My tale continues as I bring you Part Eight the provisionally titled ‘Horace Adkins Saga’. As yet, the title of the piece has yet to present itself to me, so until it does each segment will be titled according to synaptic tangent. For those of you who may be a tad confused, I suggest that you make sure you have the previous parts, starting with Part One.
Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.
Inspector Jones is stubbornly investigating a case linked to Horace Adkins, the renowned Barbers Shop Quartet Impresario. Inspector Jones is still not sure what that case is and is finding that his grasp of reality challenged at every turn.
There are not many clues to work with. There is the body of a swimmer who drowned in the Thames after taking a large high tea that Jones is convinced was murdered by Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling, an employee of the Horace Adkins. Unfortunately, Horace Adkins is presumed dead after his Georgian Mansion was blown up in the course of his suicide. Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling and Dunker Phil were observed with Vera Anne Adkins and Violet Ann Adkins, two of Horace’s daughters, visiting the offices of London’s premier trial lawyers, Witherspoon, Lewes, Grambling, and Witherspoon.
Jones has had a meeting with his Superintendant and a man from the State Security Services who are very interested in finding out why this visit took place, but have told the Inspector that he will be disowned if his investigation results in adverse public opinion.
One piece of evidence he has is an old paperback written by Archie McRamie in which the main character appears to be none other than Horace Adkins.
At every turn, the Inspector is finding the world is turning odd. He suddenly finds himself married to Pippa Hucknell, the investigative journalist whose stories are upsetting his Superintendant. His car is now a rather chirpy, lime green Datsun Cherry that behaves like a puppy. Since the case has started, he has suffered numerous random wardrobe malfunctions, grown a moustache that has turned out ginger, bet against his own station in the upcoming police light entertainment championships, had run in with gangs of Buddhist monks, been forced to deal with feral Girl Guides and found he is quite fond of a pink Mark III Ford Zephyr.
Now read on...
The butler performed a passable samba as he led the two policemen to the library. Smithy shot Jones a puzzled glance. Jones just raised his eyebrows and shrugged.
In the library sat a pretty woman wearing a grey dress and cardigan listening to Doris Day albums on an ancient gramophone. She gave a start when they entered before scurrying over to the Inspector, giving him the briefest of handshakes, mumbling something, blushing furiously and scurrying back to her seat. She sat, hands on knees looking down at her grey slippers with her long chestnut hair cascading down obscuring her face.
“I’m afraid that this terrible business has done nothing to alleviate Ms Perriwinkle’s systemic shyness” the butler said as he positioned himself next to the afflicted girl. “If you will permit, I shall act as translator.”
The butler bent at the waist. Ms Perriwinkle, shielding her face with her hand, whispered into his ear.
“Ms Periwinkle wonders if there is any news of Mr McRamie after his abduction.” The butler intoned in an emotionless tone that only butlers can truly master.
Jones shook his head. “I’m afraid not. Has there been any ransom demand?”
The butler bent at the waist. Ms Perrywinkle whispered into his ear.
“No, Inspector.” The butler paused. “We have had no news at all since your last visit. Mr McRamie’s empty car, drivers door open and engine still running was discovered down the street last week. This is most out of character and we fear the worst.”
The interview continued along the same lines. Inspector Jones would ask a question, the butler would bend at the waist, Ms Perrywinkle would whisper an answer, the butler would then convey to the policemen which Smithy would then scribble down in his Postman Pat notepad.
“Inspector,” the butler spoke without the preceding bob, “we have been through all of this before on your last visit.
“Ah, yes, I know.” Jones shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “But sometimes running over events again like this throws up information that was overlooked. It is all standard procedure.”
Jones shot a glance at Smithy who gave him a wink and a thumbs up signal.
When the interview ended, the butler escorted Jones and Smithy to the door, where he paused and fished out two green lollipops from his silver waistcoat and gave them one each.
“Herring flavour. The extra fish oil might help in your investigation.” The butler turned, paused and added. “I think Ms Perrywinkle has taken shine to you, Inspector. I have never seen her so animated.”
Walking back to the Zephyr, as Smithy was struggling with the cellophane wrapper of his lollipop, Jones spotted the Mercedes pulling away from across the street and smiled.
They climbed into the Zephyr and headed back to the station.
“Guv? Why don’t I remember this case?” Smithy’s voice was at a higher pitch than normal.
“Smithy, I have no idea what is going on.” The exasperated Inspector started to open his lollipop. “As I’ve said before, something odd is going on.”
“Still, no harm done.” Smithy suddenly perked up as an opportunity to overtake a candied asparagus delivery lorry presented itself. “Now I’ve had the extra fish oil, it will all come back to me.”
The Mark III Zephyr’s engine gave a throaty roar as it accelerated past the delivery van, knocked over the candelabra on the traffic island and swerved around the Yoga Group practicing on the roundabout. Smithy flicked the wheel and the Zephyr did a power slide around a waxwork tableaux depicting Florence Nightingale as part of a chorus line. When the Inspector opened his eyes, the road in front of them was clear.
“Smithy, doesn’t any of this worry you?” the inspector took a long suck on his lollipop and winced.
“Worry me? Nah, what’s the point.” Smithy gave a little laugh. “It will all work out in the end, it always does.”
Jones dropped the subject and they lapsed into small talk about the upcoming Light Entertainment Championships.
Back at his desk, the first thing the Inspector did was try to bring up the case notes on the McRamie abduction. There were no records on the computer. There was no folder on any of the desks in the office. Everyone he asked just shrugged and denied all knowledge, even Sergeant Collins.
Just when he thought his mood was not capable of deteriorating further, he got a call from the hospital. Detective Constable Tom Taylor had been admitted and he was in a bad way.