Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders
“She was telling me that the Major might have had a few enemies because of his military past both in Iraq and Northern Ireland.”
“And how would she know that?” queried Knowles rubbing the nape of his neck.
“Well I did ask her and she said ‘coffee morning talk’.”
“And she only said that after the other three Smedleys were out of earshot?”
“Very deliberately out of earshot – in fact, having thought about it,” Barnes creased his forehead slightly, ”I think her anger might have been a front to talk to me on her own.”
“And she’s not an actress, but one of The Round Table,” mused Knowles, “she’s in the wrong profession. We will have to check the Major’s war record I suppose, but how would that have cropped up at a ladies coffee morning? At the Round Table? Anyway, is there anyone else for you to interview?”
“I still have to interview Simon Ricketts. The two constables have to take statements from the Trimble family and the Casimirs and then that will be everything.”
“Right, I’ll take Simon Ricketts. I’d like you to set up searches on all our passengers and their relatives and the stewards/train manager/driver to see whether they’ve been in the armed forces and might have come into contact with the deceased. Start with the driver Barry Kenyon because he served in Northern Ireland.”
“You think Mrs Sally Smedley might be right?”
“Well it’s something we have to investigate. The Major is a lifelong serving soldier and so has served in many places with many people; he’s bound to have been unpopular with someone, somewhere at some point. He’s had to follow orders and I am sure those orders will have involved upsetting people either on his side or the opposition.”
“It’s something we have to do, I agree, I’ll do that now. By the way, Simon Ricketts is one of the actors; he’s the one in the red velvet jacket over there by the window. Straw coloured hair and pipe-cleaner figure.”
Barnes winked at Knowles and then walked out of the cafe so he could have more privacy when making his phone calls regarding the military. He’d enquire about Carly Waferr’s relatives just in case…
Knowles wondered why Barnes had winked at him. He checked the seating plan and saw that Simon Ricketts was seated in Seat 7 facing in the same direction as the Major, so he might not have seen too much. Knowles checked where the Smedleys had been sitting and saw they’d been in Seats 1 – 4 at the opposite end of the carriage to the Major. Knowles wondered whether you could fire a dart out of a biro from one end of the carriage to the other and thought it might be possible although there’d be a good chance of someone getting in the way. Unless the dart wasn’t meant for the Major but for someone else instead. He hadn’t thought of that before, so he decided to find out from Dr Crabtree what the cause of death was before continuing with his theories, which were probably half-baked anyway.