Junk on Sunday exclusive
Interview with Sir Leon Karno, retired Detective Chief Inspector of the Cornishire CID and now a private investigator. The Junk’s veteran crime reporter Aloysius Pickles asks some penetrating questions and receives some eye-opening replies.
Arranging an interview with Sir Leon Karno, known to his former colleagues in the Cornishire CID as Fred, proved to be quite difficult. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, the elusive Sir Leon eschews publicity and does not generally grant interviews. I sought him here and I sought him there and eventually, quite by chance I stumbled across Mr. William ‘Wild Bill’ Hiscock, practice manager of Sir Leon’s ‘Sleuths R Us’ investigative agency. It happened on the evening I visited the Wonderland Off-licence and Oriental food emporium (proprietor Mr. Ah Lees, events catered for and orders over fifty pounds delivered free within range of the emporium’s electric rickshaw). Whilst a staff member bandaged Mr Hiscock’s leg—the one I had carelessly stumbled across whilst he was resting on the pavement outside the esteemed emporium (events catered for, orders over fifty quid delivered free within range of the electric rickshaw and they do a truly legendary madras Cornishire Pastie) — I decided to seize the opportunity and attempt to arrange an interview with Sir Leon.
After some discussion and bribery, Mr. Hiscock agreed to arrange an interview; time and place was agreed. Due to his difficulty with walking and coherent speech—doubtless the result of shock — and the fact that his immediate destination was within range of the Wonderland Off-licence and Oriental food emporium’s electric rickshaw (events catered for, orders over fifty pounds delivered free and the legendary madras Cornishire Pasties available 24/7~mention my name when ordering), Mr. Ah Lees arranged for both Mr. Hiscock and an order of a mixed case of Scrumpilicious cider and King Victoria, genuine North Korean Highland single-malt blended Whisky (lovingly matured in a plastic cask for not less than twenty-four hours) to be delivered to Sir Leon’s abode.
The following morning this reporter attempted to locate ‘Sleuths R Us’. Mr. Hiscock had indicated—in a curious and at times somewhat incoherent mixture of slightly slurred speech and sign language– that the address of the agency was ‘Dun Nickin’, Tintagel Lane, Paignmouth. No such address was found to exist and neither did I see any sign or other advertising material for ‘Sleuths R Us’ however, a small collection of empty Scrumpilicious bottles overflowing from the recycling bin outside number fifteen led me to believe that this might be the location both of Sir Leon’s abode and the investigatory agency. I knocked and waited………
Interview with a detective:
I heard a rattling of a chain, a key was turned in the lock and the door was flung open. A wild-eyed woman, middle-aged and slightly dishevelled stood before me.
“And what would you be wanting at this ungodly hour of the morning?” She enquired in dulcet tones, a quaint mixture of Cornishire and possibly south of Dublin accents.
“Ah, Sir Leon?” I asked.
“Now would I be looking like a Sir Leon to you, moi luvver?” Was the reply.
The door was slammed in my face and I heard the sound of a chain being re-fastened. I knocked again, the chain was unfastened and the door was flung open for the second time.
“It’s still yourself then?”
“Well I’m still not Sir Leon so what would you be wanting?”
At this point in the proceedings Mr. Hiscock appeared.
“I believe the gentleman has come to see Sir Leon, Missus ‘O’.”
“Would that be right now? So why did he ask me if I were Sir Leon?”
“I think perhaps he didn’t make himself clear Missus ‘O’.”
“Sure t’was clear enough to me, so it was. He asked me if I were Sir Leon, so he did. If he’d have said he wanted to see Sir Leon then I would have known it was not him thinking I was Sir Leon, so I would. There would have been no confusion in my mind, I would have realised that he did not think I was Sir Leon.”
“I do apologise for any misunderstanding madam. Entirely my fault, I did indeed mean to enquire if Sir Leon resided at this address and if he did then it was my understanding that he was expecting me. I can quite see how my phraseology could have been misinterpreted, particularly at such an early hour of the morning.” I said.
The woman regarded me balefully.
“Sure and would you be deliberately trying to confuse me now, you with your smooth phraseology? I’m not easy to confuse, so I’m not. Just because I’m a woman I’ll not stand for being regarded as some sort of lame-brained sex-object, so I won’t!”
“Madam I assure you nothing was further from my mind.”
