We find ourselves arriving at Part Fifteen of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. I have to admit that this is still proving fun to write and that it looks likely to continue, although some sections seem to lack the pace I’d hoped for and sometimes it has been hard to slip in ‘clues’. Yes, I have it on good authority they are there, feel free to email me if you think you have spotted one. Much better that you tell me than involve the authorities for it can take ages to get the stains out of the cat.
As it is Saturday, I should also include something that relates to the picture. I think I will slip it in... just... about... HERE! Great. Super.
Everyone must be getting really bored with me saying this now, but this is a serial and to get the best from any serial you should keep you milk chilled and start at Part One. I should also point out that this is very much a draft. There are things that need developing in the edit, couple of plot holes to fill and some ideas that I want to weave in. I’m not quite sure how I will get to share those with my loyal readers. However, if any readers think they have spotted any errors, I would appreciate it if you let me know.
Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.
Inspector Glynn Jones is investigating the abduction of Archie McRamie, the theft of industrial generators, forged tickets for the Light Entertainment Championships, feral Girl Guides, the smuggling of illegal Macramé yarn, and a suspected murder of a ‘John Doe’ dragged from the Thames. His biggest obstacle to solving all the cases is that Jones believes he is going mad.
Since the case started, he has found himself married to Pippa Hucknell; found that he driving a rather chirpy, lime green Datsun Cherry that behaves like a puppy; suffered numerous random wardrobe malfunctions; keeps re-growing a ginger moustache; 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 the feral Girl Guides and found the camp Sat-Nav unit in the pink Mark III Ford Zephyr is developing a personality and cannot be switched off.
Doctor Wilkins, the famous TV Pathologist has confirmed the unknown swimmer drowned in the Thames after taking a large high tea. The Fruit Fancies of his last meal are being linked to Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling. Darrius works for Horace Adkins, the beloved Barbers Shop Quartet impresario who is presumed dead after a massive explosion at his Georgian Mansion which the local police have suggested was suicide.
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 only to find that both he and Smithy had been there before but cannot remember anything about it. Not only does he discover that McRamie has been abducted, but that all records relating to the case have vanished.
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...
It was years since Johnny Jackson and Glynn Jones had shared a desk at Secondary School in Swansea. Within minutes they’d forged a friendship that had seen them share triumphs and disaster, a bond that held firm when Glynn had joined the police and Johnny had gone away to University. When Johnny started work in London, Glynn had transferred to the Met. They shared a flat in Fulham for years before Johnny married. Glynn had been his best man.
The two sat at the corner table in the ‘Lamb and Ledger’ and chatted and laughed and teased each other the way that only old friends can. Glynn teased Johnny over his ineptitude at sport. Johnny responded with anecdotes over the way Glynn caused chaos in Miss Morgan’s music class and how he had become the king of the triangle at school concerts.
Eventually, Jones fell silent and stared at his empty plate. Johnny observed him with his head tilted to one side.
“Look, Johnny. Normally I wouldn’t ask anything like this, but...” Jones paused and bit his lip. “I have a huge favour to ask.”
“Ask away. After all, what are mates for?” Johnny laughed and slapped Jones on the arm.
“Well, a couple of days ago...” Jones voice trailed away and he clasped his hands together in his lap. “A couple of days ago, Vera Adkins visited Witherspoon, Lewes, Grambling, and Witherspoon and, well... errr... people are curious as to why.”
Johnny Jackson leaned back in his chair and let out a low whistle. “Come on Glynn. That’s client confidentiality.”
Jones nodded. “As I said, I wouldn’t normally ask.”
Johnny looked hard at his friend. “OK, but it will cost you one of your home cooked exotic meals in the company of that gorgeous wife of yours PLUS two tickets to the Light Entertainment Championships.”
Inspector Jones nodded. “How about Saturday night?”
“Perfect!” Johnny grinned. “It was all rather odd really. Vera Adkins turns up at the office and is all dramatic, like. Sits in the outer office and demands an appointment. Luckily, Sir Andrew Witherspoon agreed to see her.”
“Sir Andrew? The senior partner?” Jones interjected.
“Yes and without a murmur.” Johnny leaned forward. “Anyway, while she was waiting, Vera gets a call saying that her father, Horace Adkins had committed suicide. Yet, she still insists on seeing Sir Andrew. Oh she gives a few sobs and that, but she stays put and waits.
“Anyway, she gets shown through and I find some papers that need filing in the cabinets next to Sir Andrew’s door. Once inside she says she wants to launch a defamation case. Says her father’s good name has been impugned and wants to see the people responsible pay.”
“Who needs to pay?” Jones interrupted.
“Dunno.” Johnny gave a shrug. “Before they got to talk about that, who should turn up but Violet Adkins. Once she finds out that her sister is in with Sir Andrew, she comes storming through, shoots me a look that would have lemmings running for the nearest cliff and goes right into Sir Andrew’s office without even knocking.
“Then the two sisters start to argue. Violet tries to talk her sister out of the case, but at first Vera is having none of it. Then, all sudden like, she changes her mind. Decides that she doesn’t want to take the case forward and they both leave.”
“What did Violet say that changed her mind so suddenly?” the Inspector scratched at the back of his neck.
“Something about their sister has organised everything to ensure their Father’s good name will be remembered and that soon he will be the most popular and famous man in Britain.”
“Sister? Which sister?” Jones asked eagerly
Johnny just shook his head. “Dunno. But do you know what was really weird? As soon as they left, Sir Andrew was straight on the phone to Sir Terence Cauldron to arrange to meet for drinks.”
“Sir Terence Cauldron the politician? The Minister for the Environment?” Jones asked
Johnny nodded then checked his watch. “Look, I have to go. I’ll see you Saturday, yes?”
The two stood and hugged before Johnny Jackson scuttled out of the door. Jones watched him go, drained his pint then settled the bill.
Outside in the street, a group of schoolchildren were dressing a waxwork of Sir Francis Drake as a Franciscan monk. A group of their friends sat on a low wall plucking out sea shanties on ukuleles. As Jones passed, they stopped and watched him intently. One of them pointed at the Inspector said something to the group and they all laughed.
Taking a deep breath, Jones strode off to the bus stop where he rang Smithy and asked him to get two more tickets for the Light Entertainment Championships.