The Body On The Beach: 21

As it appeared likely that the couple’s stay at the hotel was to be an increasingly protracted one, whilst at Police Headquarters Simmonds telephoned Sergeant McPherson back in Welby, asking him to keep a watch on their house while they were away. Crime was not rife in that small seaside town, but the property was detached with no adjoining plots and Piccolo worried about her pieces of fine art (which were mostly Japanese). The Inspector updated the Sergeant on events in Bessingham. The burning cross incident shocked McPherson — it being a grotesque entirely outside of his experience. He would (as Simmonds requested) keep it to himself until instructed otherwise.

‘So how’s all in Welby?’ asked Simmonds wrapping up the call (he was being gestured back into the meeting).

‘Very quiet, sir’ answered McPherson ‘as usual’. (Simmonds doubted anything was ‘usual’ any more, and it probably hadn’t been so since the war). ‘Just one moment of excitement – we had to capture a stray dog. Quite distressed he was’. Even by sleepy Welby standards this was a non story, Simmonds wondered why the Sergeant was even mentioning it. ‘Turned out it belonged to Mr Henry Dalling, there being an address on the collar’ added McPherson ‘but the gentleman seems to have gone missing’.

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