Knowles placed the statements in a folder and asked Barnes to initiate the investigation of Edward Pritchard’s bank accounts to see whether there were sudden influxes of cash. While Barnes was on the phone, Knowles phoned WPC Smythe to find out what she had found out from Wilkinson’s wife.
“Hello, Linda, did you speak to her? Right… Oh, so he did go out… at 10:40-ish for around fifteen minutes. Does she know where he went?… To Sir Michael’s agent’s house?… Delivering an item for the Hall? Well, that little titbit of information certainly slipped his mind. Thanks, Linda, can you come over here now? Yes, we’ll be in the Hall looking at the secret passage. It’s not that secret actually, everyone seems to know where it is. Oh, and can you bring a bottle of water and some snacks for us, we haven’t been offered a single drink by the owners of this establishment. Thank you. And one final thing, on your way here can you pop into the Red Lion and ask Syd Watt what time Jim Jenkins was in his pub last night?”
Knowles put the phone in his pocket and looked over at Barnes, who was concluding his conversation regarding Pritchard’s accounts. Knowles looked out of the window and saw the spire of St Anthony’s church through the trees; he made a mental note to find out when they’d been practicing last night.
“So that’s the account search set up, sir,” said Barnes. “It shouldn’t take long for the records to come through.”
“Right, thanks, Barnesy. It seems like our friend Wilkinson omitted to mention that he left his house for fifteen minutes or so last night to visit Sir Michael at his agent’s house.”
“And Sir Michael omitted to mention it too.”
“Indeed, so I think I will send WPC Smythe around to see the agent just to corroborate what actually happened last night.”
“Sounds like a plan, sir. Should we go and inspect that secret passage now?”
“Yes, from both ends as it were, and we should ask Miss Newton to accompany us on the external excursion and ask her to whom she has been voicing her concerns.”
After stopping to place the daggers in the sports car, Knowles and Barnes walked over to the Hall, walked through the play room into the lounge and found Fairfax waiting for them.
“You were expecting us, Christopher?” asked Knowles.
“I thought I heard you say you would want to inspect the secret passage, so I thought I would show you myself,” said Fairfax.
“You seem like the best person for the job,” said Knowles, “but before you show us can you ask Miss Newton to make herself available so she can show us the external exit?”