Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders
“Oh yes, that could be the case,” replied Knowles, “does anyone say anything about the time the stewards came through the carriage?”
“I am sure they must, perhaps we could move on to Seats 5 and 6 and bear that in mind?”
“Sounds like a plan, Sergeant Barnes,” said Knowles mimicking one of his Sergeant’s favourite sayings.
“Excuse me, can I just say something?” asked PC Smythe.
Knowles nodded his head, “Go on, Linda.”
“Well, if the curare had taken effect then the Major wouldn’t be breathing and so he wouldn’t have been affected by the smoke coming into the carriage, so he wouldn’t have been coughing and spluttering like everyone else presumably was. Was he coughing?”
“Great observation, Linda, do sit down. I don’t think we’ve interviewed his wife yet, so she probably knows better than anyone else. I would like you two to go and interview her tomorrow; take Sue from social services with you if you want. As regards the coughing, if he had already stopped breathing then he wouldn’t notice the dart in the neck would he?” Knowles furrowed his brow as though thinking deeply.
Barnes countered “He must have been breathing because I am sure he stayed where he was when the smoke came in and his wife would surely have checked he was OK when she came back afterwards. If he’d not been breathing, wouldn’t she have raised the alarm then rather than ten minutes later?”
“You’d have thought so, unless she was in on the whole thing or she was the murderer,” replied Knowles.
“Shall we see what Wallace and Betty Johnson saw?” suggested Barnes.
“Yes, I took their statements,” said Linda, “Betty spent most of her time talking to that ‘nice Daisy Arnold’ who was sitting opposite her in Seat 8. Betty didn’t notice much other than the noise when the Major was moved. She wrote something on a piece of paper with the biro she was given, just to make sure it worked. When the smoke came in she and her husband headed to the back of the carriage away from the engine. She said that Daisy Arnold didn’t come with them and that she wasn’t in her seat when they returned. Daisy returned from the other end of the carriage. As for Mr Johnson, he more or less concurs with his wife. He had a view down the carriage towards the Major and said that people were walking by the Major quite regularly and quite often spoke to him although he doesn’t distinguish between before and after the smoke.”
“Right, you should contact him again, Linda, on that point. It’s vital we find out whether the Major was seen to be animated after the smoke.”
“You make him sound like a cartoon character, sir. Anyway, OK, I will do. Mr Johnson also tried his biro and his worked too. He even took it apart and put it back together again.”