The horror! Due to some strange twists in the fabric of reality, I have discovered that I have somehow managed to get a mismatch between the numbering of the parts on my blog and on my manuscript!
So, my fine yeomen, we find ourselves visiting part 31 of “A Couple of Tenors Short” for a second time. Rest assured that although the part numbers are the same, the actual content is different. Yes, I know, I have been a naughty boy. I shall be seeking volunteers to administer the spanking later.
It does make it rather difficult with the title, picture and quiz question. I fear you are left with an absolute stinker related the number 31.
It seems to be a tradition now that I also give you the answer. Yes, it was so obscure I couldn’t find the actual song, but the group are better known for this.
OK, the quiz questions out of the way, here is my mantra. This is a serial. Any new-joiners should start with the opener known as Part One.
The troublesome recap has now settled into its new home. You can find the recap here!
Now read on...
Violet Adkins glided across the thick pile carpet and gestured to a chair opposite Vera Adkins. “Please, take a seat, inspector.”
Jones thanked her and sat down in the chair. Smithy sat at end of the table, three seats down from Jones. Violet walked round the table and took a seat next to Vera.
“I’d like to say it is a pleasure to meet you again, Inspector” Vera spoke icily, raised an eyebrow and paused before adding. “How can we help you?”
“We are investigating a suspicious disappearance. “Jones rested his arms on the table and clasped his hands together. “We believe that one of your employees may be able to help with our enquiries.”
“I can assure you that we run a legitimate business here, inspector.” Vera’s voice cracked slightly. “We would not sanction...”
Her voice trailed off when Violet gripped her arm.
“I’m not suggesting otherwise, Ms Adkins.” Jones smiled broadly. “However, we have reason to believe that one of your employees was a material witness to the disappearance and was seen in the area in a black Oldsmobile registered to Horace Adkins Entertainment Ltd. We would just like ask Dunker Phil a few questions.”
“The Oldsmobile is a general pool car, inspector.” Vera looked at him through narrowed eyes. “If it is not in use for clients or the family, employees can use it.”
“So I understand.” Jones gave Vera a smile. “Do you keep a log of the journeys by any chance?”
“No, inspector.” Veronica spoke for the first time. “Our clients often appreciate our discretion when it comes to publicity and the like. So we do not make their comings and goings a matter of record.”
There was a knock on the door and a young girl dressed as a French maid entered carrying a tray of tea. She brushed against Jones as she placed it on the table and when he caught her eye she gave him a wink.
A few moments later, The Baker entered with a tray of sandwiches and cake. He glared at Jones and then announced he’d been unable to find Dunker Phil. Violet instructed him to keep looking.
The maid served tea.
“Milk and sugar, inspector?” Violet asked sweetly. “And your... companion?”
The made stiffened and looked at Jones and then Smithy. She hurriedly served the tea with milk and sugar without waiting for any response. After placing the cups in front of the policemen, she rushed from the room.
“I see.” Jones slowly took a sip of tea. “Last Thursday afternoon, the 14th. Do you happen to know who was using the car then?”
“I’m afraid we cannot help, inspector.” Violet smiled at Jones without glancing at her sisters.
“That is a shame.” Jones smiled sweetly in return. “Simply for the record, you understand, could three of you confirm where you where on Thursday afternoon?”
“Of course we can, Inspector.” Veronica spoke and gave a little start as Vera dug her in the ribs with an elbow. “We were hosting a few friends at Newmarket races.”
“Thank you.” Jones stroked his moustache. “Has any of you seen Archie McRamie recently?”
“Who?” Vera looked at her sisters in turn.
“He’s the writer fellow who did father’s book.” Violet patted Vera’s arm. “He was at one of Adkin’s Brewery’s publicity events a couple of weeks ago, I chatted to him briefly.”
“Oh yes, that’s right.” Veronica chipped in. “I saw him a couple of days later at some drinks party, but we didn’t speak.”
The phone on the table behind the Adkins sisters rang. Vera answered it and spoke briefly.
“Oh dear.” She turned back and gave the inspector a tight lipped smile. “It appears that Dunker has a family emergency to deal with and has travelled up North somewhere to handle it. I’m afraid it won’t be possible for you to talk with him.”
“How... unfortunate.” Jones rose from his seat. “I’m so grateful for your time.”
“Oh please, inspector.” Violet pushed the plate of cakes toward him. “You must try one of Darrius’s creations. They’re to die for you know.”
Jones looked at the plate and then deep into Violet’s eyes before declining the offer. Turning on his heel, he strode out of the room. Smithy scampered along behind. As Jones shut the door, he heard the three sisters burst out laughing.