Manton Rempville – 6

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.

==========   

“They sound like a firm of undertakers to me,” replied Barnes, “but presumably they’re the gardeners or the chauffeurs or one of each.”

Barnes phone rang and he listened intently for around a minute, while Knowles tried to work out why anyone would shape a box hedge into the shape of a box. “These people have too much leisure time and too much money,” he thought as Barnes finished his call and look at him with a smile on his face.

“That was PC Smythe – she has run some checks on Edward Morgan and guess where he used to work?”

“He was a knife-grinder,” said Knowles, not expecting to be right – he didn’t like it when Barnes smiled at him; he felt like Barnes enjoyed knowing things that he didn’t.

“He might have done something similar in his role as a sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall.”

“When did he stop working as a knife-grinding sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall?” enquired Knowles.

“Three months ago, yesterday. He was dismissed because some money went missing from the house.”

“Really, well I wonder whether he was ever given the opportunity to deny the allegations? I don’t suppose we shall ever know, now that he’s dead.”

As he spoke, Miss Newton returned with two 17-year old boys and a strikingly beautiful red-headed girl of about 19.

“Hello, I am Toby Johnson,” said one of the boys, shaking Barnes by the hand, “this is my friend from Harrow, Basil Fawcett, and his amazing sister Henry. She’s a stunner isn’t she? You must be the police who want to interview us.”

“We are Toby,” said Knowles, “I am Inspector Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Barnes.”

“Anything of importance?” enquired Basil Fawcett, tossing his head slightly so that his brown hair fell in front of his eyes. He cleared it away with the back of his left hand.

“It’s very important I can assure you,” said Knowles, “and we will let you know in the fullness of time.”

“Come on Basil,” said Henry Fawcett, “Let’s leave the policeman to their own devices and go in to the lower library. By the way, Sergeant Barnes, my real name is Henrietta, not Henry. If you’d like to make a note of that.”

And with that the three walked into the hall followed at an appropriate distance by Miss Newton.

Barnes had turned slightly red. Knowles looked at him and shook his head.

“Have you made a note, Sergeant?”

“No sir, I haven’t – I had realized she was a girl.”

“I can tell, Sergeant Barnes, as I think she could too. Think of a nice cold shower and you’ll be fine.”            

“I wonder who this?” said Barnes, pleased to be able to change the subject, “it’s probably the gardener judging by his gloves.”

“Afternoon, gentlemen, are you the police who require my presence in the lower library?”

“Indeed we are, I am Sergeant Barnes and this is Inspector Knowles.”

“Please to meet you both, I am the gardener, Jim Jenkins, I will see you in there in a few minutes; it’ll take me an age to take my boots off.”

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 – 6

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.

==========   

“They sound like a firm of undertakers to me,” replied Barnes, “but presumably they’re the gardeners or the chauffeurs or one of each.”

Barnes phone rang and he listened intently for around a minute, while Knowles tried to work out why anyone would shape a box hedge into the shape of a box. “These people have too much leisure time and too much money,” he thought as Barnes finished his call and look at him with a smile on his face.

“That was PC Smythe – she has run some checks on Edward Morgan and guess where he used to work?”

“He was a knife-grinder,” said Knowles, not expecting to be right – he didn’t like it when Barnes smiled at him; he felt like Barnes enjoyed knowing things that he didn’t.

“He might have done something similar in his role as a sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall.”

“When did he stop working as a knife-grinding sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall?” enquired Knowles.

“Three months ago, yesterday. He was dismissed because some money went missing from the house.”

“Really, well I wonder whether he was ever given the opportunity to deny the allegations? I don’t suppose we shall ever know, now that he’s dead.”

As he spoke, Miss Newton returned with two 17-year old boys and a strikingly beautiful red-headed girl of about 19.

“Hello, I am Toby Johnson,” said one of the boys, shaking Barnes by the hand, “this is my friend from Harrow, Basil Fawcett, and his amazing sister Henry. She’s a stunner isn’t she? You must be the police who want to interview us.”

“We are Toby,” said Knowles, “I am Inspector Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Barnes.”

“Anything of importance?” enquired Basil Fawcett, tossing his head slightly so that his brown hair fell in front of his eyes. He cleared it away with the back of his left hand.

“It’s very important I can assure you,” said Knowles, “and we will let you know in the fullness of time.”

“Come on Basil,” said Henry Fawcett, “Let’s leave the policeman to their own devices and go in to the lower library. By the way, Sergeant Barnes, my real name is Henrietta, not Henry. If you’d like to make a note of that.”

