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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“I will certainly do that,” said Knowles as he glanced at Barnes, “anyway, that’s all I have, so please continue with your hearty breakfast.” He closed the doors.

 

“Let’s go to the boot room,” said Knowles, “did you notice anything?”

 

“I noticed a rather militant criminal,” said Barnes, “Mrs Bird has taken her unmasking as a fraudster rather personally, by the sound of it.”

 

“Yes, but the boots didn’t belong to them and they didn’t smack me over the head, what about Mr James?”

 

“He agreed with Mrs Bird’s comment and his eyes did narrow slightly when you mentioned the boots.” replied Barnes.

 

Knowles started to put on his wellingtons – “If it’s a guest, it has to be him, it can’t be any of the others, as Penny Baxter told me she wears wellies.”

 

Barnes slipped on his shoes, designed for cross-country running and flexed his calves slightly.

 

“How far is the run up here?” asked Knowles.

 

“It’s about two miles, not far,” replied Barnes, “though for me it’s an extra mile if you go via Clarke’s farm.”

 

“Talking of which, let’s go and see how his bulls are doing out in the snow. I have a vague recollection that they’d shifted position last night, as though they’d been disturbed.”

 

“You mean just go and look from the top of the field?”

 

“Oh yes, I am not getting closely involved with those things unless I absolutely bloody have to.”

 

“They’re quite scary as individuals, let alone five of them eyeing you aggressively.”

 

“Yes, you’re quite right, let’s go and take a peek at them from a very safe distance.” Knowles opened the back door and headed out into the snowy back garden of the hotel. The snow was being blown off the roofs of the shed and garage and had drifted in places to a depth of two feet.

 

“Do you know the forecast?” asked Knowles.

 

“There’s going to be more, before there’s less. It should start around lunch time again, and last for the rest of the day, but tomorrow it shouldn’t snow much at all, perhaps a few flurries, and there will be blue skies, sunshine, and a temperature of around -2 degrees C. It will start to melt on Saturday.”