Saturday, 2 September 2017

Fifteen - Keys

Saturday cont.

A breakfast brain-storming was an unusual feature of the Hartley Agency business practice if it included Gary. Normally, Cleo and Dorothy had a second breakfast together early in the week to talk over cases and procedures, but Saturday had revealed the urgency of getting things done, especially for Dorothy, who had created quite a stir with her report on Toby Bates and had not planned a leisurely family weekend. Nobody could define convincingly the connection between Eve Bates, Sally and the death of Toby Bates, nor even if there was one. However, if Eve Bates could be located – and that was possible, given that her corpse had never been found – she could answer some rather urgent questions.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Fourteen - Clearing the decks?

Saturday October 6th

The breakfasters listened attentively to Dorothy’s account of her visit to the Crightons. Gary agreed that an identity parade should be held as soon as possible, but Barbarella Knowles would also have to answer some searching questions about her car. He would invite her to talk about things the following Monday. Over the weekend the Crightons would be given a time to be at HQ that afternoon for the identity parade. A very large cook from HQ canteen and one or two other large ladies would be invited to join the line To make sure the Crightons came, a squad car would collect them and take them home again. Dorothy thought the Crightons would be alarmed. Gary thought that was of no importance compared with the necessity of ruling Knowles either in or out of the investigation. He would take care of the arrangements.
“So how about the Fargos?” said Cleo. “I can’t wait to hear how that questioning went.”

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Thirteen - Private eyes and others

Friday cont. then the weekend of October 6th

It was mid-afternoon before Gary got away from the office. He had tried to find out more about Kate Crown’s past, but had drawn a blank. Either she had not got things wrong in the past, or else nothing had been reported to the police. Gary thought Cleo should take a look at her before he came to any conclusions. To that end he had spoken to Chris and acquired the equipment necessary for a small blood sample to be obtained from her that day.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Twelve - Pills and patients

Friday cont.
Cleo’s morning had included her chat with Robert and Dorothy’s visit. As usual, Grit had taken PeggySue to the nursery and done the shopping. Toni had taken the older twins for a walk to explore Upper Grumpsfield, while Max and Mathilda spent most of the morning in the arm of one or other of the two sleuths until the babies needed feeding before being put to bed for a sleep. Toni had integrated well into the family. Tommy and Teddy had taken to her immediately. Charlie and Lottie stuck around to help.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Eleven - In remembrance...

Friday cont.

The knowledge that Miss Barbarella Knowles was the owner of the car that was observed racing away from the church hall occupied Dorothy’s thoughts all the way home. She would not go around asking questions until she had discussed the situation with Cleo, she decided. A number plate belongs to the car, she argued. The driver could have been someone else – perhaps the car was hijacked.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Ten - Ticking over

Friday 5th October

It was not until after breakfast that Cleo was able to discuss her phone call with Fay Colby or even tell Gary the astonishing news about Brass. The rest of Thursday evening had been taken up with getting the family organized. Gary had not been back to HQ, but had called Nigel to hear of anything he should know about and drawn a blank. It seemed as if HQ was simply ticking over as they waited for forensic findings and research into various aspects of various other cases had been carried out. It was what Cleo liked to call the summer hole and Gary was certainly in danger of falling into it.
Dorothy phoned to say she had been to see Jane Barker at the hospital, but had not been able to talk to her properly.
“At least she has recovered consciousness, Dorothy. That’s a step in the right direction.”

Friday, 23 June 2017

Nine - Toni

Thursday cont.

Gary and Roger were tucking into their pizzas at Romano’s bistro when Greg phoned.
“Mrs Barker’s in a coma, Gary, but the doctor thinks she’ll live.”
“I damn well hope she does. I’d really like to ask her some questions.”

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Eight - Finding's keeping

Thursday cont. 

Gary was propping up the low wall surrounding the Fargo garden when Cleo drove up.
“There’s no one in,” he said, hugging Cleo briefly.
“That’s not really surprising,” said Cleo. “I expect everyone’s at work. What about the garden?”
“Chris has gone round the back, but nothing seems to have been disturbed recently and judging from the beautifully trimmed lawn edges and tidiness I should think they employ a gardener, so it’s hardly likely that they would dig a large hole somewhere.”

Seven - Soup kitchen

Thursday, 4th October

If Jane Barker had not joined the Finch Nightingales as provider of refreshments and modest addition to the altos, Louise Keys would have been less worried about the coming rehearsal!
Admittedly, if the issue with Toby Bates’ poisoning had not been a problem requiring urgent attention, the very idea that the soup served by Jane as light refreshment on a cool summer evening was contaminated might never have occurred to anyone.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Six - Deathcap

Wednesday cont.                 This chapter has a new ending!

It was no wonder that Cleo’s trip to Middleton library did not reveal much, since Bertie Browne published anything resembling anything in his twice-weekly Gazette that was long on page-filling, but short on information and entirely independent of accuracy. Hot air was good enough to fill the pages that were not devoted to price-slashing (if you can believe that) offers of cars, cats and cucumbers. The Fargo family did not merit a single mention.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Five - The tramp

Wednesday cont.

Cleo decided she should find out more about the Fargo family before regaling Gary with Dorothy’s advice. It was just possible that the tramp had genuinely been mistaken for the deceased relative. One way into that mystery would be to find out if there was a likeness between Dr Fargo and the tramp.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Four - Night Rider

Tuesday night, Wednesday 3rd October

Edith Parsnip had allowed Robert to leave and was getting was ready for a lonely night when Brass banged the vicarage gargoyle against the solid oak front door, so she answered the door in her negligée, a flimsy garment that revealed more than it hid.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Three - Marigolds

Tuesday 2nd October

Fred Bradley, known to everyone as Brass, was one of a rota of cops who ran the local constabulary in Upper Grumpsfield. It was really only a room with a counter and IT equipment, a coat stand, a loo and a tiny kitchen.

Two - Louise temporarily calls the tune

Monday cont. into Tuesday

Cleo Hartley now Hurley wondered how her husband would take the news that she was planning a project that was a far cry from what he used to call snooping but now knew better. She would probably have less time to air her theories on the current cases that beset the Chief Inspector who had, despite himself, become quite reliant on his wife’s Agency and her wise comments, and been put on the straight and narrow more than once by Dorothy’s hunches.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

One - Ouverture and beginners, please

The day Louise Keys moved to Upper Grumpsfield should have been one of rejoicing and gladness. At least that’s what Mary Baker, who was now established at St Peter’s parish church as its lady curate, said.