And with that the three walked into the hall followed at an appropriate distance by Miss Newton.

Barnes had turned slightly red. Knowles looked at him and shook his head.

“Have you made a note, Sergeant?”

“No sir, I haven’t – I had realized she was a girl.”

“I can tell, Sergeant Barnes, as I think she could too. Think of a nice cold shower and you’ll be fine.”            

“I wonder who this?” said Barnes, pleased to be able to change the subject, “it’s probably the gardener judging by his gloves.”

“Afternoon, gentlemen, are you the police who require my presence in the lower library?”

“Indeed we are, I am Sergeant Barnes and this is Inspector Knowles.”

“Please to meet you both, I am the gardener, Jim Jenkins, I will see you in there in a few minutes; it’ll take me an age to take my boots off.”

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 – 6

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.

==========   

“They sound like a firm of undertakers to me,” replied Barnes, “but presumably they’re the gardeners or the chauffeurs or one of each.”

Barnes phone rang and he listened intently for around a minute, while Knowles tried to work out why anyone would shape a box hedge into the shape of a box. “These people have too much leisure time and too much money,” he thought as Barnes finished his call and look at him with a smile on his face.

“That was PC Smythe – she has run some checks on Edward Morgan and guess where he used to work?”

“He was a knife-grinder,” said Knowles, not expecting to be right – he didn’t like it when Barnes smiled at him; he felt like Barnes enjoyed knowing things that he didn’t.

“He might have done something similar in his role as a sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall.”

“When did he stop working as a knife-grinding sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall?” enquired Knowles.

“Three months ago, yesterday. He was dismissed because some money went missing from the house.”

“Really, well I wonder whether he was ever given the opportunity to deny the allegations? I don’t suppose we shall ever know, now that he’s dead.”

As he spoke, Miss Newton returned with two 17-year old boys and a strikingly beautiful red-headed girl of about 19.

“Hello, I am Toby Johnson,” said one of the boys, shaking Barnes by the hand, “this is my friend from Harrow, Basil Fawcett, and his amazing sister Henry. She’s a stunner isn’t she? You must be the police who want to interview us.”

“We are Toby,” said Knowles, “I am Inspector Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Barnes.”

“Anything of importance?” enquired Basil Fawcett, tossing his head slightly so that his brown hair fell in front of his eyes. He cleared it away with the back of his left hand.

“It’s very important I can assure you,” said Knowles, “and we will let you know in the fullness of time.”

“Come on Basil,” said Henry Fawcett, “Let’s leave the policeman to their own devices and go in to the lower library. By the way, Sergeant Barnes, my real name is Henrietta, not Henry. If you’d like to make a note of that.”

And with that the three walked into the hall followed at an appropriate distance by Miss Newton.

Barnes had turned slightly red. Knowles looked at him and shook his head.

“Have you made a note, Sergeant?”

“No sir, I haven’t – I had realized she was a girl.”

“I can tell, Sergeant Barnes, as I think she could too. Think of a nice cold shower and you’ll be fine.”            

“I wonder who this?” said Barnes, pleased to be able to change the subject, “it’s probably the gardener judging by his gloves.”

“Afternoon, gentlemen, are you the police who require my presence in the lower library?”

“Indeed we are, I am Sergeant Barnes and this is Inspector Knowles.”

“Please to meet you both, I am the gardener, Jim Jenkins, I will see you in there in a few minutes; it’ll take me an age to take my boots off.”

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 – 6

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.

==========   

“They sound like a firm of undertakers to me,” replied Barnes, “but presumably they’re the gardeners or the chauffeurs or one of each.”

Barnes phone rang and he listened intently for around a minute, while Knowles tried to work out why anyone would shape a box hedge into the shape of a box. “These people have too much leisure time and too much money,” he thought as Barnes finished his call and look at him with a smile on his face.

“That was PC Smythe – she has run some checks on Edward Morgan and guess where he used to work?”

“He was a knife-grinder,” said Knowles, not expecting to be right – he didn’t like it when Barnes smiled at him; he felt like Barnes enjoyed knowing things that he didn’t.

“He might have done something similar in his role as a sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall.”

“When did he stop working as a knife-grinding sub-gardener here at Manton Rempville Hall?” enquired Knowles.

“Three months ago, yesterday. He was dismissed because some money went missing from the house.”

“Really, well I wonder whether he was ever given the opportunity to deny the allegations? I don’t suppose we shall ever know, now that he’s dead.”