“Don’t you ‘madam’ me. Sure I’ll have you know this is not some sort of knocking shop here. This is a respectable house with mainly respectable people living in it. It happens to be the abode of Sir Karno, so it does…and what would you be meaning by ‘nothing was further from my mind’? Are you saying that you don’t regard me as a sex object? Think I’m passed my best, do you? I’ll have you know that many a tune has been fiddled out of an old boot, so it has.”
I pondered this question momentarily. It seemed to me that domestic violence was in the offing. Fortunately Mr. Hiscock came to my rescue.
“Now now, Missus ‘O’. The gentleman is here to interview Sir Karno. Perhaps if you could put the kettle on whilst I convey him to Sir Kano’s august presence?”
The harridan stood aside. I carefully walked passed her and avoided making eye contact.
“Now Mr. William, the kettle. Put it on, you say?”
“I do Missus ‘O’.”
“Aha. Now would this be for a late-breakfast pot of tea or an Elevenses pot of coffee?”
Mr. Hiscock paused for thought.
“Elevenses coffee?” He asked, somewhat hesitantly.
“Sure now it’s only half-past ten, so it is. If you don’t waste my time by keeping me here standing and gossiping, I could have the coffee to you by ten forty-five, so I could.”
“Well now, that would be before eleven, so it would.”
“True Missus ‘O’, very true—I take your point, concisely made as always. Would this present a problem of some sort?”
“Only in so far as the coffee would not be Elevenses Mr William, because it would be arriving at ten forty-five, so it would.”
“Aren’t we being a trifle pedantic, Missus ‘O’?”
“So it’d be trifle you’d be wanting with the coffee then, not the usual oatie biscuits, Mr. William?”
“Perhaps I haven’t made myself quite clear. Notwithstanding the fact that the Elevenses coffee would be arriving at ten forty-five, clearly some fifteen minutes earlier than usual, would this be an impediment? I am happy, on this occasion, for you to refer to the coffee as Ten forty-fiveses and tomorrow we could revert to the usual arrangements.”
“I see. So you’d be wanting Ten forty-fiveses and not Elevenses, then?”
“And would that be with trifle and not the usual oatie biscuits?”
I weighed up the possibility of my escaping through the still open front door unscathed. As if reading my mind, the obviously barking mad Missus ‘O’ slammed the door closed. I pressed myself against the wall and shut my eyes.
“The usual oatie biscuits, unless of course the trifle has some sherry in it?”
“Sure the trifle is sherry-less Mr. William, so it is.”
“Just the oatie biscuits then Missus ‘O’, if you’d be so kind. Shall we?” He added, obviously speaking to me.
“Sure there’s just one more problem Mr. William, so there is.”
“Well you’ve wasted so much of my time in idle chit-chat that I can’t possibly have the coffee ready before eleven.”
“And the problem is?”
“Well now, would it be late Ten forty-fiveses that you’d be wanting or would it be the usual Elevenses?”
“I’ll leave that in your capable hands, Missus ‘O’. I’m afraid I simply cannot be expected to administrate a busy investigatory practice and deal with domestic minutiae. Please follow me, Mr. Pickles.”
“Please just call me Karno. Every time I hear ‘Sir Leon’ I keep turning round to see who’s being spoken to. Have a seat. I assume coffee is on the way William?”
“I assume so Freddy Boy. I left it in Missus ‘O’s capable hands.”
“Right, right. Well I expect something will turn up at some point then. Hopefully with oatie biscuits. Now then Pickled old boy—we go back a long way you and I– so what can I do for you today? I’m retired now you know. No more juicy titbits about cases to pass on to you, I’m afraid.”
“Quite Sir…er Karno. Tell me, how’s retirement suiting you?”
“Seems to be a bit busier than I imagined it would be, to be honest with you. I don’t know how I ever found the time to work.”
“The investigatory agency is going well, then?”
“It is. In fact, I’m having to turn work away.”
“A far cry from your days with the Cornishire CID—being able to turn work away, I mean.”
“Indeed. I can afford to be choosey these days. I only take on those cases that interest me.”
I took out my trusty notebook.
“Care to tell me about some of the more interesting ones, Karno?”
Sir Leon settled back in his chair.
His reminisces were interrupted by shouting, a curious, reverberating sound vaguely reminiscent of a gong being struck and a cry of pain.
“William, would you?”
“Certainly Sir Karno.”
Mr. Hiscock left the room. Karno smiled at me but remained silent.
“Why ‘Sir Karno’?” I enquired.
