The plot so far: In the otherwise peaceful village of Clinton Eastwood, near Bath, George the pig has been killed and his carcass stolen from the graveyard. Suspects include Colin Swillsby, who collects dandruff; Vlad, the work-experience boy who is having an affair with Colin's wife, Petronella; Kevin, who has fallen in love over the Internet while trying to contact aliens; and Lucretia, the most beautiful barmaid in the world. Now read on:
"It's not very well known," said Colin Swillsby, "but pigs can feign death very convincingly for hours, even days at a time. The long white can even simulate severe bleeding. Must be going now, I'm expecting a visitor." As Colin left the bar at the Soon to be Fallen Virgin, Inspector Drane tapped irritably on the table with Exhibit A, a Byzantine ceremonial goat-sacrificing dagger. This pig-slaughtering had come at a bad moment. Just as he had been close to nailing Swillsby on a charge of running an illicit fish-farm at Dunwutherin. The inspector's theory was that he'd been feeding dandruff to the fish in order to develop tougher scales for an unspecified use in the electronics industry.
He suddenly rose and stabbed the dagger into the table. "Good grief!" he shouted. "It's been under my eyes all the time." As he rushed from the pub, Lucretia darted into the back room and typed urgently on her computer terminal.
Back at the farm, SD Case, the man with no name, was talking in a harsh whisper to Colin: "We need a whiter kind of dandruff. The shampoo company is targeting its next commercial at the farming industry and the usual stuff doesn't show up well against the pale pink of pigs."
In the adjoining room, Kevin read his unexpected e-mail message: "Avast, earth-lubbers. The high pontiff, in musical wig, commands, nay requests, a 40-metre omelette. God save the steeple!" He rushed to the kitchen for some eggs.
What has the inspector discovered? What have Petronella and Vlad been up to while all this was going on? Where did Lucretia get the bacon for her splendid sandwiches? Where did the aliens learn their English? How are we going to resolve all the loose ends of this tale?
All suggestions and plot contributions will be gratefully received at: Soapy Pastimes, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. This week's main contributors were Martin Brown (who wins a Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore), Caroline Evans, Tim Norrington Evans and Terence Sarluis.