19 Mar 2017

25 - Final curtain

Saturday April 5

A week before the first performance, tickets for the Spiritual Revue were selling well and there was a promise of a full house and an invitation to take the show to a big Middlethumpton venue that did not belong to Mr Cobblethwaite and the town hall.

26 Nov 2016

24 - The conquering cop returns

Friday April 4

Thursday was spent enjoyably touring Dijon with Pierre after Gary had left his colleagues at the Gendarmerie with a good feeling of them all having found Mortimer’s corpse together.

23 - France

Wednesday April 2

It took Gary most of Tuesday to get to his hotel in Dijon. He phoned home, ate something at a nearby brasserie and went to bed early to think about strategies, but fell into a deep sleep that lasted until he heard tradesmen banging around at 7 a.m.

22 - Gary tackles Monday

Monday March 31

After phoning Cleo very early on Monday morning, Gary forced himself to go to HQ and concentrate on his job. It would include interviewing a Mr Mortimer, though it was not quite clear which brother the French police had sent while he was becoming the father of four.

21 - A weekend to remember

Weekend March 29/30

Cleo and Gary were admittedly squeezing their nuptials in between solving crimes, but there was a good reason for hurrying things along, of course, and that was the impending birth of Cleo’s twins. Gary wanted them to be what was legally termed ‘born in wedlock’, and Cleo, who hoped that this time her marriage would not be wed-locked, was no longer sure that the delivery date was reliable.

20 - Take your pick

Friday March 28

Cleo and Gary would be getting married on Saturday, but that did not prevent Friday from getting off to an aggravating start. There was no time to think about the wedding when they had to get through an interview with Mrs Spencer first, hoping she would admit to stabbing Ali Lewis, thus sparing them any further speculation.

19 - Chewing it over

Thursday cont.

By four fifteen Cleo and Gary were on their way to see Mrs Colby. Cleo wondered if Mrs Colby would also want to consult her on some private issue or other and hoped Mrs Colby kept private and business separate. She did not want her weekend to be thwarted by a morose registrar and a promise of worse to come.

18 - Victims can be suspects

Thursday March 27

To add to the Polly’s desperate visit during the night, Cleo and Gary had no idea why she had absconded from what she said was safer than home. Was she now in acute danger? She had delivered what Cleo and Gary thought would prove to be the knife that killed Ali, having found it shortly before, according to her story. Running away made her suspicious. Was she afraid of being asked even more searching questions? Did she have anything to do with Ali’s murder?

17 - Finding is not keeping

Wednesday cont.

With only weeks to go before the Spiritual Revue was performed publicly, Dorothy could not skip a rehearsal even for dinner with Roger. She had to keep the peace between the cast and the ambitious and widely disliked stage director and generally supervise the evening. Mr Defoe was not for the first time to be prevented from causing half his cast to walk out.

16 - The investigative cloche

Wednesday March 28

Cleo and Dorothy finally met for their weekly breakfast consultation. Frank was busy, so he could not attend. In a week or two he would be taking over office duties while Cleo concentrated on her expanding family. Dorothy was glad she was not expected to hold the fort by herself, although she thought that even if Frank was a dedicated sleuth, he would not have Cleo’s organizational talents. She, Dorothy, would rather not even try to run an office, so Frank was a godsend and would of course receive all her support.

15 - The Spencers

Tuesday cont.

Gary’s first mission at HQ on Tuesday should have been to question Polly’s father, but a series of incidents at HQ kept him busy until lunchtime. He phoned Cleo to tell her that his morning had gone awry mainly due to technical hitches and he could not get home for lunch after all. At Midday he ordered pizzas for himself and Nigel from Romano and read Chris’s latest forensic reports.