“Missus ‘O’, an admirable woman in many respects, has some quaint notions of propriety. You have doubtless noticed that my old friend and now employee Bill Hiscock is referred to as ‘Mr. William’? She feels that the use of a first name is suitably obsequious if the prefix Mr. is used, however, apparently in the case of a knight of the realm the use of the first name is disrespectful, even with the prefix ‘Sir’, so she calls me ‘Sir Karno’.”
“I see. As you say, a rather quaint notion.”
Mr. Hiscock appeared at the door.
“All sorted, whatever it was?” Asked Sir Leon hopefully.
“Possibly.” Was the somewhat enigmatic reply.
Missus ‘O’ appeared at the door.
“I’ll be having my frying pan back now Mr. William, if you please.”
“Only if you promise not to hit him with it again.”
Sir Leon held up his hand.
“Some cove delivering leaflets, Sir Karno.”
“Right, leaflets. Missus ‘O’?”
“Sure I’ve told the fella that we don’t want any more leaflets in this house, so we don’t.”
“And you hit him with a frying pan, to emphasise your point?”
“Ah, now isn’t he just the fantastic detective.” Missus ‘O’ addressed the remark to me. “Sure and he’ll be able to tell you what I was wearing when I hit the fella with the pan, so he will. I tell you, I don’t know how he does it, I really don’t!”
“You have the leaflet he was delivering William?”
The offending sheet of paper was handed over.
“Right. Well this would appear to be a leaflet explaining that following repeated complaints, no further leaflets will be delivered to the house.”
“Sure now it’s still a leaflet is it not, Sir Karno? I plainly told the fella that I’d wallop him if he turned up again, delivering any more of the things. He did and I have.” She folded her arms and nodded.
“Is he…damaged, William?”
“I believe he’s currently able to stand virtually unaided and is enjoying a tour of the galaxy that would rival anything the London Planetarium would be able to put on.”
“He’s slumped against the front door and seeing stars, Freddy Boy.”
“Right, right. Perhaps you’d better take him into the kitchen Missus ‘O’ and give him a cup of coffee or something. Caffeine soothes the walloped head, or so they say.” He chuckled.
“Well now I could do that, so I could but then the early Elevenses, which were going to be the Ten forty-fiveses until I was delayed by idle chit-chat and they became the late Ten forty-fiveses because they were going to be served at the time as I would normally serve Elevenses, are going to be further delayed, so they are. So, would you be wanting very late Ten forty-fiveses, late Elevenses or something else?”
“Right. Er William, deal with this would you?”
“I’m not sure that I can.”
“Try, William. Try.”
“Could we not just have unnamed coffee and oatie biscuits at a time convenient to yourself, Missus ‘O’?”
“Unnamed, Mr. William? Unnamed? Sure I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I haven’t! I don’t think we want that sort of thing in this house, Mr. William.”
“What sort of thing, Missus ‘O’?”
“This radical ignoring of social conventions thing. I won’t be taking part in any sort of Scandawegian free-coffee social experimentation, so I won’t—I’m not that sort of woman, so I’m not. Why you’ll be wanting coffee on demand next, so you will and then where will we be? Anarchy, Mr. William, anarchy. It’s radical and I won’t be having any radicalised coffee in this house, so I won’t. Why, the very idea of it threatens our entire way of life, so it does.”
“Ah yes, I see the problem. Tricky.”
“So will you be wanting very late Ten forty-fiveses or just moderately late Elevenses?”
“Now that puts the whole thing into perspective, Missus ‘O’. I think we all agree that we’re all for moderation and very late Ten forty-fiveses would be far too radicalised. Let’s have late Elevenses.”
Missus ‘O’ looked at her watch.
“Sure now, it’ll be getting perilously close to lunchtime by the time I’ve given coffee to the fella what delivered the leaflets, so would you rather be having an early lunch?”
“I think we could go for an early lunch Missus ‘O’, particularly because if we discuss the matter much longer it won’t in fact be an early lunch.”
“So you won’t be wanting coffee then, Mr. William?”
“You don’t have coffee with your lunch. You normally have pasties and a glass of Scrumpilicious cider.”
“Fine. I tell you what Missus ‘O’, why don’t you give the fella what was delivering the leaflets a cup of tea and then Sir Karno and I will have an early lunch?”
“It’s a little early in the day for that sort of thing isn’t it Mr. William?”
“What sort of thing, Missus ‘O’?”
“Scrumpilicious.” With a censorious sniff she turned on her heel and stalked off. A faint ‘I’ll not be a party to any radicalisation in this house’ was heard and then a door, presumably the kitchen door, was slammed.
There were a few moments silence, then Sir Leon spoke.
