…for a moment the silence was blissful. Then the screaming started…
Writing team Leo and Mike Johnson have their day disturbed when a body turns up near their house.
What with deadlines and proofs and all the other minutiae of life, nobody in the house had much time to consider American ‘evangelists’ and Mike had managed to push the whole thing to the back of her mind when two policemen and a WPC arrived. Ro showed them into the conservatory, where two extraordinarily ugly terriers of unspecified breed greeted them enthusiastically, leaving white hairs all over their dark uniform trousers. Mike came in from the garden and banished the two terrors to their basket.
‘Sorry about them two. I’ve got a special brush that’ll get the hair off. I’m Mike Johnson. My husband will be with us in a minute. He’s on the phone.’
One of the policemen smiled. ‘No problem. I always wanted to meet Bogg and Scrat. Thought they might be worse.’
‘They was when they was younger’ Ro spoke from the doorway where she stood with a tray of cups and plates in her hands. She dumped them on the big side table and retreated.
‘I expect she’s gone for coffee and cake. Do please have a seat.’
Mike sat in her big cane chair and Leo’s German Shepherd, Ike, came and put his big blonde head on her lap. The police contingent sat down a bit awkwardly and nobody said anything until Leo came out of the kitchen with a plate of fancy cakes in one hand and a coffee pot in the other. Ro followed him with sugar and a jug of hot milk. She grinned at Mike before effacing herself. Leo poured coffee and handed out cakes.
‘Okay’ he said genially ‘I’m assuming this isn’t a social visit, and as I don’t recall breaking any laws lately it must be about the incident at the bathing pool.’
The coppers looked relieved.
‘It is. And it’s nice not to have to build up to it gently. Most of your neighbours have chosen to pretend ignorance.’
‘Pillocks’ Mike said without heat. ‘They’ll have been talking about little else. Although it’s probably true that most of them weren’t around when it happened. On a Monday morning at that time most of the men will have buggered off, either to work or the golf club, and the women will have dropped their unfortunate offspring at whichever overpriced educational establishment they favour and gone to the hairdresser or the manicurist, or the gym, or whatever else they waste their lives doing.’
The younger policeman tried unsuccessfully to smother a laugh, and his male companion’s lips twitched under a carefully groomed moustache.
‘That’s about the size of it. Two houses reckon to have been empty. Two with only Filipino housekeepers home. Two only Polish cleaners. And one with a live-in nurse for an elderly dementia patient. In the end, they all cooperated. Stiffly. For some reason we sensed a certain amount of hostility towards the occupants of this house – especially among the women. Got any ideas about that?’