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.
Adelaide shone her torch in the direction he was pointing in – the hotel was about three hundred yards away.
“I was inspecting a hut in the trees over there when I was hit,” said Knowles, “and that’s about 400 yards away. Was I dragged all that way?”
Adelaide played the torch down his back – “You haven’t been dragged for that distance because you’d be far dirtier and more unkempt than you appear, I would say you were carried here and then dumped, so that you wouldn’t be visible from the path. That’s terrible, you were left in an exposed place, in the woods you’d have been warmer. We have to get you inside – can you stand?”
Knowles rose gradually and had to lean on Mrs Hills for a minute before the muscles in his legs registered the body weight and held him upright.
“Here’s my stick, Inspector.” Knowles took the proffered stick and leant on it gratefully.
“You need blood sugar, Inspector, so I suggest you suck a couple of these sweets, they will give you boundless energy, which is the effect they have on Bingo, isn’t it boy?”
Bingo barked with glee and Mrs Hills gave them two sweets each.
“Can we head to the hotel?” asked Knowles, “will that be alright, Adelaide?”
“Yes, I will be fine, we can walk for miles can’t we Bingo?”
Bingo barked in agreement and ran off towards the stile. Knowles looked down at Clarke’s farm – the bulls were no longer sheltering by their barn, but seemed to be more spread out. The wind must have died down and the temperature had risen as a result.
“These sweets are quite tasty, what brand are they? asked Knowles as he reached the stile.
“I buy them in bulk, I forget their name, I can let you know, the bag will be with the rest of Bingo’s food supplies.”
Knowles stopped sucking the sweets – “you mean…”.
“Oh yes…didn’t I mention that, they are dog treats…I did mention that, I am sure I did.”
Knowles shook his head slowly, but kept the sweets in his mouth, as he concentrated on climbing the stile, which seemed like Mt Everest all of a sudden.
Adelaide held his arm and they climbed up and over the stile together. As Knowles limped towards the back door, Adelaide clambered back over the stile to carry Bingo into the hotel grounds. She tied his leash to the post supporting the roof of the woodpile. From inside his shed, Albert the cat stared at the dog with disdain, yawned, and went back to sleep. Bingo lay down and then stood up as the snow made his belly cold.
Adelaide Hills went into the hotel and told Roger Scott at the bar to bring some bandages, brandy, and antiseptic for the injured man. Andrew and Annette came running to see what had happened.
“It’s nothing,” said Knowles, still finding the sweets in his mouth somewhat agreeable, “can you get me a piece of paper and a pen, please?” As Andrew took off the bandage and cleaned the wound with some hot water, Annette fetched the paper and pen. Roger Scott brought a large brandy for the Inspector.
“I am going to apply some hydrogen peroxide and this will sting,” said Andrew applying the anti-infective directly to the wound.
Knowles swallowed the sweets and gritted his teeth, before finding solace in the brandy. Annette returned and Knowles wrote down a number on the paper. Andrew put a plaster over the wound and wrapped a bandage around Knowles’s head.
“That should do for now,” said Andrew, “but I will need to change the plaster in the morning, I think all the dirt is gone. I will make up Room 8 for you as you are not driving anywhere tonight. You are invited to dinner as our guest, Inspector. We will launder your clothes as best we can and let you choose some replacements from our stockpile of clothes left behind by guests over the last three years. ”
Knowles thanked him profusely and then saw that Adelaide Hills was about to leave. Knowles escorted her outside, out of earshot of anyone else.
“Adelaide Hills, thank you so much for saving my life, because I think you did just that. I would have started suffering from hyperthermia in another hour or so. Please take care on your way back. In the morning, please phone this number and speak to Sergeant Barnes…”
“Oh that nice Sergeant Barnes, yes I remember him,” said Adelaide.
“…tell him to come up here straightaway and not to go to Scoresby station, tell him I said there is something really strange going on up here. Don’t mention me being hit on the head. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Well, Inspector, a drop of that brandy wouldn’t go amiss to fortify me against the cold on the way back, it seems a fair swap for the dog treats, doesn’t it?”
“It does, Adelaide, here is the glass, say thank you to Bingo for me.”
Adelaide took the glass and drained the contents in one. “Ah that’s better, Inspector,” she said, handing the glass back “we should be getting back, Betty will be getting worried about us.”
Knowles watched as Adelaide carried Bingo back over the stile. Bingo’s barks gradually faded as he and his amazing owner headed back down the hill to Frisby Magna. Knowles felt quite energetic and wondered what was in the dog treats.