The Goat Parva Murders – An Inspector Knowles Mystery – Beginning of Chapter 2

Knowles decided that he and Barnes should arrive at Mrs Hills’ house in his Land Rover but that Mrs Danica Baker-Clements would be more impressed by Barnes’ Morgan. They drove to Scoresby station, dropped off the Morgan and then chugged over to the Hills’ house imaginatively called The Cottage.

After they knocked on the door of The Cottage there was a deep-throated “Woof, woof” from inside the house and a muffled shout from Mrs Hills, before she flung open the front door. Knowles and Barnes brandished their IDs. The smell of kippers filled their nostrils.

“Mrs Hills? I am DI Chris Knowles and this is Rod Barnes my sergeant – we’d like to talk about your grisly discovery this morning.”

“Is that your police ID, it looked more like your library card, and it’s expired – did you know that Inspector Knowles?”

“Ah I was hoping you wouldn’t notice – I left the police ID in my other trousers at home.”

“You have another pair of trousers – I am so impressed Inspector, do come in and make yourself at home.” Barnes suppressed a smirk as Knowles cleared a path to the sitting room where they were offered a seat on the couch. Knowles sat down and Barnes stood behind him.

“Should Bingo be present, inspector,” enquired Mrs Hills, “he was the one who found the body after all.”

“Bingo should be present yes Mrs Hills – please bring him here.”

“Bingo here boy,” shouted Mrs Hills. Bingo bounded into the room and started to eye Knowles’ shoes surreptiously.

“What kind of dog is this?” said Rod Barnes, watching the creature from his vantage point behind the couch.

“He’s a pure-bred retriever, sergeant” said Mrs Hills patting Bingo and throwing an old slipper for him to ‘retrieve’ from the hallway.

“So Mrs Hills,”…

“O please call me Adelaide, inspector.”

“OK, …Adelaide, can you let us know how you came to find the body.”

“It was Bingo that found the body of the Shapiro man – Bingo and I had walked along Sharrock Lane to the river and then around Doggett’s Field when we met Carly.”

“Who she?”

“She lives just down the road; her daughter’s just left to go to university in Edinburgh – she was telling me all about this after she appeared out of Hen’s Wood.”

“What did she say she’d been doing?”

“Collecting non-poisonous mushrooms, Inspector. She had a hangover too from her home-made wine.” Mrs Hills flashed her pearly white teeth at the inspector.

“She particularly emphasized the fact that the mushrooms were non-poisonous?”

“She definitely mentioned it, yes.”

“So at what point did Bingo here find the body then, Mrs Hills?”

Mrs Hills flushed a slight red colour – “He brought back a shoe.”

“And then you went and found the body?”

“No Carly and I continued to talk and she took the shoe away from Bingo and tried it on her foot.”

“Right, so what happened next?”

“Well Bingo is a retriever…” stammered Mrs Hills, “he went and fetched the other shoe.”

“And then you went and found the body?”

“No Carly and I continued to talk and she took the shoe away from Bingo and tried it on her other foot. She did remark it was unusual to find a matching pair of shoes.”

Knowles shook his head in disbelief

“Let me get this right, you were chattering with your Carly friend while your dog was stripping the body and interfering with a crime scene?”

“I didn’t know he was doing that – it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice.”

“Where are the shoes now?”

“Carly must still have them.”

Barnes chimed in – “At what point did you suspect that there was something amiss?”

“When Bingo brought the belt for us.”

“At what point did Bingo take off Clem’s outer garments?”

“What? Bingo isn’t that strong – he couldn’t have done that – Clem was wearing a jacket when I saw the body.”

“Did Carly come with you to see the body.”

“Yes, she did.”

“Perhaps she took the jacket for some unknown reason?”

“I didn’t see her do anything to the body although I did leave her behind with it when I went to call you, the police that is.”

“We shall have to go and visit Carly – just one final thing, Mrs Hills…Adelaide, did Bingo exhibit any other unusual behaviour during his walk?”

“He didn’t really – he was distracted a few times but that’s normal for him. If I think of anything I will let you know.”

As they left Mrs Hills’ home Knowles sought Barnes’ opinion.

Barnes stroked his slight goatee beard:

“She’s not telling us the whole truth but I am not sure why as she didn’t do anything suspicious.”

“Too right, “ said Knowles, “she’s fine but that dog, it’s weird, it was staring at my shoes all the time, and I wonder whether something else is missing apart from the shoes, belt, and jacket. Like a stool or chair or something. That dog couldn’t have pulled shoes off a body, so they must have been untied beforehand, which suggests our Clem was in it for the duration and had either taken off his shoes or loosened them – but you wouldn’t do that if you were standing up. He would also have loosened the belt if he was going to spank one out while watching Danica and his hand was in the appropriate place to do that when he was smacked on the head.”

“Where to next sir?”

“Carly’s place – see if we can find those missing items.”

“So you know Carly then?”

“I do, Sergeant, I just act stupid and ignorant for the benefit of our suspects.”

“Do we charge her with receiving stolen property?”

“Unless she’s sold them then no, but we’d have a real problem convincing the jury that Bingo was a thief and she was his fence. She’s barking mad but that still doesn’t put her on the same wavelength as Bingo. ”

Continued here

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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