Saturday, June 12, 2010

When the Basement Packs and the Needle Drops

Here is part 38 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”.

I couldn’t really find a suitable quiz question today, so instead I took inspiration from the above school as an excuse to have this as the answer.

OK, the quiz question 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!


 “Inspector Jones, how lovely to see you again.” The man from state security moved silently across the office and shook Jones’s hand warmly. “I heard you have an update for us.”

“Yes, sir.” Jones continued to stare out of the window. “I believe I may have discovered something that might have sparked Vera Adkins to want to launch a defamation case.”

Jones shot a glance at the superintendant and then delved into the folder and produced a copy of the article he retrieved from the fish and chip wrapper. The security man took it and sat the Superintendant’s desk.

The only sound in the room was the hiss of the iron and the superintendant quietly singing a Cole Porter melody.  The state security man set down the article, bent down and picked up an embroidered backpack, reached inside and produced a copy of The Sun newspaper for 15th April.

“This is very interesting, inspector.”  The security man’s tone made Jones give an involuntary shiver. “This is a copy of ‘The Sun’ for the 15th I obtained from the British Library. It doesn’t contain the article you just showed me.”

Jones shrugged. The security man delved into the back pack again and produced another copy of The Sun.

“Yet this one does.” The security man placed the paper in front of Jones.

“Where did you get the second paper?” Jones asked quietly.

“You are worried about different versions of the same newspaper?” The Superintendant cut short his chorus and handed his pressed trousers to one of the athletes.  “Everyone knows that there are different editions and regional printings of newspapers.”

“I got this, the second version of the paper from my local recycling centre.” The security man picked up the paper and handed it to the superintendant. “It is the same edition of the London printing of the paper, but it is significantly different. Do you have any explanation?”

 “Obviously there is a very simple and logical explanation.” The Superintendant stated firmly causing Jones and the security man to turn and face him.

There was a long pause before the Superintendant added, “and I am sure that Inspector Jones will supply that explanation.”

“I have no explanation.” Jones replied flatly. “None of my team can explain it. I have copies of the paper from a fish and chip shop. The owner takes the unsold papers from a local newsagent.”

The Superintendant walked over to his desk and read the article, his brow becoming increasingly furrowed as he did so.

“So we have a problem with fake newspapers on our patch?” The superintendant looked at Jones and the security man in turn.

“Who else has seen these papers?” the security man shot the superintendant a glance before turning to Jones.

“I shared them with my team, Constable Tiddles was there when I discovered it. Sergeant Collins may have seen it when I was taking copies.” Jones paused for effect and locked eyes on the security man. “And maybe your man who was with Constable Tiddles when he was reviewing the CCTV footage.”

“My man?” the security man gave another chilling smile. “Why on earth would you think that I would have sent someone in on your case?”

“Well,” Jones slowly stroked his moustache, “there was somebody with Constable Tiddles when he reviewed the CCTV footage as there were two wrappers from fish and chip suppers in the bin. Then, when we brought in Dunker Phil, Sir Andrew Witherspoon was already at the station waiting to represent him.”

“Interesting logic, inspector, but Sir Andrew could have been retained by the Adkins sisters.” The security man’s smile didn’t fade.

“That was my thought originally.” Jones waved a finger in the air as he started to pace up and down in front of the desk. “Only I doubt the Adkins sisters would have chosen Sir Andrew over their usual people for such matters.”

“That, inspector, is pure conjecture.” The security man leant forward, rested his elbows on the desk and pressed his hands together as if in prayer.

“Not really.” Jones stopped pacing. “I believe you know that it was Sir Terrence Cauldron who hired Sir Andrew – and if you didn’t inform him that we were likely to bring in Dunker Phil, then one of us has a leak in their organisation.”

The superintendant’s phone rang. Jones and the security man turned to look at the phone and then slowly turned their gaze on the superintendant.


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