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.
After Sir Michael had turned on his heel and gone back into the hall, Barnes sidled over to Knowles and asked, “Do you really know the Chief Constable, sir?”
Knowles glanced around conspiratorially and straightened his blue tie before saying,
“I know who he is and I have attended the same gatherings as him on two occasions. I have met him and shaken his hand. I did also attend a course of his on group interrogations, during which he recommended a certain way of doing things. Namely, you break the news and then observe who looks at whom and whether anyone looks particularly blasé, which shows they are hearing news they already know.”
“It’s that straightforward, is it?”
“No, but it’s worth a try, Barnesy. I will need you to watch for blasé looks and suspicious glances. Don’t just stare at Henrietta with your tongue hanging out, watch everyone closely.”
“Blasé looks and suspicious glances – understood, sir. Sounds like a plan. Shall we go in and find the lower library?”
“Yes, let’s do that – this topiary is driving me batty.”
The two men went through the front door and stood and admired the staircase, which was wooden with a central carpet of light red. To their left was an open door leading to a billiards or snooker room with the sound of voices beyond. The policemen walked past the snooker cues, card table and dartboard and looked through another doorway into the lower library, which had a circular staircase in the far corner. The chattering stopped and seventeen faces turned in expectation towards them.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for gathering together at such short notice,” began Knowles. “For those of you who don’t know, I am Detective Inspector Colin Knowles and this is Detective Sergeant Rod Barnes. We are from Scoresby CID. I would appreciate it if everyone could provide their names one at a time starting from this side of the room,” he gestured to his left, “so that when we interview you individually, we will know who we are talking to. Starting with you, sir.”
As people said their names with varying degrees of irritation, Barnes noted down the name as well as their location within the room. Once all seventeen names had been provided Knowles continued.
“We are here in connection with a murder at the monastery last night at 11:06p.m. – the murder of a young man called Edward Pritchard.” He paused to look around the room. “He was murdered by a person, or persons, unknown. He was stabbed through the back of the chest with a cavalry sword. My understanding is that Edward Pritchard was once employed here as a gardener.”
There was a slight wave of consternation around the room and the policemen got the impression that everyone looked at someone different. Miss Newton put her head in her hands after looking at Gwendoline, who had glanced at her fiancé Ellis Hardaker, who had glared in the direction of James Beauregard, the friend of Cedric Johnson. Cedric was looking inquisitively at his mother, Bunny. Sir Michael Johnson spoke first.