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.

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“Wendy, this is DS Rod Barnes, from Scoresby CID.”

 

“Hello, Wendy,” said Barnes, “my compliments to the chef, that grapefruit was divine.”

 

“It’s the demerara, it’s slightly caramelized, Sergeant, makes all the difference.”

 

“Apparently,” said Barnes raising his eyebrows slightly.

 

“Where’s the bread from Wendy?”

 

“Aylesbury, Inspector, organic bakery run by a French couple.”

 

“Do you allow non-guests in for breakfast, Wendy?” asked Knowles, “because if you do I would like to visit on occasions and have that breakfast again. I would pay though, I am not trying to get a freebie.”

 

“I am sure we could always find you a table, Inspector Knowles, if not in here then in The Lounge.”

 

“Wouldn’t want to frighten the other diners, would you?” said Barnes, “oh here we have some guests.”

 

Anne Martin and Wanda Bowles came into the room.

 

“How are you, Inspector?” asked Wanda.

 

“I am a lot better, thank you, I can recommend the toast and poached eggs and the tea, it’s all wonderful,” said Knowles, “anyway, we have some work to do, so please don’t let me spoil your breakfast.”

 

“You look a lot better, last night you were very pale,” said Anne, “I was worried about you.”

 

“A good night’s rest does wonders,” said Knowles, “my grandma was right about that.” He began to edge towards the door.

 

“Well, if you need any help, let us know,” said Wanda.

 

“I certainly will,” said Knowles reaching the door, “enjoy your breakfast”.

 

Barnes waved as he followed Knowles out of the door and into The Lounge.

 

They sat down by the window. Albert the cat leapt from the top of the shed onto the roof of the boot room, a flash of ginger in a white world.

 

“We should go back to the scene of last night’s crime,” said Knowles, “and see if there’s anything to be found either outside or inside the hut.”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” said Barnes, “by the way, we found out yesterday that Aneurin James does have three kids, one of whom is in the prison system for armed robbery – doing 10 – 12 years, but I am not sure where. Maybe he’s close by? There’s still no record of Mr Wooster after arriving at Leicester station. Miss Baxter’s brother has been in trouble a couple of times with the police and you know about The Smiths.”

 

“I do, Barnesy, I wonder if Mr Wooster has been kept prisoner in that hut against his will and last night I was about to find that out, when his guard hit me on the head and left me for dead. Do you need any more clothes?”

 

“I brought my small rucksack with me and I have an extra jumper in there and a waterproof, so I will go and put those on.”

 

“Good, here’s the key for room 8, have a shower if you want too. I will see you back down here in 15 minutes.”

 

“Thanks, sir, are those your clothes by the way?”

 

Knowles smiled – Barnes’s humour was improving – “Do you really think I’d buy any of these items of my own choice?”

 

“Only if you’d been hit over the head first and you were still feeling a bit woozy,” replied Barnes.

 

“I obtained them from the hotel’s supply of clothes left by forgetful travellers, Sergeant.”

 

“I think they did the right thing in leaving them behind.”

 

Knowles smiled as Barnes went upstairs. Albert the cat came into The Lounge and looked at the fire and then looked rather pointedly at Knowles.

 

“I am not making the fire for you,” said Knowles, “you will have to wait for someone else to do it.”

 

Albert miaowed and rubbed his whiskers against Knowles’s leg before jumping onto the window ledge and settling down to face Knowles.

 

“Oh no, it’s the stare them into submission routine,” said Knowles, “I am quite familiar with that and it will not work, Mr Cat, so save you stares for someone else.”

 

“Good morning, Inspector, have you made a friend?” asked Margaret Benson as she passed by carrying her walking boots.