Humourous British Traditions

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Bog Snorkelling, 
  • Bonfire Night, 
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones.
All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
If you like any of the following authors, this book is for you: 
Terry Pratchett
David Sedaris
Kate Forrester
Ken Follett
Janet Evanovich
Kevin Wilson
Neil Gaiman
Excerpt: Cat Chasing from Barton-in-the-Beans:

Barton-in-the-Beans is a village in the county of Leicestershire in the heart of England. In the Middle Ages it was believed that there were more cats in the village than in any other village or town in the country. This could only mean one thing in those times: witches.  Lots of them.

            There was no lake near the village. The local chalk soil drained easily so even after heavy rain no large puddles formed. Thus deprived of his best known method of determining who was a witch, the local Witchfinder-General Roger Boydell hit upon a novel method for searching out the local witches. 

            He determined that witches are very attached to their cats; at the equinoxes and the solstices he told his henchmen to round up all the village cats and place them into a large pen. At his signal, a man would allow three of the creatures to escape from the pen. These cats would be chased by the Witchfinder-General’s fitter cronies around the village. If any woman chased after the man chasing her cat, especially on a broomstick, she was determined to be a witch and sent off to Leicester for burning on the High Cross.

            This tradition lasted for 400 years, comfortably outlasting the role of Witchfinder-General by over 300 years. In the mid-20th Century, as people became aware of diets and exercise, it was noticed that the cats of Barton-in-the-Beans were the leanest, fittest, and most athletic cats in the whole county.

            Gradually from all over the country owners of fat, unfit, and lazy cats brought their animals to the quarterly cat-chasing extravaganza. However, some of these owners refused to chase their cat through the village and both owner and cat were sent packing.

            Other owners forgot their witch costumes and were disqualified. Distracted by the local mice population in the surrounding fields, some cats were lost forever. Sadly, some owners were as unfit as their animals and finished up at Leicester’s High Cross hospital.

            The Barton-in-the-Beans Cat Chasing is Leicestershire’s largest group event and is held four times a year with around 500 cats participating over a long weekend. The sponsors of the event include Which? magazine and the Egyptian Embassy.  

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Manton Rempville – 3

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Barnes and Knowles drove their individual vehicles back to Goat Parva and parked outside The Cottage, the residence of Adelaide Hills and her retriever Bingo.

            “Well here we go again, sir,” said Barnes as he knocked on the door and heard the mad barking of Bingo inside.

            “Bingo is in fine voice today, oh how I have missed those desperate notes of happiness from our favourite retriever,” replied Knowles, “give me a cat any second of the day.”

            “And how is Gemma?”

            “I’ve bought her a male friend from the animal shelter in Madeley. His name is Freddie and he knows who’s boss in our house. He tried to pick a fight with Gemma on his second day in residence and he won’t be doing that again. She has a mean straight right and it scratched his nose quite badly. He was so upset; he hides behind me whenever he can…oh here she is.”

            Adelaide Hills opened the door and smiled at the two officers.

            “Sergeant Barnes and Inspector Knowles, what a pleasant surprise, I rather thought we’d never meet like this again, but how wrong I was.”

            “Well, we thought the same thing, but Bingo has a nose for a dead body, ” grinned Barnes.

            “You won’t be having me followed on my morning walks will you, Inspector Knowles?”

            “Not yet, Adelaide, not yet. Could we come in it’s a bit cold out here?”

            “Of course, where are my manners – Bingo stop there and allow these two gentlemen to pass by.”

            Bingo withdrew slightly, but eyed the shoes of the two policemen with great suspicion.

            Knowles and Barnes sat on Adelaide Hills’s settee in her living room and declined her offer of a cup of tea.

            Barnes began: “Adelaide, you and Bingo were walking this morning near Manton Rempville when something quite familiar happened.”

            “Yes, Sergeant, Bingo started barking when we walking through the monastery grounds and straining at his leash and I followed him into the refectory where we saw that man who had been stabbed with the sword.”

            “Did Bingo take anything?

“No, he was on a tight leash, and I have learnt my lesson. I phoned you from the scene of the crime and waited until your local constable arrived from Norton-juxta-Wychwood and then went home. Bingo didn’t pick up anything from the scene and didn’t take any clothing.”

            “Things are improving – now did you see anyone in the area of the monastery, Adelaide?”

