Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders. The third book in the Inspector Knowles series sees Knowles and Sergeant Barnes investigating why the wrong person died on a murder/mystery excursion on a steam train. It seems more than one person wanted the victim dead and the question is: who murdered Major Harkness in full view of 24 people without any of them noticing?
“Hence the grandma accent,” said Knowles wondering whether grandmas were the only people who still washed their pots and pans by hand. He looked at his own hands and knew the answer.
“Pardon me,” said Ellie, “where are my manners, do come inside Inspector and rest your weary bones.”
Knowles smiled and walked into the house. The light-blue carpet looked new and complemented the orangey-yellow paint on the walls. There were two Van Gogh prints on the walls.
“Shall we go into the kitchen, Inspector?”
“Why not, just for a change,” said Knowles.
“You usually are invited into the Lounge, I suppose?” said Ellie, “my lounge is a bit of a mess at the moment as I have all my lines written on pieces of paper spread out on the floor.”
“These are the lines for the advert?”
“No, these lines are for Masha in the Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov.”
“And you are performing this where exactly?”
“It’s on at the King’s Theatre in Scoresby early in the new year; we take over when the pantomime finishes and usually that extends its run to accommodate the demand to see men dressing up as women and making slightly rude jokes about people in the news.”
“Well I hope your performance goes well and that you aren’t affected by the heavy snow we’re supposedly going to get early next year.”
“Are we getting heavy snow? I haven’t heard that forecast.”
“Well it’s not official,” said Knowles tapping the side of his nose conspiratorially, “but my next door neighbour, but one, is an old soul who has been keeping an eye on the weather for years and he swears by the predictive powers of seaweed. Apparently, he’s never seen his seaweed so limp, or is it stiff I can’t remember, any way whether it’s stiff or limp he’s predicting a cold winter with lots of snow, so you heard it from me first.”
Ellie Hammond smirked slightly before nodding her head as if playing along.
“I will blame you if it snows then Inspector.”
“No, it’s not my fault the seaweed is limp or stiff, I am just passing along some information that might or might not become true. Blame Mother Nature.”
“Is that why you came around, to tell me about the seaweed?”
“Well, that and to ask you a couple of questions regarding your father who I believe worked for the Ministry of Defence and may have had some contact with Major Harkness.”