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Monday, March 31, 2014

Excerpt - The Poison Pen

Geoffrey Breed had commented that wherever
Richard was trouble followed. It looked as if the chap was
right. Richard himself was a comparative newcomer to the
town which was expanding at an incredible rate, but apart
from the one murder, the crime rate wasn’t too alarmingly
high. It seemed that was changing.
“All right,” he said. “Who and where?”
“Mr. John Berwick, sir. He’s the manager of Wall’s
Department Store.”
“Crikey! What’s he been doing? Short-changing the
customers? Where did it happen? Is the cause of death
“In his own office in the store, and it looks like
poison. Happened around lunchtime.”
Richard frowned. “Well, if you had to bother me, why
didn’t you do it earlier? It’s just gone five-thirty.”
“Yes, sir, but I didn’t know you were back until a
constable said he’d seen you. I thought you were returning
this evening. We’ve got everything under control, of
course, but," he lowered his voice, “Inspector Coleman
took charge, and I’m afraid he’s getting up the noses of
the people here. I’m phoning from the store, by the way.
Inspector Coleman told the staff none of them could leave,
and they—well, I’m afraid, sir, they’re just ignoring him.
Putting on their things and walking out.”
Richard sighed but recognized the unconscious appeal
in Jim’s voice. “Let them go,” he instructed. “We don’t
want any undignified tussles between irate shop assistants
and the police. I’ll be there in about half an hour.” He
turned and met the accusing gaze of his wife. “Sorry,

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