            “I did Sergeant, there were three young men horsing around as they walked through the trees away from me towards Manton Rempville Hall and also a youngish couple sitting on a fence by the monastery car park having an animated discussion. There were no vehicles in the car park, so I presume they’d walked there too. I also heard an older couple arguing about some money related subject, wills etc when I was walking back here after the constable had arrived.”

            “And how old were the young men and the youngish couple would you say?”

            “The young men were around 20 and the youngish couple were slightly older, say around 25, but no older than that.”

            “When you say the young men were horsing around – what were they doing?”

            “They were fooling around, pretending they had swords and fighting each other.”

            “That’s a very strange coincidence, isn’t it?”

            “I suppose so, Inspector, but could their horse-play and the murderer’s modus operandi be connected, do you think?”

            “We’ll be heading to the big hall later on today, so we’ll find out who you saw and why they were acting in that manner.”

            “Well I hope I have been of help, Inspector, and do call again if you need to ask any more questions.”

            “We will certainly do that, Adelaide, thank you.”

            As the two policemen left, Bingo looked rather sad. Neither of the two men had patted him on the head as they passed him. He must have done something wrong again.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.

Traditions of Britain

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Bog Snorkelling, 
  • Bonfire Night, 
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones.
All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
If you like any of the following authors, this book is for you: 
Terry Pratchett
David Sedaris
Kate Forrester
Ken Follett
Janet Evanovich
Kevin Wilson
Neil Gaiman
Excerpt: Cat Chasing from Barton-in-the-Beans:

Barton-in-the-Beans is a village in the county of Leicestershire in the heart of England. In the Middle Ages it was believed that there were more cats in the village than in any other village or town in the country. This could only mean one thing in those times: witches.  Lots of them.

            There was no lake near the village. The local chalk soil drained easily so even after heavy rain no large puddles formed. Thus deprived of his best known method of determining who was a witch, the local Witchfinder-General Roger Boydell hit upon a novel method for searching out the local witches. 

            He determined that witches are very attached to their cats; at the equinoxes and the solstices he told his henchmen to round up all the village cats and place them into a large pen. At his signal, a man would allow three of the creatures to escape from the pen. These cats would be chased by the Witchfinder-General’s fitter cronies around the village. If any woman chased after the man chasing her cat, especially on a broomstick, she was determined to be a witch and sent off to Leicester for burning on the High Cross.

            This tradition lasted for 400 years, comfortably outlasting the role of Witchfinder-General by over 300 years. In the mid-20th Century, as people became aware of diets and exercise, it was noticed that the cats of Barton-in-the-Beans were the leanest, fittest, and most athletic cats in the whole county.

            Gradually from all over the country owners of fat, unfit, and lazy cats brought their animals to the quarterly cat-chasing extravaganza. However, some of these owners refused to chase their cat through the village and both owner and cat were sent packing.

            Other owners forgot their witch costumes and were disqualified. Distracted by the local mice population in the surrounding fields, some cats were lost forever. Sadly, some owners were as unfit as their animals and finished up at Leicester’s High Cross hospital.

            The Barton-in-the-Beans Cat Chasing is Leicestershire’s largest group event and is held four times a year with around 500 cats participating over a long weekend. The sponsors of the event include Which? magazine and the Egyptian Embassy.  

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Manton Rempville – 3

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Barnes and Knowles drove their individual vehicles back to Goat Parva and parked outside The Cottage, the residence of Adelaide Hills and her retriever Bingo.

            “Well here we go again, sir,” said Barnes as he knocked on the door and heard the mad barking of Bingo inside.

            “Bingo is in fine voice today, oh how I have missed those desperate notes of happiness from our favourite retriever,” replied Knowles, “give me a cat any second of the day.”

            “And how is Gemma?”

            “I’ve bought her a male friend from the animal shelter in Madeley. His name is Freddie and he knows who’s boss in our house. He tried to pick a fight with Gemma on his second day in residence and he won’t be doing that again. She has a mean straight right and it scratched his nose quite badly. He was so upset; he hides behind me whenever he can…oh here she is.”

            Adelaide Hills opened the door and smiled at the two officers.

            “Sergeant Barnes and Inspector Knowles, what a pleasant surprise, I rather thought we’d never meet like this again, but how wrong I was.”

            “Well, we thought the same thing, but Bingo has a nose for a dead body, ” grinned Barnes.

            “You won’t be having me followed on my morning walks will you, Inspector Knowles?”

            “Not yet, Adelaide, not yet. Could we come in it’s a bit cold out here?”

            “Of course, where are my manners – Bingo stop there and allow these two gentlemen to pass by.”

