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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They climbed over the stile and walked to the right for about 50 yards. The view over Clarke’s farm was quite clear. The bulls were on the opposite side of the field to their feeding troughs.

 

“Depending on what we find now, it might be worth searching that barn, just in case someone is hiding there; they’d have to be hiding, they couldn’t be tied up as Clarke would hear them,” said Knowles.

 

“I will see if I can find a signal and phone Linda to see if she’s received any updates.”

 

“When she was up here, the only signal was from the top of the hill on the other side of the trees, so let’s try from over there.”

 

“OK, where to next sir?”

 

“The place where Bingo found me and then let’s see whether we can see any tracks leading towards the hut.”

 

Knowles headed across the field to the opposite side where the woods met the field. The snow came to the top of his boots on occasions and it was a considerable effort to walk the hundred yards over the field. He could see now why people stuck to the paths in this weather.

 

Knowles arrived at the spot where he thought he’d been found by Bingo – he looked around and couldn’t see anything at all. The snow had covered things up quite effectively. Barnes looked around at the very edge of the trees and headed into the woods. Knowles walked along the edge of the field slowly staring at the ground.

 

“Sir,” said Barnes, “I’ve found something, there’s two pairs of prints heading towards the field and they come out just across here,” he pointed three yards to their right, “and there’s some paw prints as well in the undergrowth.”

 

“Good job, Sergeant Barnes,” said Knowles, “let’s have a look, shall we?”

 

The place Barnes had indicated had no shelter to speak of, not even a bramble bush or a large stone. The field stretched away down the hill towards the river and the wind encountered no obstacles as it howled across the river and up the hill to the trees. Looking down, Knowles saw the prints came to the edge of the trees. There was little evidence of them continuing.

 

“Let’s follow the prints back to the hut as best we can,” said Knowles.

 

“They meant you harm by leaving you there,” replied Barnes, “that is a horrible place to leave anyone, let alone an unconscious man, you would have contracted severe hypothermia if you’d stayed there another hour or two.”