Goat Parva Murders – Another extract

This is another extract from my book The Goat Parva Murders: An Inspector Knowles Mystery.

Suddenly Bingo barked and ran off into the undergrowth with his tail wagging vigorously. Mrs Hills turned around and shouted.

“He’s found something I just know it – I wonder who it will be this time.”

Linda Smythe walked over to Mrs Hills and waited to see what Bingo would bring. They didn’t have to wait very long – he came bounding back carrying something in his mouth.

“Bingo please drop the object on to the ground – drop it now, Bingo.”

Bingo dropped the object on the ground and Mrs Hills let out a cry.

“That’s my mobile phone – where did you find this, Bingo, where did this come from?”

“When did you lose it?” asked WPC Smythe.

“About three days ago, at home, I thought Bingo had stolen it – what’s it doing out here?”

“Could he have buried it in the woods without you knowing it?”

“No – he never comes out on his own – even if he did, why would he come this far? It’s a long way to bury something – I have a large back garden too.”

“Could you prompt him to show us where he found the phone?”

“I can try. Bingo, here’s your toy – fetch, Bingo.”

Mrs Hills had taken the precaution of placing Bingo on a lead before allowing him to show them where the phone had been found. Bingo led Mrs Hills into the undergrowth and stopped on a flat patch of ground. He barked and dropped the phone.

“Here, Bingo, did you find the phone here?”

“Someone has been lying down here – you can tell because the plants have been flattened by a large weight – I wonder if the body has been removed by someone else or whether the person was stalking a victim.”

“Another person got to the body before Bingo – well that’s quite a relief – Bingo, you’re losing your touch.”

“Mrs Hills, can I have the phone please – thank you – now can you please go home and report the find to the police as you have done with the others? I will wait here to see if anyone comes back here. Don’t mention me to anyone you see.”

“I will go home and I won’t tell – I know Sergeant Barnes’ number off by heart now.”

Linda Smythe nodded and watched as Mrs Hills headed back to the main road. The WPC then found a spot where she could observe the place where the phone was found without being seen. She took out her phone with its camera and waited.

After 10 minutes the woman whom Linda had seen earlier carrying a basket came into her line of vision. The woman looked around on the ground for a few minutes in some desperation and then shouted out “Where’s it gone – it must be here somewhere?”

Suddenly the woman heard something and decided to hide behind a tree near to WPC Smythe. A few seconds later Sergeant Barnes arrived with a uniformed constable. Barnes looked around on the ground and then produced a roll of tape and cordoned off the area. Lynda Smythe wanted to shout out to Barnes, but didn’t want to betray her position to the woman who was hiding behind a nearby tree. Suddenly Smythe remembered her phone. She rang Barnes’ number and spoke in a low voice when he answered.

“Sergeant Barnes – it’s WPC Smythe here…”

“Speak up, Lynda – I can hardly hear you.”

“I can’t speak up, I am behind a tree and I can see you in the glade.”


“I’m behind a tree and I can see you.”

“Well, come out and talk to me.”

“I can’t there’s someone else hiding behind another tree close by. She’s a suspect.”

“A suspect behind a tree – which tree?”

“The oak tree.”

“I’m not very good with trees – which tree is that?”

“Turn around through 180 degrees.”

Barnes turned around.

“It’s the third one to your right, but don’t look at it – I am behind the next tree but one to the right of the oak.”

Barnes looked up in to the canopy of the wood and turned around again.

“Lynda, I will ask the constable to leave and then I will also leave, but I will go and hide behind a tree.”

“Which tree will you hide behind?”

“There’s a tree with a small boulder in front of it…”

“The ash?”

“Perhaps, yes – I will wait there until our suspect comes into the open.”

“Right – that sounds like a plan – what happens if the suspect doesn’t come out into the open?”

“We’ll give it 20 minutes and then if there’s nothing happening phone me back.”

“OK – I will do that.”

Lynda rang off and watched as Barnes very ostentatiously and woodenly motioned the constable to vacate the scene – he wasn’t going to win many acting awards, she thought. Barnes then surveyed the scene with his hand over his eyes and hurried away towards the road. After about 100 yards he stopped and doubled back keeping low to the ground before coming to a halt behind the ash tree. He was in position.

For about 15 minutes nobody moved and then the woman suspect broke her cover and walked over to the cordoned off area. She got down on her knees and started to search the ground very keenly.

Smythe’s phone vibrated – it was Barnes.

“Is that her?”

“Yes, that’s the one – the only one I know about anyway – there are a few trees around, so perhaps there might be others.”

Barnes ignored the sarcasm. “That’s Carly Waferr – let’s see what she does and we won’t interfere for now.”

“Right, oh, I have another call coming – it’s Inspector Knowles, I’d better take it…Hello, Inspector..I am whispering because I am hiding behind a tree.”

As Smythe listened to Inspector Knowles she watched Carly Waferr scrabbling around in the dirt.

“I am hiding because a suspect is searching the ground in the woods looking for something…no the dog didn’t find a body this morning…yes, you would have won your bet, but Bingo did find a phone that Mrs Hills had lost a few days ago. Sergeant Barnes? He’s hiding behind a tree…no a different tree, an ash tree, my tree is a chestnut tree…yes under the spreading chestnut tree…and he believes the suspect is Carly Waferr. She had been hiding behind an oak tree. Yes, lots of different trees species to hide behind.”

Carly Waferr stood up and hurled abuse at Mother Nature and her thieves before bursting into tears and wandering off into the deeper woods, away from both Barnes and Smythe.

“Should I arrest Carly Waferr, Inspector Knowles, she’s leaving the scene of a possible crime?…No, right I will let her go then. Thanks, Inspector, anyway I should go as Barnes is trying to contact me…hello, Sergeant, no we should let her go…Inspector Knowles said so. Anyway, I think we can stop whispering now as she’s out of sight. Right, oh hold on what was that?”

A twig had snapped and Smythe saw a hooded figure running towards the edge of the woods near the Leicester Road. She quickly took a picture with her camera.

“Who was that?” said Barnes, “and how long have they been hiding for?”

“I am not sure, but they came from behind that horse chestnut tree over there.”

“Why are you so good at identifying trees?” asked Barnes.

“It’s from my I-spy book of trees and from biology class at school,” said Smythe, as she headed to the hiding place of the hooded person.

“You remember details very well,” replied Barnes. “This is the place isn’t it?”

“It is and it looks like whoever it was had been kneeling down for a while – oh look, there’s a black thread.” Smythe found an evidence bag and placed the thread inside and handed the bag over to Barnes.

“There you are, Sergeant, some evidence for you.”

This story is 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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