            Bingo withdrew slightly, but eyed the shoes of the two policemen with great suspicion.

            Knowles and Barnes sat on Adelaide Hills’s settee in her living room and declined her offer of a cup of tea.

            Barnes began: “Adelaide, you and Bingo were walking this morning near Manton Rempville when something quite familiar happened.”

            “Yes, Sergeant, Bingo started barking when we walking through the monastery grounds and straining at his leash and I followed him into the refectory where we saw that man who had been stabbed with the sword.”

            “Did Bingo take anything?

“No, he was on a tight leash, and I have learnt my lesson. I phoned you from the scene of the crime and waited until your local constable arrived from Norton-juxta-Wychwood and then went home. Bingo didn’t pick up anything from the scene and didn’t take any clothing.”

            “Things are improving – now did you see anyone in the area of the monastery, Adelaide?”

            “I did Sergeant, there were three young men horsing around as they walked through the trees away from me towards Manton Rempville Hall and also a youngish couple sitting on a fence by the monastery car park having an animated discussion. There were no vehicles in the car park, so I presume they’d walked there too. I also heard an older couple arguing about some money related subject, wills etc when I was walking back here after the constable had arrived.”

            “And how old were the young men and the youngish couple would you say?”

            “The young men were around 20 and the youngish couple were slightly older, say around 25, but no older than that.”

            “When you say the young men were horsing around – what were they doing?”

            “They were fooling around, pretending they had swords and fighting each other.”

            “That’s a very strange coincidence, isn’t it?”

            “I suppose so, Inspector, but could their horse-play and the murderer’s modus operandi be connected, do you think?”

            “We’ll be heading to the big hall later on today, so we’ll find out who you saw and why they were acting in that manner.”

            “Well I hope I have been of help, Inspector, and do call again if you need to ask any more questions.”

            “We will certainly do that, Adelaide, thank you.”

            As the two policemen left, Bingo looked rather sad. Neither of the two men had patted him on the head as they passed him. He must have done something wrong again.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.

British Traditions

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Bog Snorkelling, 
  • Bonfire Night, 
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones.
All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
If you like any of the following authors, this book is for you: 
Terry Pratchett
David Sedaris
Kate Forrester
Ken Follett
Janet Evanovich
Kevin Wilson
Neil Gaiman
Excerpt: Cat Chasing from Barton-in-the-Beans:

Barton-in-the-Beans is a village in the county of Leicestershire in the heart of England. In the Middle Ages it was believed that there were more cats in the village than in any other village or town in the country. This could only mean one thing in those times: witches.  Lots of them.

            There was no lake near the village. The local chalk soil drained easily so even after heavy rain no large puddles formed. Thus deprived of his best known method of determining who was a witch, the local Witchfinder-General Roger Boydell hit upon a novel method for searching out the local witches. 

            He determined that witches are very attached to their cats; at the equinoxes and the solstices he told his henchmen to round up all the village cats and place them into a large pen. At his signal, a man would allow three of the creatures to escape from the pen. These cats would be chased by the Witchfinder-General’s fitter cronies around the village. If any woman chased after the man chasing her cat, especially on a broomstick, she was determined to be a witch and sent off to Leicester for burning on the High Cross.

            This tradition lasted for 400 years, comfortably outlasting the role of Witchfinder-General by over 300 years. In the mid-20th Century, as people became aware of diets and exercise, it was noticed that the cats of Barton-in-the-Beans were the leanest, fittest, and most athletic cats in the whole county.

            Gradually from all over the country owners of fat, unfit, and lazy cats brought their animals to the quarterly cat-chasing extravaganza. However, some of these owners refused to chase their cat through the village and both owner and cat were sent packing.

            Other owners forgot their witch costumes and were disqualified. Distracted by the local mice population in the surrounding fields, some cats were lost forever. Sadly, some owners were as unfit as their animals and finished up at Leicester’s High Cross hospital.

            The Barton-in-the-Beans Cat Chasing is Leicestershire’s largest group event and is held four times a year with around 500 cats participating over a long weekend. The sponsors of the event include Which? magazine and the Egyptian Embassy.  

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Manton Rempville – 3

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Barnes and Knowles drove their individual vehicles back to Goat Parva and parked outside The Cottage, the residence of Adelaide Hills and her retriever Bingo.

            “Well here we go again, sir,” said Barnes as he knocked on the door and heard the mad barking of Bingo inside.

