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.
“You’d have thought so, unless she was in on the whole thing or she was the murderer,” replied Knowles.
“Shall we see what Wallace and Betty Johnson saw?” suggested Barnes.
“Yes, I took their statements,” said Linda, “Betty spent most of her time talking to that ‘nice Daisy Arnold’ who was sitting opposite her in Seat 8. Betty didn’t notice much other than the noise when the Major was moved. She wrote something on a piece of paper with the biro she was given, just to make sure it worked. When the smoke came in she and her husband headed to the back of the carriage away from the engine. She said that Daisy Arnold didn’t come with them and that she wasn’t in her seat when they returned. Daisy returned from the other end of the carriage. As for Mr Johnson, he more or less concurs with his wife. He had a view down the carriage towards the Major and said that people were walking by the Major quite regularly and quite often spoke to him although he doesn’t distinguish between before and after the smoke.”
“Right, you should contact him again, Linda, on that point. It’s vital we find out whether the Major was seen to be animated after the smoke.”
“You make him sound like a cartoon character, sir. Anyway, OK, I will do. Mr Johnson also tried his biro and his worked too. He even took it apart and put it back together again.”
“I wonder why he would do that?” said Barnes.
“He’s probably a DIY person, who just has to know how things fit together. Some people are like that. They’re annoying.” Knowles was not a handyman and didn’t like people who were.
“Seat 7 was Simon Ricketts, who was interviewed by you, sir.”
“Yes, Mr Ricketts appreciated my acting skills. He didn’t say very much really other than when the smoke came in John Davis, Ellie Hammond and Desmond Stellen went to the back of the carriage with the Smedleys and the Johnsons, but then Desmond disappeared to find his wife and didn’t come back. He also said Daisy Arnold went with them, which contradicts what Betty Johnson said.”
“So that’s Desmond Stellen and Daisy Arnold who are unaccounted for at the moment then,” said Barnes, “and perhaps Marie Stellen too.”
“It does mean that Desmond left his wife initially and didn’t make sure she came with him to the other end of the carriage,” replied Smythe.