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.
“She never turned the page over, not once, not that I saw anyway, odd don’t you think?”
“I will have to ask her about her reading habits,” said Knowles, “anything else you noticed?”
“Mr James seemed to be checking his property in the airing cupboard a lot, it was almost as though he was cooking something in there,” said Margaret, “like a souffle or something delicate.”
Knowles chuckled heartily and made another note – “Anything else?”
“The couple doing the jigsaws were obsessive,” said Clifford, “I did notice that, and then when they completed the thing, they looked underneath it, I am not sure if they were expecting a message on the back or another picture.”
“The two woman by the window were talking to each other and didn’t seem to notice that they were being watched by the younger couple, who are in Room 6,” continued Margaret.
“Really, when you say watched, you don’t think they were just looking at the snow falling?”
“Well that’s what they wanted people to believe, but they were watching them.”
“I see,” said Knowles, “that’s pretty much everyone, what about the Jones’s?”
“Didn’t notice them,” said Margaret, “they must have been out of my line-of-sight.”
“Or they weren’t there,” said Clifford, “that’s a possibility of course.”
“Indeed it is,” said Knowles, “this was after dinner, was it?”
“Around 10 p.m.,” replied Clifford, “perhaps they’d gone to bed or were still eating.”
“They came in later, about 10:15 p.m.,” said Margaret, “but we left soon afterwards.”
“OK, well I think that is everything for now,” concluded Knowles, “so could you please ask the occupants of Room 6, Benny Scott and Cloda Holmes, to come and see me? Thank you for your time.”
Clifford allowed Margaret to leave the room first and smiled at the Inspector as he left.
Knowles jotted down some notes and looked up to see Benny and Cloda coming into the room.
“Mr Scott and Miss Holmes, do sit down, I am Detective Inspector Knowles from Scoresby CID; when we ran a background check on your address, it indicated a PO Box in Bristol, so I would like to know what your business is here at the hotel.”
“Well, Inspector Knowles we are here to investigate another one of the guests,” replied Holmes, “on behalf of our client.”
“And that client would be Mrs Sam Smith of Castle Bromwich?”
“Correct, Inspector,” said Benny Scott, “I didn’t think we’d made it so obvious.”
“It was a lucky guess based on what my research has revealed,” said Knowles modestly, “although I think it could have been any of the guests, as I don’t think any of them are here for just a relaxing time.”
“Really, well I must admit you might be right there as the Jones’s are not who they say they are, the single woman is waiting for someone to turn up, the elderly single man takes a keen interest in the river, as do the Bensons, and I think the females are making the most of their time together, as they presumably get little time together otherwise, which is surprising if they are both single,” said Holmes.
“You’ve noticed a lot,” replied Knowles, “Miss Baxter might be waiting for Robert Wooster I suppose?”
“Who is Robert Wooster?” asked Benny.
“The person who supposedly booked Room 8, but hasn’t yet arrived. I think he’s been intercepted on his way here, so that someone can look in Room 8 for something that was hidden there about a month ago.”
“I hadn’t picked that up,” said Holmes, “is that why you were interested in Room 8 earlier? Someone searched it overnight?”
“They did search it, but they were very quiet about it, and I am not sure whether they found what they were looking for or whether they were disturbed. Either way, they, whoever they are, are now aware we know, so are unlikely to try again.”
“Especially if you sleep in there,” said Benny Scott, “because I wouldn’t think you’ll be going home tonight, not even in that Landrover of yours.”
Knowles thought he heard someone outside the door, but when he got up to check, there was nobody around.
“I presume Mrs Smith is concerned about the relationship with Candy?” asked Knowles after sitting back down again.