            “Bingo is in fine voice today, oh how I have missed those desperate notes of happiness from our favourite retriever,” replied Knowles, “give me a cat any second of the day.”

            “And how is Gemma?”

            “I’ve bought her a male friend from the animal shelter in Madeley. His name is Freddie and he knows who’s boss in our house. He tried to pick a fight with Gemma on his second day in residence and he won’t be doing that again. She has a mean straight right and it scratched his nose quite badly. He was so upset; he hides behind me whenever he can…oh here she is.”

            Adelaide Hills opened the door and smiled at the two officers.

            “Sergeant Barnes and Inspector Knowles, what a pleasant surprise, I rather thought we’d never meet like this again, but how wrong I was.”

            “Well, we thought the same thing, but Bingo has a nose for a dead body, ” grinned Barnes.

            “You won’t be having me followed on my morning walks will you, Inspector Knowles?”

            “Not yet, Adelaide, not yet. Could we come in it’s a bit cold out here?”

            “Of course, where are my manners – Bingo stop there and allow these two gentlemen to pass by.”

            Bingo withdrew slightly, but eyed the shoes of the two policemen with great suspicion.

            Knowles and Barnes sat on Adelaide Hills’s settee in her living room and declined her offer of a cup of tea.

            Barnes began: “Adelaide, you and Bingo were walking this morning near Manton Rempville when something quite familiar happened.”

            “Yes, Sergeant, Bingo started barking when we walking through the monastery grounds and straining at his leash and I followed him into the refectory where we saw that man who had been stabbed with the sword.”

            “Did Bingo take anything?

“No, he was on a tight leash, and I have learnt my lesson. I phoned you from the scene of the crime and waited until your local constable arrived from Norton-juxta-Wychwood and then went home. Bingo didn’t pick up anything from the scene and didn’t take any clothing.”

            “Things are improving – now did you see anyone in the area of the monastery, Adelaide?”

            “I did Sergeant, there were three young men horsing around as they walked through the trees away from me towards Manton Rempville Hall and also a youngish couple sitting on a fence by the monastery car park having an animated discussion. There were no vehicles in the car park, so I presume they’d walked there too. I also heard an older couple arguing about some money related subject, wills etc when I was walking back here after the constable had arrived.”

            “And how old were the young men and the youngish couple would you say?”

            “The young men were around 20 and the youngish couple were slightly older, say around 25, but no older than that.”

            “When you say the young men were horsing around – what were they doing?”

            “They were fooling around, pretending they had swords and fighting each other.”

            “That’s a very strange coincidence, isn’t it?”

            “I suppose so, Inspector, but could their horse-play and the murderer’s modus operandi be connected, do you think?”

            “We’ll be heading to the big hall later on today, so we’ll find out who you saw and why they were acting in that manner.”

            “Well I hope I have been of help, Inspector, and do call again if you need to ask any more questions.”

            “We will certainly do that, Adelaide, thank you.”

            As the two policemen left, Bingo looked rather sad. Neither of the two men had patted him on the head as they passed him. He must have done something wrong again.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.

Traditions

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Bog Snorkelling, 
  • Bonfire Night, 
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones.
All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
If you like any of the following authors, this book is for you: 
Terry Pratchett
David Sedaris
Kate Forrester
Ken Follett
Janet Evanovich
Kevin Wilson
Neil Gaiman
Excerpt: Cat Chasing from Barton-in-the-Beans:

Barton-in-the-Beans is a village in the county of Leicestershire in the heart of England. In the Middle Ages it was believed that there were more cats in the village than in any other village or town in the country. This could only mean one thing in those times: witches.  Lots of them.

            There was no lake near the village. The local chalk soil drained easily so even after heavy rain no large puddles formed. Thus deprived of his best known method of determining who was a witch, the local Witchfinder-General Roger Boydell hit upon a novel method for searching out the local witches. 

            He determined that witches are very attached to their cats; at the equinoxes and the solstices he told his henchmen to round up all the village cats and place them into a large pen. At his signal, a man would allow three of the creatures to escape from the pen. These cats would be chased by the Witchfinder-General’s fitter cronies around the village. If any woman chased after the man chasing her cat, especially on a broomstick, she was determined to be a witch and sent off to Leicester for burning on the High Cross.

            This tradition lasted for 400 years, comfortably outlasting the role of Witchfinder-General by over 300 years. In the mid-20th Century, as people became aware of diets and exercise, it was noticed that the cats of Barton-in-the-Beans were the leanest, fittest, and most athletic cats in the whole county.

