This excerpt is from the book entitled The Black Hill Hotel Mystery an English Murder Mystery book set in the winter countryside, starring two policemen who have been working together for a few years and get along well.
“Well, there’s two ways to look at this – either someone booked the room in a false name, so they could access the room in the knowledge no one would be in there, or Mr Wooster is real and he was prevented from coming here.”
“Why not stay in Room 8?”
“That’s a great question – because they don’t want to be associated with the room, just in case someone notices something incriminating regarding the room, such as the furniture has been moved around? I am clutching at straws a little, but perhaps that is why. Can people book a certain room or would you think that was suspicious?”
“We would do, but if they were to say that they’d like a room with views over the woods towards the river, then we probably wouldn’t,” replied Annette.
“You know, now I have thought about it, when Mr Wooster phoned up to book this week, he did say something similar to that, because he said he’d been here before and wanted a room with a view over the fields to the local village. Why didn’t I think about that some more, I should check my records to see whether he has visited us.”
“Andrew is a gold personality,” said Annette showing her white teeth in a loving smile, “he is an avid records keeper.”
Andrew blushed and kissed her gently on her ear, before making his excuses and heading to the filing cabinet in reception.
“What should we do, Inspector Knowles, are you going to be staying here today?”
“Well, I am not sure there’s sufficient reasons to keep me here; I am not 100% sure what’s going on though, so I might pop back in on the way home this afternoon, when we’ve got some more information about the backgrounds of the guests and ask a few pertinent questions to some of those present. I am wondering what has happened to Miss Baxter and why Mr Wooster hasn’t arrived. I would suggest hiding those laundry keys too, so that no one gets back into Room 8.”
“Why did your colleague not use the landline to phone your headquarters, by the way, she was quite welcome to do so?” asked Annette.
“Well, there’s a certain amount of confidentiality involved in such apparently innocent enquiries and we wouldn’t want any guest eavesdropping on where other people in the hotel actually live.”
“Understood, Inspector Knowles, so when do you think you’ll be back?”
“Probably around 6pm.”
“It will almost certainly be snowing heavily by then, according to the weather forecast.”
“Well, I will get here as I have a Landrover with some snow tyres on her, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem – will the landline survive another snowfall, do you reckon?”
“It could be 50-50, so we might be properly cut off from the outside world – at least that way people won’t be asking for their money back.”
“I will bring the satellite phone with me, so I can communicate with the outside world if necessary. I’ve heard the forecast and it’s going to become worse before improving.”
“We have plenty of supplies, should you become stuck here Inspector, so don’t worry about that.”
“Yes, I have heard that’s the case, but I don’t think my Landrover will get stuck – I think I will be OK.”
“I’ve heard that before. Some people make it and some don’t. I would just give you the boy scout advice.”
“To be prepared, well I will certainly try, but I have to prepare two cats as well, one of whom is a glutton and will try and eat all his food and the other cat’s food straightaway. There’s no concept of ‘leaving some for later’ with Freddie around.”
“We have a hotel cat called Albert, who detests snow and who can get from the shed to the hotel and back via windows and rooves. Andrew even put a cat flap in the shed for him.”
“Invented by Isaac Newton, if I am not mistaken, the cat flap I mean, not the shed” said Knowles, “he knew who to please and who not to please. Where is Albert now?”
“Asleep in the shed, probably,” replied Annette looking to see Andrew hurrying back to talk to them, “what have you found, Andrew?”
“It’s what I haven’t found that concerns me – I have no record of any Mr Wooster staying or Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester, Sauce, or any other connection with Wooster.”
“What about Blandings, or Jeeves, or Wodehouse or Woodhouse or Castle?”
“I hadn’t thought of those connections,” said Andrew, “I will go back and look.”
“Well – we had a Mr Castle stay about three weeks ago – he was visiting from London for a couple of nights; he was a bit flash. I am sure we had a Miss Woodhouse staying as well, but not at the same time,” replied Annette to the retreating form of Andrew.