This excerpt is from the book entitled The Frisby Waterless Murders, an English Murrder 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.

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“Using a slight distraction to place a few droplets of the poison onto the vol-au-vent via a phial placed between forefinger and thumb.”

 

“A phial not a biro?”

 

“A biro would be better wouldn’t it because it looks so normal to be holding a pen?”

 

“Indeed it does, which is why someone holding a pen as they walk around the railway carriage wouldn’t cause anyone to look twice. If you are fiddling with the biro as you walk past someone’s food or drink no one would be in the least bit suspicious.”

 

“I see what you’re getting at – but does this mean that the murderer is one of us? We’re the only ones who would have known we were going to hand out biros.”  

 

“Right, thank you for this important information, Desmond, I think we, the police that is, should take this on from here. I am not sure the murderer used a biro, but it’s a possibility isn’t it?”

Knowles stood up and left Desmond Stellen looking slightly crestfallen. Stellen placed his hands in his jacket pockets and rose to see where his wife was. Knowles walked quickly away and phoned Sergeant Roberts whose team was going to be searching the track.

 

“Sarge, yes it’s me, I want you to look for biros too…yes biros. The disposable ones and, if you find one, place it in a plastic evidence bag; it might be a vital piece of evidence… Why? Well the victim was poisoned and it’s possible the poison was administered either by a dart or shaken on to the food…Yes, the dart could have been delivered by a blowpipe and if the dart is small then it could have been delivered by a biro. You’re laughing…this is a possibility that has to be eliminated from our enquiries…thank you, Sergeant, do let me know what you find.”

 

Knowles rang off and smiled at the phone – he must think I’m mad – I can imagine when his wife asks him what he did at work and he tells her he’s been searching for pens by a railway line, she’ll think he’s finally cracked. Knowles looked around and saw that Barnes had just finished interviewing a large woman wearing a floral dress. The dress stuck out like a very sore thumb in the bland surroundings of the cafe, but Knowles presumed she hadn’t planned on coming in here today – a posh dining-car was more what she had been expecting. The woman swept out of the cafe leaving a smaller man and two teenage children in her wake. Barnes came over to see him. He looked relieved.

 

“Who was that, Barnesy?’’

 

“That,” replied Barnes pointing at the cafe door, “that was Sally Smedley, who was rather upset that the murder/mystery was cancelled because someone died. She seemed to think it was my fault. I got the impression she wanted us to carry the Major out on a stretcher and then let them carry on with their mystery.”