Tuesday, 17 November 2015

NINETEEN - Ladies' day

Wednesday November 4

“I’ve decided what to do,” Gary told Cleo at breakfast.
“You talked in your sleep, Gary. I think you were rehearsing that questioning.”
“I’m taking on some of the Hartley Agency idiosyncrasies.” said Gary. “One of them is to think seriously about the suspects. I used to get some facts, put them in order along with tangible evidence and lock a suspect up, usually after charging him or her with whatever offences were on the cards.”
“And now?”

EIGHTEEN - Brainstorming

Tuesday cont.

Gary got home early enough for a siesta. Gloria would take PeggySue for a walk. Charlie was going to play with her classmate Helen,  who lived nearby, so she would not be coming straight home after school. Gary and Cleo would rest for a couple of hours. Siestas in the afternoon were probably their best times of the day: time to muse, make love and regenerate. Talking about crime was not high on the siesta agenda.

Monday, 16 November 2015

SEVENTEEN - The Femme Fatale

Tuesday November 3

Cleo and Gary decided that Edith Parsnip had the strongest motive to kill the vicar. Greg’s description of the tea-lady that included spotting a small birthmark on her left hand would could easily be verified.  It was potentially a damning clue to Edith’s guilt. Cleo could not remember noticing if Edith had such a birthmark. It would make life a whole lot easier if Edith was guilty, though it would be devastating for the boys. Over a pot of coffee she and Gary discussed the  possible break-through to identifying the tea-lady. Gary would confront Edith with Greg . That might be the conclusive moment in the identification of the poisoner.

SIXTEEN - In vino veritas

Monday cont.

Gary had only just arrived back at the office when Roger Stone rang.
“Gary. We have a problem,” he said. “I got a phone call early this morning warning me about Frank Cook. Can you come to my office. We need to talk personally in case our phones have ears.”

Sunday, 15 November 2015

FIFTEEN - Blame the stork

Monday November 2

“Is it Monday already?” groaned Gary. "I don’t want to get up."
“You really should. It’s past seven thirty.”
“That late? What about PeggySue’s breakfast?”

Saturday, 14 November 2015

FOURTEEN - Inconstant nymph

Sunday cont.

It was with heavy hearts that Job’s comforters knocked on the front door of the vicarage.
A jovial Edith Parsnip opened the door.
“Why didn’t you come round the back?” she said, leading the way to the kitchen. “We are just having a little drink. Would you like one? It’s Beatrice’s home-made elderberry wine, but between you, me and the gatepost I think there’s more rum in it than elderberries. A year’s fermentation has done the rest. Cheers!”

Friday, 13 November 2015

THIRTEEN - All saints

Sunday November 1

Just after midnight Dorothy phoned. She had just arrived home from the hospital in a taxi and was eager to tell Cleo what had happened in the meantime. Gary listened in, of course. He was just as curious.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

TWELVE - Halloween

Saturday October 31

Saturday started late except for Charlie getting up soon after six. She had switched on the Saturday morning kids’ TV entertainment, made herself cocoa in the Microwave, found the chocolate biscuits and settled down for a couple of hours of uninterrupted viewing before the grown-ups appeared.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Eleven - Albert's secret

Friday October 30

Cleo and Gary made the most of their free hours, but once Charlie arrived home later than usual because she’d been to hockey practice you could say that the honeymoon was over for the time being. Charlie’s knees were bloody and she was dishevelled.

Monday, 9 November 2015

TEN - Multi-tasking

Thursday October 29

 Frederick’s disappearance had left Upper Grumpsfield’s parish church. St Peter’s, in disarray. The Bishop would be sure to send someone to preach on Sunday, but that did not solve the problem of the traditional Christmas entertainment, most of the responsibility for which fell on Dorothy Price’s shoulders.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

NINE - Small talk

Wednesday cont.

Gary was giving PeggySue her supper when the front door bell rang. Cleo opened the door to Chris, who was accompanied by a young man. Gary introduced his little daughter briefly and went to put her to bed. PeggySue was tired. She would sleep all through whatever loud conversation and laughter ensued.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

SEVEN - The coffee bar

Wednesday October 28

Cleo and Dorothy agreed that the walk down the hill to Lower Grumpsfield would do them good. It was quite a long way. Plenty of time to discuss the Grishams and the continued absence of Frederick Parsnip.

Friday, 6 November 2015

SIX -Too many Cooks?

Tuesday cont.

Robert had included porterhouse steaks in Cleo's order although she hadn’t asked for any. No T-bone, however. Was that symbolic of their estrangement? T-bone steaks had been frequently on the menu that she and Robert had grilled and eaten together when their appetite for them far exceeded the appetite they had for one another. In the end, their passion for good food had replaced any vestige of passion. If Cleo had not felt committed to keeping the partnbership going whatever it cost, she could have put an end to what was becoming a farce. Gary’s only explanation later was that she had been in denial.

FIVE - Confessional

Tuesday cont.

Cleo decided that she and Dorothy would find out more about Grisham with their own methods. They would also make an effort to trace the vicar, though Cleo did not think there was much hope if he had decided to disappear. But they would trad carefully. No one should find out that they were doing their own bit of spying.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

FOUR - Hometruths

Tuesday October 27

Domestic bliss is all very well, but it doesn’t get crimes solved.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

THREE - B420 slash 256

Monday cont.

About ten miles from Upper Grumpsfield Gary followed the instructions given to him by the patrol officer. He was to turn off the main road and drive down a very bumpy lane for about a hundred yards to an open space. There they would find the car and the police officer in charge would be waiting for them. The area had been cordoned off and an ambulance was standing by.
Gary had a digital camera in the glove pocket of his car. He took photos from where they had parked. Cleo took photos on her mobile.
 “Let’s get closes

Sunday, 1 November 2015

TWO - Beatrice

Monday October 26

Although the five Parsnip boys would brag at school about their hero of a father going to Africa to convert the pagans, they were not sorry to see him go.

ONE - Never on a Sunday

Sunday October 25

The grand opening of Upper Grumpsfield’s new cake shop and cafĂ© was now less than a week away, but some of the villagers were gossiping about something quite different. Rumour had it that the nice family butcher, who had recently moved back into the flat above his shop after deserting his wife and moving out of her cottage, had entertained a lady. She had stayed most of the night before hurrying back to (and here voices were lowered reverently) the vicarage.