            Gradually from all over the country owners of fat, unfit, and lazy cats brought their animals to the quarterly cat-chasing extravaganza. However, some of these owners refused to chase their cat through the village and both owner and cat were sent packing.

            Other owners forgot their witch costumes and were disqualified. Distracted by the local mice population in the surrounding fields, some cats were lost forever. Sadly, some owners were as unfit as their animals and finished up at Leicester’s High Cross hospital.

            The Barton-in-the-Beans Cat Chasing is Leicestershire’s largest group event and is held four times a year with around 500 cats participating over a long weekend. The sponsors of the event include Which? magazine and the Egyptian Embassy.  

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Manton Rempville – 3

This is my second homage to the detective story. I’ve always loved mystery stories by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L Sayers. I watched many DVDs of detective series from the UK and this was the spark to start the creative process. I have tried to add some humour into the book. The Manton Rempville Murders is the second in the Inspector Knowles Mysteries and reacquaints the reader with Knowles and his Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes, who were first introduced in The Goat Parva Murders.

==========   

Barnes and Knowles drove their individual vehicles back to Goat Parva and parked outside The Cottage, the residence of Adelaide Hills and her retriever Bingo.

            “Well here we go again, sir,” said Barnes as he knocked on the door and heard the mad barking of Bingo inside.

            “Bingo is in fine voice today, oh how I have missed those desperate notes of happiness from our favourite retriever,” replied Knowles, “give me a cat any second of the day.”

            “And how is Gemma?”

            “I’ve bought her a male friend from the animal shelter in Madeley. His name is Freddie and he knows who’s boss in our house. He tried to pick a fight with Gemma on his second day in residence and he won’t be doing that again. She has a mean straight right and it scratched his nose quite badly. He was so upset; he hides behind me whenever he can…oh here she is.”

            Adelaide Hills opened the door and smiled at the two officers.

            “Sergeant Barnes and Inspector Knowles, what a pleasant surprise, I rather thought we’d never meet like this again, but how wrong I was.”

            “Well, we thought the same thing, but Bingo has a nose for a dead body, ” grinned Barnes.

            “You won’t be having me followed on my morning walks will you, Inspector Knowles?”

            “Not yet, Adelaide, not yet. Could we come in it’s a bit cold out here?”

            “Of course, where are my manners – Bingo stop there and allow these two gentlemen to pass by.”

            Bingo withdrew slightly, but eyed the shoes of the two policemen with great suspicion.

            Knowles and Barnes sat on Adelaide Hills’s settee in her living room and declined her offer of a cup of tea.

            Barnes began: “Adelaide, you and Bingo were walking this morning near Manton Rempville when something quite familiar happened.”

            “Yes, Sergeant, Bingo started barking when we walking through the monastery grounds and straining at his leash and I followed him into the refectory where we saw that man who had been stabbed with the sword.”

            “Did Bingo take anything?

“No, he was on a tight leash, and I have learnt my lesson. I phoned you from the scene of the crime and waited until your local constable arrived from Norton-juxta-Wychwood and then went home. Bingo didn’t pick up anything from the scene and didn’t take any clothing.”

            “Things are improving – now did you see anyone in the area of the monastery, Adelaide?”

            “I did Sergeant, there were three young men horsing around as they walked through the trees away from me towards Manton Rempville Hall and also a youngish couple sitting on a fence by the monastery car park having an animated discussion. There were no vehicles in the car park, so I presume they’d walked there too. I also heard an older couple arguing about some money related subject, wills etc when I was walking back here after the constable had arrived.”

            “And how old were the young men and the youngish couple would you say?”

            “The young men were around 20 and the youngish couple were slightly older, say around 25, but no older than that.”

            “When you say the young men were horsing around – what were they doing?”

            “They were fooling around, pretending they had swords and fighting each other.”

            “That’s a very strange coincidence, isn’t it?”

            “I suppose so, Inspector, but could their horse-play and the murderer’s modus operandi be connected, do you think?”

            “We’ll be heading to the big hall later on today, so we’ll find out who you saw and why they were acting in that manner.”

            “Well I hope I have been of help, Inspector, and do call again if you need to ask any more questions.”

            “We will certainly do that, Adelaide, thank you.”

            As the two policemen left, Bingo looked rather sad. Neither of the two men had patted him on the head as they passed him. He must have done something wrong again.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing mysteries and thrillers, especially on topics close to my heart. A list of my books, both about travel and other subjects, can be found here.