Sunday, 19 March 2017

26 - In which the final conundrum is solved

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 venue in Middlethumpton that did not belong to Mr Cobblethwaite and the town hall.
But when everything is really going well, something untoward usually happens, at least, that’s what Dorothy maintains and that would include the Revue, starting with the cast throwing out the stage director. That had been an omen, Dorothy had said. Cleo told her she was calling up devils with that sort of talk, but Dorothy was sure something was going to happen. 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

25 - In which 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. 
Mme Rocher would identify the corpse since no relatives seemed to exist. She was shocked, but the body had been buried under those cardboard boxes for over a week, so it could not be John, could it, unless ...?

24 - In which Gary flies to France

Tuesday April 1

It took Gary most of Tuesday to get to his hotel in Dijon. He phoned home, then 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.

23 - In which Gary tackles Monday

Monday March 31

After phoning Cleo very early, 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.

22 - A weekend to end all weekends

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.

21 - In which who may not be who

Friday March 28

Cleo and Gary would be getting married on Saturday, but that did not stop Friday 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 that she had stabbed Ali Lewis and save them any further speculation.

20 - In which there is a brain-storming

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.

19 - In which 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, or why. 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?

18 - In which 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.

17 - In which Dorothy dons her cloche

Wednesday March 28

Cleo and Dorothy met for a breakfast consultation that should have taken place to start the week had there been time. Frank was busy, so he could not attend. In a week or two he would be taking over office duties and Cleo would concentrate on her expanding family for a few weeks. Dorothy was sure that the arrangement would not work out. She decided 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.

16 - In which Spencer takes umbrage

Tuesday cont.


Gary’s first mission at HQ on Tuesday should have been to question Spencer, but a series of incidents at HQ kept him busy until lunchtime. He phoned Cleo to tell her that his morning had gone awry not least 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.

15 - In which Frank makes progress

Continuing Tuesday

Frank phoned Chris Marlow as early as politeness allowed, but since Chris was an early riser who often started work before seven in the morning and often carried on till the very late, Frank encountered a cheerful forensic expert who was only too willing to send him the current report on Harry Palmer.

14 - In which Polly was lost and is found

Tuesday March 25

Cleo knew they would have to find Polly and question her as soon as possible. It only took a few minutes to find the address of the Spencer abode on the edge of Huddlecourt Minor village.

13 - In which Molly answers some questions

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.

12 - In which Frank gets to work

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.

11 - In which Lilac Way disrupts Sunday

Sunday March 23

Gary did not want Saturday 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.

10 - In which Summer Silk shocks Gloria

Saturday March 22

After the usual Saturday morning scramble while Gary took care of the household while Cleo phoned Dorothy to bring her up to date with the previous night’s events, it was high time to leave for the school sports ground in

9 - In which Friday night takes some beating

Continuing Friday

Gary was strolling home when he got a call on his mobile.
“Hurley speaking. Can I help you?”
“It’s Molly Moss from the pub.”
“Hi ,Molly. I thought you were line-dancing with Gloria.”

8 - In which the day is named

Continuing Friday

It was a pleasant walk to Middlethumpton Registry Office. Cleo and Gary did not speak, but held hands tightly. They 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?  

7 - In which the end of an era is proclaimed

Continuing Friday morning

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.
“It’s been quiet all night,” Beatrice told them. “I expect Mrs Parsnip was exhausted after her awful antics. She’s upstairs in her room and I locked her in.”

6 - In which Daniels takes centre-stage

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 in intimate of Edith’s, but the extent of Edith’s depravity would be a shock, Robert was sure.
Gary would have preferred to go on sleeping, but took the call at that uncivilised hour because he knew Robert was desperate.

5 - In which Edith loses control

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.

4 - In which 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. Brass could then meet Gary in his office to discuss anything he needed to know more about, or they could relax and drink coffee together.

3 - In which a deal is struck

Still Wednesday, then Thursday March 20

The Crightons were packing when Cleo phoned.
“Yes?” snapped Mrs Crighton down the line.
“Cleo Hartley here,” said Cleo, holding the handset away from her ear.

2 - In which a Revue Rehearsal takes place

Wednesday March 19

Wednesdays were rehearsal days for the Revue. Rehearsals were held in the church hall. By arrangement, Muslim prayers did not take place during rehearsals. The church hall backed onto the church, so the rehearsal noise would have been disturbing. The Mullah of the Muslim group, a Mr Jericho Williams, was happy to cooperate and would have liked to take part, since his larynx was well-oiled from singing the Koran. He appreciated the work being done by Dorothy, though in return Gareth Morgan,  who played lustily at every church event and in between, distrusted any religion that did not rely on his organ for auditory support. Dorothy was thinking of asking Mr Williams (please don’t call me Jerry) to sing in the revue, though Jericho insisted that he only sang during religious services. He would think about the kind offer, he assured her.

1 - In which Upper Grumpsfield gets an airing

Tuesday March 18

“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.