Chapter 5 – Saturday, 3rd March, 8:30 am

Colin Knowles whistled a happy tune, only recognisable to him, as he drove his Land Rover towards Scoresby Police Station. It had been a good morning so far. He’d enjoyed his run across the fields, even though the time had been nothing special. It hadn’t rained and the birds had been singing. The hot water had been hot and the cats had co-operated to make breakfast a peaceful event, for the second time this week, a record. Knowles didn’t mind working today as he felt the case would soon be solved.

As the vehicle chugged through the outskirts of the town, Knowles thought he would go and look at Anne’s bookshop one more time and see about the windows, to find out whether she could have overheard something that might have cost her life. He parked the vehicle in the police car park, before walking at a brisk pace to Cambridge Road. The shop was still taped off, but Knowles had the keys and was able to enter without too many problems.

The inside smelt slightly musty. Knowles walked to the window with a view down Cambridge Road and saw the window did indeed have a top element that opened. At least it should have opened, but Knowles was unable to budge it. It seemed to be stuck. He stood and listened, but he was unable to hear any conversations. He looked around and saw another window facing the building opposite. This window also had a top element. Knowles twisted the handle and this time the window opened. Immediately, the sounds of the street flooded into his ears, but in a garbled flow, a few words here, a few words there, nothing meaningful.

Knowles noticed PC Onslow walking towards the shop from the Bus Station side. He went outside to intercept the PC before he passed by.

“Hello, PC Onslow, I need your help with something.”

“And how can I help you, Inspector?”

“You see this window,” said Knowles, pointing helpfully to the relevant window, “can you stand under the window and talk into your cell phone for about a minute, whilst I scamper back inside to see whether I can hear you or not? Also, don’t shout, talk quietly as though you don’t want to be overheard. Do you have any questions?”

“No, but I will talk about something that you won’t be familiar with.”

“That sounds an excellent idea, to test my listening skills, I like it.” Knowles ran back inside and positioned himself by the window. He began to listen and after a few seconds he heard…

“Crete is the largest … in the Mediterranean, Heraklion is …. capital and the other major towns on the North Coast include Chania and Reth….There’s a large palace at Knossos, which was excav…. by Arthur Evans, a famous archa….ist. Knoss…was the main base for the Min… civilisation 4,000 years ….and was the place where Theseus killed the Minotaur.”

Knowles stopped listening at this point. This was proof positive that a conversation could be heard from this window, if someone was standing still and not moving. He went back outside to PC Onslow.

“Well, I heard almost every word, Crete, Heraklion, Knossos, Minoans, Theseus, Minotaur, well done PC Onslow.”

“Glad to be of service, sir, is there anything else?”

“No, thank you for your time, see you later.”

Knowles went back inside the shop and closed the window again. He locked up and headed back to the station.

Neither Barnes nor Smythe were in the office yet, presumably because they were still over in the area of the Bus Station. Knowles looked at his watch and decided to call Marigold and Peter to see how they were.

“Hello,” said Knowles in his best customer service voice,”could I speak to Marigold Slinger, please, my name is Inspector Knowles from Scoresby CID.”

“Wait a moment,” said the voice on the other end of the line,”I will just go and get her, she’s just having her breakfast.”

“Right, thank you, much appreciated,” replied Knowles and cushioned the receiver on his shoulder so that he could type using both hands, or more accurately both middle fingers, to look at his emails, which were mainly about administration and education opportunities although one was about Belinda Andrews’s phone records.

“Hello,” said a voice on the line, “how do I know it’s you, Inspector?”

“Well, you came to my house yesterday, Marigold, and met the two kitties, who were glad to see you all too briefly before you were whisked off to Charnock Richard by PC Molby, who I am sure drove like a lunatic up the M6.”

“He was rather speedy, but no one would have been able to tail him, that is for sure, we got off the motorway a couple of times, just to be sure, he said, but he’s obviously been trained well because he never came close to another vehicle.”

“More likely, no other vehicle came to close to him,” replied Knowles, “anyway, how did you sleep, Marigold?”

“Well enough under the circumstances, it’s very peaceful and quiet here in the…”