As he spoke, Miss Newton returned with two 17-year old boys and a strikingly beautiful red-headed girl of about 19.

“Hello, I am Toby Johnson,” said one of the boys, shaking Barnes by the hand, “this is my friend from Harrow, Basil Fawcett, and his amazing sister Henry. She’s a stunner isn’t she? You must be the police who want to interview us.”

“We are Toby,” said Knowles, “I am Inspector Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Barnes.”

“Anything of importance?” enquired Basil Fawcett, tossing his head slightly so that his brown hair fell in front of his eyes. He cleared it away with the back of his left hand.

“It’s very important I can assure you,” said Knowles, “and we will let you know in the fullness of time.”

“Come on Basil,” said Henry Fawcett, “Let’s leave the policeman to their own devices and go in to the lower library. By the way, Sergeant Barnes, my real name is Henrietta, not Henry. If you’d like to make a note of that.”

And with that the three walked into the hall followed at an appropriate distance by Miss Newton.

Barnes had turned slightly red. Knowles looked at him and shook his head.

“Have you made a note, Sergeant?”

“No sir, I haven’t – I had realized she was a girl.”

“I can tell, Sergeant Barnes, as I think she could too. Think of a nice cold shower and you’ll be fine.”            

“I wonder who this?” said Barnes, pleased to be able to change the subject, “it’s probably the gardener judging by his gloves.”

“Afternoon, gentlemen, are you the police who require my presence in the lower library?”

“Indeed we are, I am Sergeant Barnes and this is Inspector Knowles.”

“Please to meet you both, I am the gardener, Jim Jenkins, I will see you in there in a few minutes; it’ll take me an age to take my boots off.”

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 – 5

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.

==========   

“Something like that, yes, and don’t forget that Sir Michael Johnson, who owns Manton Rempville Hall, is a personal friend of the Chief Constable, and any complaints will go straight to that level.”

            “Thank you for the warning, Doctor Crabtree, I will bear what you say in mind, but I do have to find a murderer after all and that’s the main aim of my investigation. Now, do you have a nice picture of the sword that I can show to the people at the hall, preferably one that doesn’t show it sticking into Mr Edward Morgan? That would be quite tasteless, wouldn’t it Sergeant?”

            “It would indeed, sir, because we do need those people to be able to easily identify the sword and not have their recall impaired by seeing a dead body.”

            “We have a nice picture here, Colin, which people will enjoy looking at.”

            “Thanks, Doctor Crabtree, my compliments to the photographer.”

            With that, Knowles and Barnes left the lab and headed over to Manton Rempville Hall in Barnes’ sleek white Morgan, which Knowles thought would impress the upper-class individuals they were about to meet.

========

Chapter 2 – Monday, 11:30am

                   Barnes drove his Morgan down the carefully manicured driveway of Manton Rempville Hall, while Knowles stared at the yew hedges, which had been sheared into interesting shapes that he couldn’t quite recognise. After they’d parked, Knowles walked over to one of the hedges and pointed.

            “What do you think they’re supposed to be, Barnesy, these shapes?”

            Barnes looked at Knowles, who was moving his head around to try and get the right angle for a correct identification of the topiary.

            “Well, Inspector, isn’t that one a mouse and this one here a hedgehog?”

            “It could be a hedgehog I suppose, but I thought it might be a crouching lion – you see there’s the mane and that’s definitely a tail…”

            “Excuse me, this is private property,” said a very posh female voice, “if you don’t leave I will call the police.”

            “Well, there’s no need, because we are already here, madam,” said Knowles brandishing his identification card in the lady’s face, “I am Detective Inspector Colin Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes. We are here to ask you and your family about the death that occurred in the grounds of the monastery earlier today.”

            “Death, you say, is that why there were all those sirens keeping us awake at some ungodly hour?”

            “Those sirens were the ambulance and police cars rushing to the scene of a murder. I am sorry, but I don’t know your name.”

            “The impertinence – I am Lady Bunny Johnson, if you must know, and why do those people put on their sirens when the murdered person is already dead and there’s no reason to rush?”

            “Thank you, Lady Johnson, I do need to know your name and there is always a reason to rush to a murder scene as vital evidence can easily be lost if the police aren’t on the scene as soon as possible.”

            “Really – it doesn’t seem necessary to me; perhaps they could put them on just in the afternoons?”

            “We’ll see about that; anyway, how many people do you have in the hall at the moment – I would like to interview them all, please.”

