This excerpt is from the book entitled The Frisby Waterless Murders, an English Murrder Mystery book set in the countryside, starring two policemen who have been working together for a few years and get along really well. There’s lots of dialogue and banter with some humour thrown in amongst the murders and suspects.
“He swapped with the Trimbles, so who was originally going to be in Seat 22?” Knowles was looking thoughtful.
“Well, Mavis Trimble was going to be in Seat 21 with Maudie in 22, and then Harold Trimble in Seat 23 with his daughter in 24.”
“So the original occupant of Seat 22 cried off at the last minute and was replaced in that seat by the murder victim?”
“Yes, but there’s not a chance of mistaking the two of them.”
“No, I would hope not for Maudie’s sake, but was the food individually assigned per seat or was it just a free for all?”
“A beverage and a muffin were served by the stewards from trollies, Eddie from this end and Bridie from the other end. However, we do provide individual china cups or glasses for the drinks which are pre-ordered so as to cut down on some waste. Tea, coffee, tisane, or sparkling elderwater are the options. And looking…at this list…it would appear that Seats 22 and 26 both ordered coffee ahead of time.”
“So if the Major received a cup of coffee he would drink it thinking it was his pre-ordered coffee, wouldn’t he? Right, excuse me a moment, I need to look at his seat.” Knowles walked down the carriage and found the seat easily enough. The table had been folded back into the armrest of the seat and there was no sign of any china or plates.
“How long after the coffee was served did the major first appear unwell?”
“About 30 minutes afterwards.”
“Right, well we have to find his cup and it ain’t here.” Knowles looked around the other seats all of which had fixed tables and saw that their cups remained in place. “Would the steward, Bridie I think you said, have tidied it away because the major’s seat had no fixed table, just one that folded back into his armrest?”
“She almost certainly would, because the murder/mystery was about to begin.”
“Was it really?”
“It was, yes, the smoke had cleared and …”