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.
“I think this was practice, not keeping time.” Gertrude nodded her head gently as if to reassure herself she was right.
“We will find out what time they finished last night.”
“Any idea which way the person outside your room was heading?” asked Barnes.
“Down the stairs, I think, as I heard their footfalls for a few seconds.”
“Were the footfalls heavy or light, would you say?”
“They were light steps I think, but it could just have been someone being considerate knowing we were asleep rather than someone trying to avoid detection.”
‘Of course, that’s the most likely explanation. Who would have walked by your door? What are the other rooms on that side of the house?”
“Well, there’s the upper library and my son’s bedroom.”
“So it was most likely Sir Michael or Bunny then?’
“Or anyone coming out of the upper library,” interjected Knowles.
“Where the sword was kept before it was stolen,” said Barnes.
“The sword was stolen a while ago,” objected Mrs. Johnson, raising her hand to her temple and rubbing it gently.
“Yes, but it might not have been moved very far, Mrs. Johnson, not stolen as much as relocated in the library for future use. If it were found, then the thief or relocator would not have been incriminated.” Barnes leaned forward so both his arms were resting on the table.
“I see – well, that implies a lot of forward planning on behalf of the thief or relocator as you call them. As though they were imagining using the sword for the crime that was committed last night.”
“Indeed, Mrs. Johnson, this killer is rather cold-blooded in their planning, as though they were anticipating Edward Pritchard returning and they already knew, ahead of time, how they were going to deal with him.”
“You believe that Edward Pritchard was blackmailing the killer?”
Knowles interrupted the conversation. “Well, we have no firm ideas yet, so I think we have used up enough of your time for now, Mrs. Johnson. Could you please ask Wilkinson, the chauffeur, to come and see us next?”
Mrs. Johnson nodded her consent, rose from the table, and bade the policemen a fond farewell.
“Could she could have heard the killer heading down the stairs, do you think, sir?” asked Barnes.
“Well, Barnesy, I doubt it unless the killer is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character – clever enough to hide a sword in a library and plan the murder, yet stupid enough to walk past people’s bedrooms holding that sword. I think the killer is clever and smart enough to use the circular staircase to go downstairs and thus reduce the chances of being seen and heard. When these interviews are over let’s go to St Anthony’s in Manton Rempville village and see if we can find out when those bell ringers were practicing their peals and rounds last night.”
“What did Wilkinson say in his statement?”
“Let’s just read it together, Sergeant.”