Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders
“You’d have thought so,” said Barnes.
“Sounds like a cover story,” continued Knowles, “let’s find out what they were really talking about, by asking Marie Stellen and see what she says.”
“Sounds like a plan, sir, who should speak to her?”
“I can if you’d like,” said Smythe.
“Yes, I’d like that Linda, see if she concurs with Josef’s view of their conversation.” Knowles smiled as if expecting that she would not.
“We’ve already spoken about the charmless occupant of Seat 16,” said Barnes, “so let’s move on to Peter Johnston in Seat 17, whom I had the pleasure of speaking with. He was more or less facing the Major for the whole of the journey. He said that the Major was greeted by a number of people from the Round Table, but not by any of the actors in the dramatics as he put it. Mr Johnston didn’t remember the Major having a problem with his table or trying to open the window, but he might have been speaking to Pat McMaster and not noticed. Pat McMaster is his partner, Patricia not Patrick.”
“Thanks for the clarification, Barnesy,” said Knowles, winking at Smythe, “so the person who was almost directly facing Major Harkness saw nothing untoward. This is not good news as I was hoping for a lead from someone closer to the Major. I presume Mr Johnston noticed no distracting incidents such as coffee being spilled, feet being trodden upon, etc?”
“Not that he mentioned, sir, but he might have not been noticing himself, Mr Johnston could have been distracted.”
“Something has to have happened; the Major would surely notice being jabbed in the finger unless there was a distraction,” said Knowles.
“What about a distraction in the handshake, sir? Like a masonic signal or squeezing his fingers together too tightly?” asked Smythe.
“We need a list of hand shakers, along with the time the handshake took place.”
“Seat 18 was occupied by David Yeung,” continued Barnes, “and he was interviewed by PC Wang – Linda do you have the details?”
“I do, Sergeant Barnes, David Yeung has been a member of the Round Table since 1997 when he came over here from Hong Kong. He arrived this morning at around 9:25am along with Mrs Cridge and they took their seats on the train close to the Major, whose hand they shook as he was being moved to his new seat. They have known him for a few years. Mr Yeung said that almost all the members of the Round Table greeted the Major at some point before the train started off. Mr Yeung spent the journey admiring the scenery and talking to Mrs Cridge before coffee was served around 9:50am. Mr Yeung chatted to Mr Johnston opposite and then when the smoke came in they headed for the kitchen/dining car area for 10 minutes whilst the smoke dissipated. When they came back, Mr Yeung was almost immediately aware there was something wrong with the Major and the train headed back to Flixton at something approaching full-steam.”