“Well done Bill. Now leaflets… that reminds me of a recent case. Hand me the file would you, the one about….”
A Limping Leafleter Lurks in Launceston Lane:
“This might interest you Freddy Boy.”
“What’s that Bill?”
“A spate of burglaries on the outskirts of town.”
“I hardly think so.”
“No, no read the article.”
Bill passed the ‘Cornishire Clarion’ over to Karno, who was seated in his favourite armchair with Schrödinger the cat purring contentedly on his lap. He, Karno not Schrödinger, perused the article for some minutes before murmuring…
“I thought you’d think so.”
“Houses cleared in broad daylight, owners present and they didn’t see a thing. How strange.”
“It says in the article that the police are stumped.”
“Really? I didn’t see…ah, your eye strayed across to the next column Bill.”
“Yes. There’s a report of the cricket match between the police canteen second eleven and the Dam Busters.”
“The Cornishire Dam Repairers guild.”
“More descriptive than evocative. When business is slow it’s alleged that they aren’t above damaging the odd dam. I see the police were run out for ninety three.”
“Aha. Hence the phrase ‘the police are stumped’.”
“It actually says ‘were stumped’. That wouldn’t be grammatically correct if the words referred to the police investigating the burglaries—it should be ‘are ‘not ‘were’-and as you mistakenly thought that it was referring to the burglaries you actually saw the ‘were’ as ‘are’.”
“That’s very perspective of you Holmes.”
“I think you meant perceptive, Watson.”
“No, I meant you put the matter into perspective.”
“Right. Moving swiftly on but still speaking of perspective, dig out a town map, would you.”
“Going to take the cat for a walk?”
“Not at the moment but I should do. The poor little beggar is still traumatised. If he goes out at night, he can’t catch anything and people run away from the ghostly, glowing apparition. If he goes out in the day and anything startles him he gets hiccups and sparks fly all over the place [for the explanation as to why Schrödinger glows in the dark see ‘Kittie Cracks Case]. No I want to see if there’s any pattern to these burglaries.”
With the map spread out on the floor, Karno carefully marked the streets where the houses had been burgled. There was no immediately discernable pattern and he was on the point of giving up and taking Schrödinger for a walk when the phone rang. Bill answered it.
“Sleuths R Us, Sir Leon Karno’s investigatory agency. William Hiscock, practice manager speaking. How may we be of assistance?”
“Morning Bill, Gundry here [detective chief inspector Colin Gundry of the Cornishire CID]. ‘Sir Karno’ around is he?”
“Wotcha me ole, I’ll put him on.”
Bill proffered the phone to a frowning Karno.
“I’ve told you not to answer the phone like that William. I’ll let you get away with styling yourself as practice manager but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to be involved in anything known as Sleuths R Us.”
“Hang on a mo Gundry, Sir Karno is being buggered at the moment.”
Karno snatched the phone off him.
“Morning Colin. Sorry about Bill, too much Caribbean porridge for breakfast, I’m afraid. What can I do for you?”
“Morning, ex-Guv of mine. I don’t know if you’ve read about the recent spate of mysterious burglaries?”
“Bill- the now probationary practice manager- has just pointed out a report in the Clarion to me. What can you tell me about them?”
“Not much more than is in the paper, I’m afraid. For once the reporting is quite accurate. The only thing is the robberies weren’t in order—which the report seems to suggest—but occurred randomly.”
“You mean dotted around a bit? The report reads like each of the streets was done in turn.”
“Didn’t happen like that. Although some sort of pattern emerged we just didn’t have the manpower to stakeout each street.”
“Right, right. So how can I help?”
“As I said, we’re short of manpower and the Chief Constable was rather hoping that you could see your way clear to lending a helping hand.”
“Not sure about ‘lending’ a hand, Young Gundry. I could certainly rent you a hand.”
There was a sigh.
“The usual fee and expenses?”
“I’ll let you discuss that with the probationary practice manager. In the meantime, if you could send round what reports you do have it might speed things up a bit.”
The town map was spread out on the floor. A red, zig-zag line connected the burglaries in order of them being committed and the roads in which the crime scenes were situated were highlighted in yellow.
“Colourful.” Commented Bill.
“Bloody cat’s cradle.” Replied Karno.
As if on cue, Schrödinger leapt onto the map, upsetting Bill’s Elevenses coffee all over it.
“Bloody cat! Gitorfofit!” Karno shooed the crestfallen cat away. In his haste to ‘gitorfofit’, Schrödinger scrabbled across the map, spreading more coffee as he went. Karno stood up and regarded the map, eyes narrowed.