            “I’ll ask the butler, Fairfax, to gather the staff together in the lower library for you.”

            “I would like to interview everyone in the house, staff, family, and house guests, if there are any of course.”

            “You surely can’t believe that any members of the family, my family, would be involved in anything as sordid as a murder?”

            “The murder was committed on a property adjacent to this hall, last night, so I would like to eliminate every person in this hall from my enquiries as soon as possible. So, Lady Johnson, if you please can you gather everyone in the library…”

            “Which one, we have two?”

            “…please gather everyone in the lower library in fifteen minutes from now, so Sergeant Barnes and I can find out where everyone was last night.”

            “I’ll ask Fairfax to gather the family and then he can go and get Wilkinson and Jenkins. I will ask Miss Newton to rouse everyone in The Coach House.”

With that Lady Johnson had gone.

“I presume that’s The Coach House over there,” said Barnes pointing to a two-storey brick building behind some topiary bushes.

As if on cue, a youngish maid wearing an apron dashed out of the front door of the hall and headed in the direction of the building.

“That must be Miss Newton doing as she has been bid by her boss,” growled Knowles, “and I wonder who Wilkinson and Jenkins are?”

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.

Goat Parva Murders

This excerpt is from the book entitled The Goat Parva Murders an English Murder Mystery book set in the countryside, starring two policemen who have been working together for a few years and get along really well. There’s lots of dialogue and banter with some humour thrown in amongst the murders and suspects.

==========

The stalker trained his binoculars on the ground floor lounge window where Danica Baker-Clements could be seen in her underwear watching TV. Danica’s blonde hair tumbled over artificially brown shoulders and the rhododendron branches twitched as the binoculars moved slowly over her complete loveliness. An owl screeched in the trees behind the stalker – the bird was catching mice in Doggett’s Field near the Baker-Clements’ house and had been disturbed. The warm night air was filled with the scent of honeysuckle.

The stalker was anticipating Mrs Baker-Clements removing her clothes during the evening as was the custom on Tuesdays and so intent was he on sharing every moment with her that he failed to hear the slight footfalls behind him. Danica Baker-Clements began to unhook her bra and the stalker’s breathing increased in intensity.

As the bra fell aside the stone hit the stalker’s skull rendering him unconscious instantly. He fell forward into the bush and then slumped to the ground, his glassy eyes surveying the lounge window but this time without binoculars. The assailant picked a bloom, placed it in the stalker’s mouth, and clamped the mouth shut.

For Rosemary, thought the assailant, the fight back begins.

Two minutes later Tim Armstrong cycled down the Baker-Clements’ drive and parked his bike out of sight behind the greenhouse. He was on time. He kept to the shadows created by the strong moonlight and soon knocked on the dining room window. Mrs Baker-Clements smiled, removed her last item of clothing, and headed to the window. They were seen only by a pair of lifeless eyes.

Manton Rempville – 5

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.

==========   

“Something like that, yes, and don’t forget that Sir Michael Johnson, who owns Manton Rempville Hall, is a personal friend of the Chief Constable, and any complaints will go straight to that level.”

            “Thank you for the warning, Doctor Crabtree, I will bear what you say in mind, but I do have to find a murderer after all and that’s the main aim of my investigation. Now, do you have a nice picture of the sword that I can show to the people at the hall, preferably one that doesn’t show it sticking into Mr Edward Morgan? That would be quite tasteless, wouldn’t it Sergeant?”

            “It would indeed, sir, because we do need those people to be able to easily identify the sword and not have their recall impaired by seeing a dead body.”

            “We have a nice picture here, Colin, which people will enjoy looking at.”

            “Thanks, Doctor Crabtree, my compliments to the photographer.”

            With that, Knowles and Barnes left the lab and headed over to Manton Rempville Hall in Barnes’ sleek white Morgan, which Knowles thought would impress the upper-class individuals they were about to meet.

========

Chapter 2 – Monday, 11:30am

                   Barnes drove his Morgan down the carefully manicured driveway of Manton Rempville Hall, while Knowles stared at the yew hedges, which had been sheared into interesting shapes that he couldn’t quite recognise. After they’d parked, Knowles walked over to one of the hedges and pointed.

            “What do you think they’re supposed to be, Barnesy, these shapes?”

            Barnes looked at Knowles, who was moving his head around to try and get the right angle for a correct identification of the topiary.

            “Well, Inspector, isn’t that one a mouse and this one here a hedgehog?”

