Inspector Jones is finding life confusing. For a start, he has discovered he is married to person or persons unknown. There are is also the problem with organised Macramé gangs flooding the streets of London with cheap imported yarn. Further complicating matters are the George Washington Marching Bands, waxwork historical figures in Highland Dress, mobs of young girls brandishing bratwurst and the way his young detective constable drives the pink Ford Zephyr Mark III.
Jones knows that something odd is going down and that somehow, the death of Horace Adkins has something to do with it. He also knows that if you really want to follow this you should start by reading the innovatively named Part One followed, in the nature of radical nomenclature, by Part Two.
Now, if you are sitting comfortably and tending your facial hair, read on...
The report took Jones longer to complete than he hoped. There was the interruption when a gang of Buddhist monks arrived at the station reception demanding that he investigate the theft of their collection of Religious Temples Top Trump cards from their bus while they were worshipping in Bishopsgate Steam baths. Then Smithy had decided to leave early because he had promised his wife to pick up some new garden gnomes on the way home.
The main problem, however, was that the report was rather short on substance, the link to Horace Adkins was rather tenuous and his memory was playing rather nasty tricks whenever he tried to grapple with the facts.
Jones was sure that he’d been staking out a small industrial estate in South London. Just why was one of the facts that refused to leave his brain. The peach coloured pages of the report (just under the picture of the cute ducklings) said that he was staking out a lorry with a suspected illegal macramé delivery, but Jones was sure that wasn’t it. After ages struggling with his recalcitrant brain, he’d given in.
He was sure that there was a large, black Oldsmobile parked in an alley. The car was registered to ‘Horace Adkins Entertainment Ltd.’. The windows were heavily tinted, so he couldn’t see who was inside.
While he watched, the rear window slid open and a vintage bazooka poked through. Jones dived over a low wall. The bazooka fired a rocket propelled sweet bagel into the road between him and the lorry. Within seconds, the air filled with hyperactive garden birds, squabbling over the crumbs.
The confusion only lasted a few minutes, but when the air cleared, the lorry was gone.
He heard the Oldsmobile clatter into life and watched it head towards the South Circular. Hailing a passing Llama drawn Hackney Carriage, for the first time in his life he was able to utter the immortal words “Follow that Car!”
The Blackwall tunnel proved traumatic for the Llama. It took considerable coaxing and numerous carrots to coax the beast through by which time the Oldsmobile had got away.
On a hunch, Jones had the driver take him to the ‘Red, White and Blue’ club, the UK’s premier venue for catching top Barbers Shop Quartets and majority owned by Horace Adkins. The hunch proved correct. The Oldsmobile was parked outside with the engine still running.
As they drew up, Vera Anne Adkins, one of Horace Adkins daughters, came out of the club. As she approached the Oldsmobile, Jones overheard her instruct the driver to take her to Witherspoon, Lewes, Grambling, and Witherspoon.
Jones re-read the report several times, before swearing and throwing it down on his desk. Outside it was getting dark and a gang of choral lamplighters, in the style of Jim Reeves, were informing everyone that it was seven-thirty.
“This is hopeless” Jones exclaimed to the empty office. “What would Sherlock do in a situation like this?”
Taking the paper from the drawer, Jones started to go through it. His frustration grew as he realised that it contained very little apart from gossip about the latest reality TV shows and human interest stories arising from the grounding of all European air traffic because of volcanic ash.
He turned to his in basket. It was remarkably thin. He seemed to remember a tower of tottering beige folders, but instead there were six pastel shaded case folders awaiting his attention.
The first was a report of hijacking of a shipment of avocados, the second a missing industrial generator, then two reports of illicit Macramé Houses, an unidentified body dredged from the Thames and finally the mugging of a German Sausage Maker. He flicked the first four in turn, tossing them back into the wire tray with increasing frustration. He was about to do the same with the fifth when something caught his eye.
According to the autopsy, the person had drowned accidentally after swimming in the Thames too soon after taking tea. The contents of the stomach revealed that he had feasted on a dozen pastry fruit fancies, slabs of marble cake and Earl Grey tea before death.
“Bingo!” Jones threw the folder down in triumph. “Tomorrow, I will have a little chat with our friend Darrius Kipling aka the Baker.”
Jones stood up and pulled on his coat. Just as he was about to leave, he noticed something tucked behind the various matchstick models of famous weathermen that adorned his desk. Tucked just behind John Kettley and largely obscured by an action figure of Michael Fish and Ian McCaskill playing lacrosse was a plastic evidence bag.
Jones gently removed the bag and examined the paperback within. It was a well read copy of ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two-thirty’ by Archie McRamie.