Good News Everyone! I have found the title of this stew of my creative juices; it will be called “A Couple of Tenors Short”. In celebration, I bring you Part Twelve of what might yet prove to be a novel.
As always, I remind you that in order to get the best from any serial, you should start at the beginning which I decided on a whim to name as Part One.
Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.
Inspector Glynn Jones has made a big decision. Even if he is mad, that is no excuse for poor police work. Invigorated by this, he has decided to solve the various puzzles with which he is confronted. This is despite suddenly finding himself married to Pippa Hucknell and having to drive a rather chirpy, lime green Datsun Cherry with a tendency to behave 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, had one of his team hospitalised by feral Girl Guides and found he is quite fond of a pink Mark III Ford Zephyr.
Horace Adkins, the beloved and renowned Barbers Shop Quartet Impresario is presumed dead after his Georgian Mansion was blown up in the course of his suicide. In the mortuary, there is the body of a swimmer who drowned in the Thames after taking a large high tea. The safety of the streets of London is threatened by the illegal importing of cheap Macramé yarn.
Every clue appears to be linked to Horace Adkins.
After finding a copy of ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two-thirty’ by Archie McRamie in which the main character appears to be Horace Adkins, he decides to pay the author a visit. Not only does he discover that McRamie has been abducted, but that all records relating to the case have vanished. Not only that, but he and his sidekick Smithy have no recollection of their previous visit.
Jones is convinced that the ‘John Doe’ in the Thames was murdered by Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling, an employee of the Horace Adkins. Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling and Dunker Phil, another of Adkins employees, 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.
Now read on...
The briefing flowed from Inspector Jones from instinct. Facts were highlighted, evidence divulged, theories postulated. The assembled squad listened intently, some took notes, and others stared at the whiteboard as Jones spoke.
When the briefing ended Jones paused and looked around the room, trying to catch the eyes of everyone there. Satisfied, he called for questions and was disappointed that everyone stayed silent.
“OK then!” Jones slapped the flat of his hand down on the table causing some to jump. “Assignments!”
Jones went around the room. The uniformed constables were sent out to knock on doors around the scene of Archie McRamie’s abduction and see if they could get witnesses. DC Brown was set the task of finding Archie’ McRamie’s car which seemed to have been lost. DC Johnson looked none too happy to be told to get an artist’s impression of the body from the Thames and get it into the papers to see if anyone recognised him, but warmed to it immensely when offered the alternative of rounding up the new pack of feral Girl Guides.
“And finally, Smithy, you are with me.” Jones rubbed his hands together and grinned broadly. “I want updates from all of you at tomorrow mornings briefing.”
Jones paused and watched people slowly rise from their chairs and head to the door before adding, “Remember everybody, let’s be careful out there.”
Smithy trailed along behind the Inspector as he left the station by a side door and took a route to the Zephyr that avoided passing his Datsun.
“Where to, Guv?” Smithy waited until they were both seated comfortably in the Zephyr before asking.
“Oh, yes! Do Tell!” the Sat-Nav piped up before Jones had time to answer. “I do so love visiting new places.”
Jones tried to switch off the Sat-Nav, but it stubbornly refused to power down.
“So? Where to, my cute adventurer with the ginger moustache?” The Sat-Nav asked impatiently.
The Inspector swore, checked his top lip and swore again.
“First, to the mortuary.” Jones announced.
Smithy threw the Zephyr into gear and edged out into the traffic. Throughout the journey, the Sat-Nav kept telling him to watch the road and slow down. Jones kept hitting the ‘off’ button on the unit to no effect. At one point, the Sat-Nav caused Smithy to break hard and nearly be rear-ended by a bendy bus by suddenly exclaiming “Oooo, Look! Shoes to die for!”
The Inspector sat with his arms crossed and stared straight ahead.
The queue for seats for the day’s post-mortems was always worse on Wednesdays. Since Prime Minister Simon Cowell had introduced the incentives for pensioners and the right to choose your own pathologist, it had caused a surge in demand for tickets. Most mortuaries had been forced to install extra seating. As the two policemen ignored the queues and walked straight towards the entrance, there were howls of protest, cat calls and abuse. The leather clad security guards moved in and cracked their whips to try and quell the crowd.
A full colostomy bag was thrown, narrowly missing Smithy and exploding against a waxwork of Alfred Lord Tennyson dressed in the garb of a Greek Sailor. Jones and Smithy made a run for the entrance. Once inside they watched as security slowly restored order before heading toward Doctor Wilkins’s dressing room.
“Wow, Doctor Wilkins!” Smithy gave a quiet whistle. “He’s one of my wife’s favourites, Guv. She just loves him in ‘Autopsies of the stiff and famous’ – never misses an episode.”
Jones ignored him, knocked on the door and without waiting for a reply walked in. A star-struck Smithy followed him in.
The make-up girl scowled as Wilkins jumped from his chair and greeted Jones warmly. They exchanged small talk for a while before Jones took out his wallet and withdrew two of the four tickets for the Light Entertainment Championships. He handed the tickets to the doctor who grinned broadly.
“I’m afraid I haven’t had the final results yet, Inspector.” He said apologetically as he quickly thrust the tickets in his pocket. “However, the preliminary results do suggest that those Fruit Fancies were indeed baked by your friend, Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling. I’ll be able to give you the definitive answer tomorrow.”
“Thanks, doc.” Jones smiled and shook his hand warmly. “As soon as you have them, let me know.”
“Of course” Doctor Wilkins grinned back. “I’ll see you at the Championships!”
The Doctor shook Jones’s hand again then turned and shook the hand of Smithy who just whimpered.
“Come on, Smithy!” Jones grabbed Smithy’s arm and manhandled him out of the room. “No time to dawdle! It’s time I got a haircut!”