14 - Harry Palmer

Tuesday March 25

Frank phoned Chris Marlow as early as politeness allowed. Chris was an early riser who often started work before seven in the morning and often carried on till the very late, so Frank encountered a cheerful forensic expert who was happy to send him the current report on Harry Palmer.
“Someone stuffed doses of arsenic into him over a longer period,” Chris told Frank.
“How can I get to see old case files?” Frank wanted to know. “Harry Palmer is sure to have had an impressive past if someone wanted him dead.”

13 - Lost and Found

Tuesday March 25

coming soon

12 - Molly Moss

Monday cont.

The workmen at Cleo’s cottage were taking their lunch break. Their radio had blared away all morning and did not stop blaring when the hammering took a break.
“Funny guys, those builders,” said Gloria.
“If they are doing the work, I don’t mind how funny they are,” said Cleo.

11 - Frank

Monday March 24

Cleo took PeggySue to nursery early before going to the office. Gloria had begged the morning off everything after an exhausting weekend (she said), but she would collect the little girl and take her home at midday. Gary was driving his other daughter to school in Middlethumpton. He wanted to do that every morning, but Charlie would not hear of it. She liked driving on the bus and anyway, Helen and Cecilia needed her.

10 - 27 Lilac Way

Sunday March 23

Gary did not want the night to end, but eventually he forced himself to get up. He showered to the sound of his own unmelodic caterwauling accompanying the hymn-singing on the radio, swathed himself in his bath-towel and attended to PeggySue. Then he made coffee for himself and cereal with banana for his daughter and they sat down together to enjoy their breakfast.

9 - Summer Silk

Saturday March 22

It was a Saturday morning scramble at the Hurley household, with Gary serving breakfast while Cleo phoned Dorothy to bring her up to date with the previous night’s events.

8 - Strangers in the night

Friday cont.

Gary was strolling home from escorting Dorothy home when he got a call on his mobile.
“Hurley speaking. Can I help you?”

7 - Naming the day

Friday cont.

It was a pleasant walk to Middlethumpton Registry Office. Cleo and Gary were both thinking about the gruesome scenario at the vicarage. Cleo knew that Gary had problems witnessing violence, but at least he had not fainted, she mused. How could such a sensitive guy become a cop?  

6- The end of an era

Friday cont.

The patrol car arrived at the vicarage before Gary and Cleo, but the patrol officers were loath to go upstairs to Edith’s utility room without Gary’s authority.

5 - The Daniels case

Friday March 21

Startled that he had slept round the clock, Robert phoned Gary immediately. Gary knew the predicament in which Robert had been since he became an intimate of Edith’s, but the extent of Edith’s depravity would be a shock, Robert was sure.

4 - Over the top

Thursday cont.

Robert was torn between facing the music and running away. He wanted to stay in the refuge of his little flat, but with Gary’s advice ringing in his ears he pulled himself together and knocked on the front door of the vicarage.
Beatrice, the late vicar’s sister, invited him in.

3 - Robert seeks advice

Thursday cont.
Brass was overwhelmed. All through lunch he repeated how grateful he was for the kind reception and said how nervous he was about his appointment with Roger. Finally he said he would push off to his lodgings, take a quick shower and change. His meeting with Roger Stone was at three-thirty. Gary promised to be in his office at HQ by the time Brass and Roger had finished their discussion. They could then meet in Gary’s office to discuss anything he needed to know more about, or they could relax and drink coffee together.

2 - Brass

Thursday March 20

Cleo was curious.
“Doesn’t Brass know about the sub police station?” she asked Gary.
“No. I’m glad Roger helped to get the idea off the ground.”
“I offered you the office a while back, remember?”
“But that was when I was going to quit being a policeman.”

1 - Preamble (How not to write a book)

Wednesday March 19

“If I were going to write a book, it would not be about this village. I would not know where to start.”
“I did not know you were even planning a book, Dorothy,” said Cleo. “Have some more coffee.”
This was supposed to be a second-breakfast meeting of the Hartley Investigation Agency, but since there was little to discuss and Dorothy seemed anxious to proceed with her newest enterprise, Cleo was genuinely curious.