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, they’re not The Jones per se, they’re The Birds from next door to The Jones, impersonating The Jones and they’re being arrested when we leave here, so they might have, but I doubt either of them move that quickly. The person who hit me, left the hotel after me, and wanted me to not look into the hut out there.”
“The hut?” asked Cloda.
“In the woods, near the road,” said Knowles.
“Oh right, Benny mentioned that just after we arrived.”
“There was someone in that hut, but I can’t work out who it would be and who in the hotel would be wanting to protect them.”
“Could it have been one of the members of staff? It doesn’t have to be a guest does it?”
“It doesn’t, no.”
“Having said that – the barman was here, the chefs were in the kitchen, Andrew and Annette were socialising, and there was someone at reception, at least I assume so.”
“We assume so, we assume the receptionist didn’t slip away for five minutes, we assume the chefs didn’t slip out as one would notice the other was missing, unless they were in this together, we assume the owners wouldn’t say ‘excuse me I am going outside to hit that policeman over the head’. Are you sure the barman didn’t go out to get some wood?”
“He might well have done, but I am not sure he was gone for that long, people are a thirsty lot.”
“But he does that five times a night, people never time him, it would be five minutes to the hut and back.”
“Good point, Inspector, it could have been Roger,” agreed Cloda yawning, “anyway, I am going to bed and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night,” said Knowles looking across the room and seeing Roger Scott drying some glasses. He wondered whether the man had it in him to try and kill someone? Knowles walked over to him and struck up a conversation.
“The hut in the trees, do you know anything about it?”
“I believe it’s council property,” replied Roger, “and that it has a council lock on it. That’s all I know.”
“Really, well I shall go and look again tomorrow, and see if you’re right. And this time I will take someone with me, who will be looking out for me.”
“Sounds as though you need some protection, Inspector, someone has it in for you, don’t they?”
“Any ideas as to who that might be?”
“It’s not me, if that’s what you’re thinking, I was serving in here for most of the evening.”
“You popped out for some wood for the fire,” said Knowles.
“Yes, but I didn’t hit you with a piece of that wood, besides it’s about three hundred metres to the shed and back, and I wasn’t gone for more than a minute,” replied Roger Scott.
“You know the distance?” asked Knowles.
“Roughly, very roughly,” said Roger Scott, “but it wasn’t me.”
“Do you know who it was?” asked Knowles.
“I know who was here the whole time.”
“All the couples were here, apart from the Jones,” said Knowles.
“And the Bensons, they weren’t here all the time, either.”
“They were probably showering after their walk earlier in the day.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, I think they’re up to something.”
“I think so too, but it’s not related to someone in that hut,” replied Knowles.
Roger Scott looked thoughtful and stopped polishing his glasses. “You’re ahead of me there, Inspector.”
“They haven’t committed a crime as yet,” said Knowles, “anyhow I should be going to bed as I can feel my headache coming on.”
“Well, goodnight Inspector, pleasant dreams,” replied Scott.
“I hope so, good night to you.” With that Knowles headed up to Room 8 and wrote down some more thoughts. He looked through the window. It was still snowing although he could see a rough outline of the hut in the trees. Who had followed him out there earlier this evening. If it hadn’t been for the Bingo dog, he might still be out there slowly freezing to death.