            “It could be a hedgehog I suppose, but I thought it might be a crouching lion – you see there’s the mane and that’s definitely a tail…”

            “Excuse me, this is private property,” said a very posh female voice, “if you don’t leave I will call the police.”

            “Well, there’s no need, because we are already here, madam,” said Knowles brandishing his identification card in the lady’s face, “I am Detective Inspector Colin Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes. We are here to ask you and your family about the death that occurred in the grounds of the monastery earlier today.”

            “Death, you say, is that why there were all those sirens keeping us awake at some ungodly hour?”

            “Those sirens were the ambulance and police cars rushing to the scene of a murder. I am sorry, but I don’t know your name.”

            “The impertinence – I am Lady Bunny Johnson, if you must know, and why do those people put on their sirens when the murdered person is already dead and there’s no reason to rush?”

            “Thank you, Lady Johnson, I do need to know your name and there is always a reason to rush to a murder scene as vital evidence can easily be lost if the police aren’t on the scene as soon as possible.”

            “Really – it doesn’t seem necessary to me; perhaps they could put them on just in the afternoons?”

            “We’ll see about that; anyway, how many people do you have in the hall at the moment – I would like to interview them all, please.”

            “I’ll ask the butler, Fairfax, to gather the staff together in the lower library for you.”

            “I would like to interview everyone in the house, staff, family, and house guests, if there are any of course.”

            “You surely can’t believe that any members of the family, my family, would be involved in anything as sordid as a murder?”

            “The murder was committed on a property adjacent to this hall, last night, so I would like to eliminate every person in this hall from my enquiries as soon as possible. So, Lady Johnson, if you please can you gather everyone in the library…”

            “Which one, we have two?”

            “…please gather everyone in the lower library in fifteen minutes from now, so Sergeant Barnes and I can find out where everyone was last night.”

            “I’ll ask Fairfax to gather the family and then he can go and get Wilkinson and Jenkins. I will ask Miss Newton to rouse everyone in The Coach House.”

With that Lady Johnson had gone.

“I presume that’s The Coach House over there,” said Barnes pointing to a two-storey brick building behind some topiary bushes.

As if on cue, a youngish maid wearing an apron dashed out of the front door of the hall and headed in the direction of the building.

“That must be Miss Newton doing as she has been bid by her boss,” growled Knowles, “and I wonder who Wilkinson and Jenkins are?”

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.

Warning – A new Virus is on the loose

A chilling new warning was given on 1st March, by a man wearing a white coat and standing in a laboratory. This scientist who wishes to remain anonymous has previously proved that Global Warming is caused by hamsters.

The scientist has shown that the western world has been infected by the TP Virus, a brand new virus we have no immunity to, which has mutated from affluenza.

This virus causes people to act irrationally and infects them with a desire to stuff shopping trolleys full of rolls of white paper, take the rolls home, and then put the rolls in cupboards at their home. The sight of 480 rolls of white paper in a cupboard reduces the effect of the TP Virus and is the only known cure at this time. Attempts to infect fruit flies, mice, rats, beagles, and rabbits with the virus have met with no success.

This amazing finding has gone around the world. People’s reactions have been incredulous.

Billions of people have said “What’s toilet paper?”. A billion other people have said “What’s a toilet?” and 750,000,000 more said “What’s paper?”.

The search for a cure goes on…

 

 

 

 

Goat Parva Murders

This excerpt is from the book entitled The Goat Parva Murders an English Murder Mystery book set in the countryside, starring two policemen who have been working together for a few years and get along really well. There’s lots of dialogue and banter with some humour thrown in amongst the murders and suspects.

==========

The stalker trained his binoculars on the ground floor lounge window where Danica Baker-Clements could be seen in her underwear watching TV. Danica’s blonde hair tumbled over artificially brown shoulders and the rhododendron branches twitched as the binoculars moved slowly over her complete loveliness. An owl screeched in the trees behind the stalker – the bird was catching mice in Doggett’s Field near the Baker-Clements’ house and had been disturbed. The warm night air was filled with the scent of honeysuckle.

The stalker was anticipating Mrs Baker-Clements removing her clothes during the evening as was the custom on Tuesdays and so intent was he on sharing every moment with her that he failed to hear the slight footfalls behind him. Danica Baker-Clements began to unhook her bra and the stalker’s breathing increased in intensity.

As the bra fell aside the stone hit the stalker’s skull rendering him unconscious instantly. He fell forward into the bush and then slumped to the ground, his glassy eyes surveying the lounge window but this time without binoculars. The assailant picked a bloom, placed it in the stalker’s mouth, and clamped the mouth shut.

