The third extract

Chapter 3 – Thursday, 1st March – 7:45 am

Knowles had just started his journey into work when his phone rang. He had admired the daffodils in his garden, which were rewarding his hard work of the winter time, and reflected that the flowers had provided a great way to start St David’s Day. That and the good run he’d had through the fields plus the peace and harmony in the kitchen between the two cats – an event that happened only once a month if he was lucky.

“Hello Sergeant Barnes, happy St David’s Day to you, what can I help you with? …Really….well I was thinking of heading over there at some point today, so I might as well go there right now. What’s the address? 322 Liverpool Road, right I will see you there in about 15 minutes.”

Knowles headed on his normal route into work, but turned right at the junction where Liverpool Road crossed London Road. St Wilfrid’s church was on the right-hand side and Scoresby Park with the town museum was on the left. People were walking their dogs on the grass and Knowles was pleased to see that all the dogs were looking quite happy with life, something that couldn’t be said of their owners who seemed to be there out of a sense of duty to their pets. Knowles was pleased he had two cats, who could take themselves for a walk, should they ever decide to get some exercise other than stretching extravagantly after being asleep for 3 hours.

Knowles trundled down the street looking for 322. A very impatient van driver kept honking his horn, which spoiled Knowles’s equilibrium somewhat, so he got out of his Land Rover and walked back down the street towards the van, brandishing his identification.

“You are trying to attract my attention,” said Knowles to the driver.

“I was just trying to get you to speed up, mate,” said the driver.

“I am on police business, mate, so you are interfering with police business, mate, therefore you could be arrested, mate, so leave your cheeky demeanour behind, and tell me, mate, where 322 is on this street?”

“Well, if only you’d said earlier,” said the driver, “322 is about 100 yards on the right, where that flash sports car is parked with that thin bloke sitting on the bonnet looking quite smug.”

“Yes, Sergeant Barnes does look smug,” said Knowles, “even from this distance, I will tell him you said that, I am sure he will be pleased to learn how transparent he is. Thank you for your time and be sure not to bring your vehicle to our attention in the next month or two, otherwise who knows what other offences will come to light. Be on your way.” With that Knowles trotted to his Land Rover and drove over to park behind Barnes’s Morgan.

“Barnesy,” said Knowles, “here’s a number for you”. Knowles told him the registration of the van whose driver he’d just spoken to. “If you ever see that registration come up for traffic offences, add a couple more, if you know what I mean, the driver is a cheeky sod and is far too arrogant for his own good.”

“I have no idea what you mean, sir,” replied Barnes, writing down the number of the van in a certain part of his notebook and then smiling at his boss to indicate he knew what he meant really.

“Good, anyway, what happened here? Someone broke into Anne’s home when it was cordoned off – what’s the world coming to?”

“That seems to be what happened, yes, but it’s impossible to tell what was taken, of course.”

“Yes, it would be, but my guess is they purloined all the camera equipment they could find, because they were worried she might have taken some pictures of her murderer when he/she was waiting and watching and Anne saw them. Let’s see if we can find her camera, Sergeant Barnes.”

“Right, well where would that be, in her study I suppose.”

“That’s a good place, so why don’t you start there, Barnesy, and I will look in the other rooms she has in her home, or former home. Who was her next of kin, by the way?”

“A brother called Ronald, who lives in Hull – he will be arriving today, apparently.”

“Will he now? I wonder if he’s got all the Estate or whether someone else has?”

“Well, we won’t find out, sir, until the will is read.”

“True enough, Barnesy, anyway let’s have a search around and see what we can’t find, if you see what I mean.”

“Sounds… good,” said Barnes, managing to stop himself saying ‘like a plan’, “let’s see what there is.”

Knowles and Barnes walked up the path and round to the back of the house, where a local locksmith was replacing the previous lock, which had been jemmied open.

“Hello, you’re Randolph Smithson, aren’t you?” said Knowles, “this is my Sergeant, Rod Barnes, Barnesy this guy is as good a locksmith as you could wish for – he helped me with my cellar door a few years ago when the locked jammed, suddenly and for no apparent reason.”

Barnes nodded at Smithson and smiled.