“You know, I can see a pattern in this.”
“Really? I’m glad to say I can’t!” Replied Bill.
“The last time I saw a pattern splattered on a bit of paper they told me I was crazy and booted me out of the Regiment. I felt very hurt. I couldn’t bring myself to eat Swiss cheese for years afterwards.”
“You eat it now though.”
“Only the holes.”
“Right. Right, well moving swiftly on, as indeed you should have done, it does look as though our wayward puss might have given this investigation a bit of traction.”
“I thought he was more traction-less. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a four-paw skid before.”
“Be that as it may…look, if we smear the coffee along that road…” Karno leant closer to peer at the map. “Yes, if we smear the coffee stain along Launceston Lane then it forms a definite pattern.”
“I can’t see it.”
“Yes you can.”
“What if I promised to not say you were crazy if you said you could see the pattern?”
“Are you saying that?”
“Saying that I’m not crazy just because I can see a pattern?”
“So you can see it after all, can you?”
“Time for a glass of good old King Victoria?”
“I don’t see why not. Anyway, this could well be a two-glass problem”
~A little later~
“The dates of the robberies seem to be linked, somehow.”
“How do you mean?”
“I’m not sure but there’s something I can’t put my finger on.”
“Missus ‘O’ is good at Sudoku.”
“Is she? Pity she’s not good at cooking Tinto.”
Missus ‘O’ was summoned from the kitchen and the problem explained to her.
“Sure but it’s simple, so it is.”
“It is, Sir Karno. Look, the first robbery was committed on the third of the month. The next one was committed on the sixth or the month and then again one happened on the ninth.”
“Well now, look at the next month. A robbery occurred on the twenty-third. The next happened five days later, on the twenty-eighth. Two plus three is five and twenty- three plus five is the twenty-eighth. If I’m right then the next robbery should have happened ten days after that, on the seventh of the next month. And it did, see?”
“No. Well, yes I can see in that month but the pattern breaks down when you get to the next month.”
“Ah sure it does not, Sir Karno. There’s an arbitrary date for the second robbery in each month, but for that month and the first robbery of the next it follows that pattern.”
“Dammit she’s right Freddy Boy! We’ll have to start calling you Vorderman, Missus ‘O’.”
“You’ll do no such thing Mr. William.”
“Using your system Missus ‘O’, the next robbery should take place…”
“Today, Sir Karno.”
“Today. Yes well thank you Missus ‘O’.”
“Well now, if there’s nothing else I’ll get back to the kitchen, so I will. I’m making Hungarian Surprise for supper tonight and it’s quite a complicated recipe.”
“Er, shouldn’t that be Goulash Missus ‘O’? I thought it was quite a simple dish?”
“Sure it was supposed to be Goulash but I didn’t have all the right ingredients, so I didn’t.”
“And that’s the surprise—it’s a modified Goulash.”
“Correct, Sir Karno.”
“Right, right. Well I’m sure it’ll be…”
“Delicious, Sir Karno?”
“A rare culinary experience, Missus ‘O’.”
“Look at this, Chemical Sabey. I’ve just spotted something else.” Bill exclaimed.
“Yes, watch this. If I measure the angles that the scene of crime lines make I should be able to extrapolate where the next robberies will take place.”
“Sounds good Bill but just clear up a couple of things for me would you?”
“Certainly Chemical Sabey.”
“What exactly are the scene of crime lines Tinto?”
“You called me Tinto.”
“I didn’t, I called you Tonto.”
“No no, you definitely said Tinto.”
“Tonto. Look, let’s call this whole argument off for the moment. What are scene of crime lines?”
“Ah—now they are the lines that connect each robbery site to the last.”
“Riiight. And precisely which angles are you going to measure?”
“Alimentary Chef. The angle that the scene of crime line makes where it intersects the mean line of the road on which the last crime occurred. I’m going to call that the street line.”
“None of the roads are straight you idiot. How are you going to decide the direction of the street lines?”
“No I’m not going to answer that. You said a couple of questions and you’ve had a couple.”
“You’re only saying that because you’ve come up with some half-arsed idea that you can’t defend.”
“Like Scottish independence?”
“Don’t change the subject. The base lines?”
“Simples Sergei. You sort of do this…take a mean of the angle of dangle…et voilà.”
“You’ve drawn the line at right angles to the scene of crime line.”
“Now watch while I measure the angle between the scene of crime line and the road base line and…”
“It turns out to be ninety degrees.”
