“Yes, when you say that, that stokes the fires within me, let’s cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war, or at least the dachshunds of war and see what we can find.”

“The dachshunds of war? Why dachshunds?”

“It’s not really a war, is it? More a skirmish, so a small dog for a small war, if you see what I mean.”

“You need a holiday, my dear, anyway, no more.” With that Filly ran up the road towards the stile, followed by her husband. They vaulted over and walked up the path through the trees, keeping a close eye on the area below, but it seemed devoid of people. Perhaps their ruse had worked, and their opponents were all lying in wait at the front of the house?

They found a shaded gully and scanned the top floor of the house, but the curtains were all closed, apart from one room where someone appeared to be seated and reading a book.

“That looks like a decoy,” said Tompkins, “the heads not moving at all and there’s no movement of the hands, not even turning the pages.”

“They could be a slow reader or are reading an e-book,” suggested Filly.

“No, no movement, a decoy for us to find, so my guess Daisy is in the basement, as far away from there as possible.”

“Clifford the opposition are all at the other end of the property, behind that wall, can you see them? There’s about seven of them and they’re all moving, scanning their horizon.”