08 March 2007
A Dead End at Buckingham Place
March 9th, 1856
“Well, as much as I wasn’t expecting guests, I certainly wasn’t expecting to receive a fist to the face,” said the old lady, as Botter tended to her broken nose.
The blow to the veteran’s visage had knocked the poor woman out cold for the night, during which time we had searched her dwellings for any signs that she might be a murderous old hag.
Alas, all we found were numerous tins of shortbread, a selection of fine home-baked cakes and a large collection of beautifully-crafted sculptures of hens dressed as policemen.
Thus we concluded that this senior citizen was almost certainly not a potential killer.
Inspector Spunkleford entered the room, carrying a pot of tea.
“Apologies for my acquaintance’s rather brusque greeting, Mrs…”
“Dinklesuck,” the woman answered. “Rosemary Dinklesuck.”
“…Mrs. Dinklesuck. But if you would be so kind as to peruse this letter my esteemed friend took delivery of just the other day, you may see the cause for his sudden, violent outburst.”
Spunkleford handed Mrs. Dinklesuck the letter, which she took in her clawed hand. She read the missive, tutting loudly as she did so.
“That’s terrible, Inspector. And you say it was sent from this very address? What a terrible business!”
“Are you the only inhabitant of this house, Mrs. Dinklesuck?”, the Inspector continued.
“Why, yes. Ever since my husband died in an awful accident last year. He was pecked to death by a big owl, don’t you know?”
“Snowy?,” I ventured.
“No, no. It was quite sunny, as I recall.”
I sighed. Mrs. Dinklesuck, quite unaware of her own stupidity, turned back to the Inspector.
“I do have my fair share of visitors, though, Inspector. But I cannot imagine that any of them would be capable of such an act. Most of them can barely control their bladder, let alone a knife.”
Inspector Spunkleford made a note in his note-pad, then snapped it shut loudly, for dramatic effect.
“Well, Mrs. Dinklesuck, you have been most patient and extremely co-operative. I’m sure we’ve taken up enough of your precious time, so now we must bid you farewell,” he announced.
We took our leave of the old lady, pausing only to accept a tin of shortbread presented to us as we departed.
We bade farewell to Mrs. Rosemary Dinklesuck, then waited for the door to close firmly behind us before beginning our discussions in earnest.
“So, what do you think?” asked the Inspector.
“This shortbread is fucking lovely,” Botter interjected.
“I was referring more to our meeting with Mrs. Dinklesuck, rather than the quality of her shortbread,” Spunkleford patiently explained.
“Well,” I said, “It is certainly safe to conclude that she is not our suspect.”
Inspector Spunkleford nodded in furious agreement, so much so that I feared his head would come loose from his neck and tumble to the floor.
“However,” I continued, raising my voice to add emphasis to my deductions. “Mrs. Dinklesuck is definitely a prostitute.”
I felt shortbread crumbs spray the back of my neck, as Botter spluttered noisily. The Inspector merely eyed me with a quizzical expression.
“How do you come to suppose that, Likely?” he asked.
“I suppose nothing. All the evidence was there, Inspector. Mrs. Dinklesuck told us herself that she entertains many guests. I fear at her advanced years, she has very few living friends or relatives left on this Earth. So who were these guests? Is it too unreasonable to suggest they were her clients?”
I continued. “And how did she come to afford such a large collection of porcelain hens, the likes of which are often seen being sold for fifteen guineas a piece, rather an expensive purchase for a retired lady, wouldn’t you say?”
Inspector Spunkleford nodded. “I think I would say that, using almost all of those words,” he said.
“Good show. Also, she still maintained long, painted nails, unseemly on such geriatric fingers but well-known for heightening sensations during the act of sexual congress. There is also the fact that she is recently widowed, and clearly still yearns to feel a throbbing penis in her crusty, old quim.”
“And finally,” I concluded, “She’s called Mrs. Dinklesuck, for Christ’s sake. In short, Inspector, and please excuse the vulgarity of my language at this juncture, Mrs. Dinklesuck is a filthy fucking whore.”
“By God, Likely!” the Inspector remarked, “That’s incredible!”
“I know it is, Inspector. Trust me, I am well acquainted with my own incredibility. But alas, as incredible as I undoubtedly am, we are no closer to revealing the identity of the mystery letter writer.”
“Ah, yes,” the Inspector replied. “Shit.”