“Well stap me vitals, so it does. You’ve got a good eye for angles!”
“And you’re totally tonto, Tinto. All the bloody angles will be ninety degrees.”
“Ah. No no, I made a basic mistake.”
“Too much rum in the Caribbean porridge this morning?”
“No look—what I meant to do was draw the base line as parallel to the road as I could. That will give me a set of angles and I can ex…”
“Trapolate those angles to give you a crime-scene matrix which would indicate where the next possible scene of crime or crimes was likely to be.”
“Um, I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”
“I’ve done it for you. Construct the matrix Pythagoras whilst I take the cat for a walk.”
“You’d better take a torch with you, it’s getting dark.”
“No need. All you have to do is tickle his ears and he purrs. When he purrs he glows. See you a little later.”
Certain that whoever had committed the series of burglaries was working to both a rigid plan and a rigid timetable, Karno decided that he’d best have a decent reason to be strolling up and down Launceston lane because that was exactly what he intended to do. Driving through town, he passed the Crooked Kukri public house and remembered that the last time he was in Everest, the landlord, had been talking about a publicity campaign to make people aware of his Friday night Nepalese buffet. Karno swung into the car park and went in. Twenty minutes later, after extracting the promise of a free buffet for himself and Bill, he drove off with a shoulder bag containing publicity leaflets—the perfect cover. He and Schrödinger arrived at Launceston Lane just as it started to drizzle. He put on his wide-brimmed bush hat and finally managing to grab the reluctant cat, got out of the car. As he swung the bag over his shoulder, a disgusted Schrödinger leapt onto his other shoulder and huddled close to Karno’s head, seeking shelter under the hat. Muttering about life in general Karno set off down the lane, thinking it was lucky he’d put on his new shoes as Schrödinger had chewed a hole in the old ones.
“We’re looking for houses which might contain valuable furniture or paintings, so keep your eyes peeled.” He told an indifferent cat.
A little way along the lane he met a young person delivering the evening papers.
“’Ere mister, you’ve got a cat on your shoulder.” The young person said.
“It’s alright lad, he’s not afraid of heights.” Karno told the puzzled delivery boy.
As he limped down the lane, the new shoes ruthlessly breaking-in his old feet, he saw a furniture removal van parked in the driveway of a mock neo-Georgian house. The front door was wide-open and a figure was standing stock-still in the rain. Karno approached the figure. It was a woman and she stood glassy-eyed, gazing vacantly into space.
“Good afternoon.” Karno said.
The woman said nothing.
“Bit wet to be standing around.” Karno said.
Karno waved his hands in front of the woman’s face.
Just then two men came out of the house, carrying a large, ornate settee.
“Looks like there’s not much point in me dropping off a leaflet if the family are moving out.” He commented.
“None at all squire.” Replied the larger of the two men.
They grunted with effort as they put the settee in the back of the van, then went back inside.
Karno walked around the motionless woman. Then he remembered where he’d seen the second man.
The two men re-appeared, carrying what were obviously paintings wrapped up in old sheets.
“Could I interest either of you two in a Nepalese buffet on Friday night?” Karno asked, holding out two leaflets.
“Sorry squire, we’re not local.” Said the larger man whilst the other was trying hard to turn his face away from Karno.
“Oh well. Rather you than me working in the rain. I think I’ll knock it on the head and go to the pub. Mug’s game leafleting in this weather.”
With that, he turned and started to walk away. The two went back into the house. The rain fell, the woman stood drippingly still and darkness, in a show of solidarity with the rain, also fell. In the rapidly lowering gloom, Karno crept back to the furniture van, tickled Schrödinger’s ear and by the gentle glow of a now contented cat read the registration number of the van.
Back in the car, he called DCI Gundry on his mobile phone.
“Yes young Colin. The number of the van is HJD 62 NXC. I think you’ll find that one of the blokes in it goes by the stage name of Mystic Mike. He puts on hypnotism shows. I’ll leave you to work out how they carried out the robberies.”
I hope you enjoyed the story, I certainly had fun writing it. If you want to find out more about hypnotism, past lives and reincarnation, might I suggest you have a read of
UK Amazon link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ICYRQ5I
US Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B00ICYRQ5I
If you’d like to read more of the adventures of ‘Fred’ Karno, Wild Bill and Missus ‘O’ there are five books in the series, all available from your Amazon sites. They are in paperback and eBook format, look for them by searching under ‘Peter N Bernfeld’ or visit my author page at http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B008O89WFO