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.
“Right, there’s no water running here,” said Barnes.
“May I borrow that, please?” said Crabtree to Street.
Street smiled and handed over the shovel.
Dr Crabtree walked to where he thought the feet might be and placed the metal shovel on the road, He scraped it along the road surface and gently removed the snow. He did this twice more, but the third time the metal hit something. Crabtree removed the snow on the blade and then bent down to see the obstruction. He could see what looked like jean material lying right on top of the tarmac. He carefully moved the shovel down the leg removing the snow until the left foot was exposed. He then repeated the whole process on the right-hand side of the body until the bottom half of a man’s body was lying before everyone.
“Have you done that before?” asked Knowles.
“Only on an archaeological dig,” replied Crabtree, “but that was easier because I wasn’t determining the cause of death. On that occasion the body had died of old age about two thousand years ago.”
“Black shoes, jeans, black belt, purple socks, so far,” said Barnes.
“Well, there appear to be no major injuries on the lower half of the body,” said Priestley, “which means we have to be very careful from now on.”
“Yes, I agree,” said Crabtree, “let’s work on the left arm, now. This might be tricky.”
Crabtree went to the van and brought back a small hand trowel.
“Most people use those for gardening,” quipped Knowles.
“Most people are very lucky not to do this job for a living,” replied Crabtree. With the trowel he removed the snow from around the hand and then gradually traced a line down the torso to the waist.
“Could you shovel that snow away,” he said to Molby, who did as he was asked.
“Right, can you bend down officer,” he said to McLeod, who obliged, “how much snow is on top of the jacket?”
“About 18 inches,” said McLeod, “maybe 20.”
“Right, now be careful, get your shovel and place it into the snow so that you can safely remove that 18 inches of snow from the torso. Put both hands on the handle.”