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.
Extract from The Manton Rempville Murders – Read a 5-star review