This excerpt is from the book entitled The Manton Rempville Murders an English Murder 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.
An English Murder Mystery book set in the countryside.
“Really? So the murderer was wearing gloves,” said Knowles, “go on, Dr. Crabtree.”
“We found a red thread on the hilt of the sword, which looks as though it has come from a sheet or towel used to hide the sword from view.”
“No great surprise there,” said Barnes, “few people could carry a sword without alerting suspicion of some kind.”
“Whereas carrying a large red towel is perfectly normal and wouldn’t be in any way uncommon,” replied Knowles, “although it was probably carried in a bag for the most effective disguise. What material is the thread?”
“I think it’s cotton, Colin, we can have it analysed for you.”
“Yes please, Doctor, I like to be thorough when analysing evidence.”
“Of course, Colin, that won’t be a problem.”
“And now the all important question – what was the time of death approximately?”
“Well, I am almost certain the time was 11:06 p.m.”
“Give or take an hour or so?” said Barnes.
“Give or take thirty seconds,” said Knowles. “The doctor is indicating that the victim must have smashed his watch when he fell dead to the ground – are there any fingerprints on the watch?”
“We’ll have to check, Colin, and let you know when it’s been dusted.”
“Thank you – I wonder whether he would have smashed his watch, though, if he fell onto the grass.”
“The watch face was broken by something” said Dr. Crabtree, showing Knowles the watch enclosed in a plastic evidence bag.
“Indeed it was, but there’s no indication it hit the grass, no soil, no colouring of green. Were there any stones lying around where he landed?”
“Let’s look at the photos, shall we?”
The men walked over to the doctor’s table and examined the photos that showed the ground around Pritchard’s left hand.
“There are no stones around where his left hand and wrist would have landed, so what could he have hit the watch on?” pondered Barnes, stroking his short beard.
“There’s nothing obvious, is there, so either the killer did it to fool us or it was broken before he was killed,” replied Knowles. “Doctor, what do the other signs tell us about his time of death?”
“They more or less fit with the watch. I would have put the time at between 10:30 and 11:30p.m. last night. Perhaps 11:45p.m. at the outside.”
“Interesting, so I wonder why half-an-hour could make so much difference, if the murderer knew the body wouldn’t be found until the morning?”
“It has to be to establish an alibi, sir – I can prove I was with Person X at 11:06p.m. and they will verify that, whereas half-an-hour earlier or later and that alibi would not hold.”
“Indeed, Sergeant, we shall have to ask our questions very carefully when we meet our suspects.”