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.
“Unless he was concentrating on something else,” said Smythe, “such as preparing a dose of curare for the Major.”
“His wife might not have been there, of course, which is why he didn’t bring her with him to the end of the carriage after the smoke came in. He wasn’t being ungentlemanly, she just wasn’t there for him to bring,” said Barnes, “and that’s why he could have been preparing something for the Major, taking advantage of her absence.”
“But from the timing we know that he can’t be the murderer as the fatal injection was administered before the smoke came in. More importantly, I wonder where Marie Stellen was at this time? I suppose I will find out soon,” said Knowles.
“This isn’t going to be something similar to Murder on the Orient Express is it?” said Barnes, “except in this case everyone was preparing to murder the Major, but someone got there before everybody else?”
Knowles shrugged his shoulders. “I know what you’re getting at, Barnesy, but I doubt everyone had plans to kill him, but perhaps more than the two we already know about.”
“Shall we proceed with Seat 11, Ellie Hammond?” asked Barnes.
“Did you interview this young lady, Barnesy?” replied Knowles.
“Strangely enough I did, sir, and very pleasant she was too. She is the girlfriend of John Davis and she was seated facing the same way as the Major, so she didn’t see much of him during the journey. She was going to play the role of one of the three sisters of the deceased, but the Major’s demise put the kibosh on that. When the smoke came in she was slightly overcome by the fumes, but John took her by the hand and led her to the end of the carriage.”
“That’s more like it,” said Knowles, “that’s how to be a gentleman.”
“Yes, indeed, sir, and then when the smoke cleared he escorted her back to the seat and then the next thing she knew the Major was dead and the event was over. She was very disappointed as this was going to be only her third acting role.”
“That’s unfortunate isn’t it?” said Knowles, “what did she do before her acting?”
“She worked for the government in a secretarial role in a number of departments.”
“Right, well you know what you can do there?”