For Rosemary, thought the assailant, the fight back begins.

Two minutes later Tim Armstrong cycled down the Baker-Clements’ drive and parked his bike out of sight behind the greenhouse. He was on time. He kept to the shadows created by the strong moonlight and soon knocked on the dining room window. Mrs Baker-Clements smiled, removed her last item of clothing, and headed to the window. They were seen only by a pair of lifeless eyes.

Manton Rempville – 5

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.

==========   

“Something like that, yes, and don’t forget that Sir Michael Johnson, who owns Manton Rempville Hall, is a personal friend of the Chief Constable, and any complaints will go straight to that level.”

            “Thank you for the warning, Doctor Crabtree, I will bear what you say in mind, but I do have to find a murderer after all and that’s the main aim of my investigation. Now, do you have a nice picture of the sword that I can show to the people at the hall, preferably one that doesn’t show it sticking into Mr Edward Morgan? That would be quite tasteless, wouldn’t it Sergeant?”

            “It would indeed, sir, because we do need those people to be able to easily identify the sword and not have their recall impaired by seeing a dead body.”

            “We have a nice picture here, Colin, which people will enjoy looking at.”

            “Thanks, Doctor Crabtree, my compliments to the photographer.”

            With that, Knowles and Barnes left the lab and headed over to Manton Rempville Hall in Barnes’ sleek white Morgan, which Knowles thought would impress the upper-class individuals they were about to meet.

========

Chapter 2 – Monday, 11:30am

                   Barnes drove his Morgan down the carefully manicured driveway of Manton Rempville Hall, while Knowles stared at the yew hedges, which had been sheared into interesting shapes that he couldn’t quite recognise. After they’d parked, Knowles walked over to one of the hedges and pointed.

            “What do you think they’re supposed to be, Barnesy, these shapes?”

            Barnes looked at Knowles, who was moving his head around to try and get the right angle for a correct identification of the topiary.

            “Well, Inspector, isn’t that one a mouse and this one here a hedgehog?”

            “It could be a hedgehog I suppose, but I thought it might be a crouching lion – you see there’s the mane and that’s definitely a tail…”

            “Excuse me, this is private property,” said a very posh female voice, “if you don’t leave I will call the police.”

            “Well, there’s no need, because we are already here, madam,” said Knowles brandishing his identification card in the lady’s face, “I am Detective Inspector Colin Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes. We are here to ask you and your family about the death that occurred in the grounds of the monastery earlier today.”

            “Death, you say, is that why there were all those sirens keeping us awake at some ungodly hour?”

            “Those sirens were the ambulance and police cars rushing to the scene of a murder. I am sorry, but I don’t know your name.”

            “The impertinence – I am Lady Bunny Johnson, if you must know, and why do those people put on their sirens when the murdered person is already dead and there’s no reason to rush?”

            “Thank you, Lady Johnson, I do need to know your name and there is always a reason to rush to a murder scene as vital evidence can easily be lost if the police aren’t on the scene as soon as possible.”

            “Really – it doesn’t seem necessary to me; perhaps they could put them on just in the afternoons?”

            “We’ll see about that; anyway, how many people do you have in the hall at the moment – I would like to interview them all, please.”

            “I’ll ask the butler, Fairfax, to gather the staff together in the lower library for you.”

            “I would like to interview everyone in the house, staff, family, and house guests, if there are any of course.”

            “You surely can’t believe that any members of the family, my family, would be involved in anything as sordid as a murder?”

            “The murder was committed on a property adjacent to this hall, last night, so I would like to eliminate every person in this hall from my enquiries as soon as possible. So, Lady Johnson, if you please can you gather everyone in the library…”

            “Which one, we have two?”

            “…please gather everyone in the lower library in fifteen minutes from now, so Sergeant Barnes and I can find out where everyone was last night.”

            “I’ll ask Fairfax to gather the family and then he can go and get Wilkinson and Jenkins. I will ask Miss Newton to rouse everyone in The Coach House.”

With that Lady Johnson had gone.

“I presume that’s The Coach House over there,” said Barnes pointing to a two-storey brick building behind some topiary bushes.

As if on cue, a youngish maid wearing an apron dashed out of the front door of the hall and headed in the direction of the building.

“That must be Miss Newton doing as she has been bid by her boss,” growled Knowles, “and I wonder who Wilkinson and Jenkins are?”

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.