The Frisby Waterless Murders – 19

Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders

Knowles rang off and smiled at the phone – he must think I’m mad – I can imagine when his wife asks him what he did at work and he tells her he’s been searching for pens by a railway line, she’ll think he’s finally cracked. Knowles looked around and saw that Barnes had just finished interviewing a large woman wearing a floral dress. The dress stuck out like a very sore thumb in the bland surroundings of the cafe, but Knowles presumed she hadn’t planned on coming in here today – a posh dining-car was more what she had been expecting. The woman swept out of the cafe leaving a smaller man and two teenage children in her wake. Barnes came over to see him. He looked relieved.

 

“Who was that, Barnesy?’’

 

“That,” replied Barnes pointing at the cafe door, “that was Sally Smedley, who was rather upset that the murder/mystery was cancelled because someone died. She seemed to think it was my fault. I got the impression she wanted us to carry the Major out on a stretcher and then let them carry on with their mystery.”

 

“Who was the man bobbing along behind her?”

 

“Her husband, poor man, Mike Smedley and their two children, John and Katherine who insists on being known as Kate. Not Kathy, but Kate.”

 

“Like mother like daughter?”

 

“Yes, sir. Got it in one.”

 

“Did she or any of the other Smedleys see anything suspicious? Were they given biros to write with?”

 

“Yes, Sally said that she thought that Mrs Harkness opened the window when she sat down at the beginning of the journey, but that the male steward closed it soon afterwards. John said he left his pen on the train and Kate said hers didn’t work.”

 

“And what about Mike Smedley?”

 

“He didn’t say that much other than to say the smoke came in to the carriage from both sets of windows, one on each side of the Major’s seat. There’s no seat under the window to the left-hand side of the major, so any passer-by could have opened it and possibly not been seen.”

 

“And when the smoke came in, where did they go?”

 

“They went and stood by the door at the opposite end of the train to the engine. That door wasn’t under the bridge so they were able to breathe in fresh air.”

 

“Very sensible, so what did Sally say to you after the others had gone?”

 

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