A lead in a case of murder

Share
Related Topics

Time for another complete crime thriller today, featuring Inspector Keith Braid, the Sixty Second Sleuth. Why the Sixty Second Sleuth? Because that's how long it takes him to crack a crime. Don't believe it? Then read...

Time for another complete crime thriller today, featuring Inspector Keith Braid, the Sixty Second Sleuth. Why the Sixty Second Sleuth? Because that's how long it takes him to crack a crime. Don't believe it? Then read...

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Daytime

"It's an absolutely brutal murder, sir," said Sergeant Comfort. "Man was hit over the head with a blunt weapon and then, as if to make sure, he was strangled to death with his dog lead. What makes it even more tragic is that the dog, called Heseltine, must have witnessed the assault, because the vicar was taking him for a walk at the time. It was the fact that Heseltine returned by himself that alerted the house to the fact his master was missing."

"You haven't actually told me who is dead yet, Comfort," said Braid.

"Sorry, sir," said Comfort, abashed. "It seems that ..."

It seemed that the Rev Hubert Lancaster had gone for a walk along the river's edge, as he did every morning, with Heseltine the dog. It was a secluded walk, and nobody had seen him go out. Nobody saw him come back either, for the simple reason that he never came back. He was found, under a tree, with big lump on the back of his head and the dog lead twisted round his neck, pulled viciously tight till he had been asphyxiated.

Braid and Comfort looked at the scene of the crime, wiped the cow pats off their shoes and went to the house.

"Did he have any enemies?" Braid asked his housekeeper, Mrs Malcolm.

"Not that I knew of," she said. "He was a lovely man. Shy, mark you. Never got married. Never interested in women, really."

"Oh?" said Comfort. "Was he one of ... those?"

"Those?" said Mrs Malcolm, puzzled.

"Freemasons, do you mean?"

"If he had no enemies," said Braid, covering up for Comfort, "did he have any friends? Was he sociable?"

"Not really," she said. "He loved his own company. He watched TV a lot. He used to watch The Vicar of Dibley very closely and write to the letters editor of the Radio Times pointing out little mistakes in the programme. Like letting women into the church in the first place."

"So you can think of no one who might have wanted him out of the way?"

Mrs Malcolm paused for a moment. This was a heaven-sent opportunity to dish the dirt on several members of the village she didn't like. Lady Antler, for instance, who was a terrible snob and had never even said hello to her. Bill Bayliss the butcher, who had said hello to her far too often. Dr Wintle, who had said other things to her which she could never forgive. Such as that she should lose weight immediately ...

But no. Revenge was not a proper Christian motive for helping the police with their inquiries.

"No, sir," she said reluctantly.

"And quite right too," said Braid. "Because I know who killed the Rev Hubert Lancaster."

Consternation.

"It was quite simple. There was a branch very near the body which had just fallen off the tree and knocked him unconscious. It still had a little matted hair on it. His master lay there unmoving, so his faithful hound Heseltine came to investigate. The vicar did not respond, so Heseltine tried to drag him away. Taking in his teeth the dog lead which the vicar had wrapped around his neck like a scarf, the dog pulled it tighter and tighter ..."

"My God!" said Comfort. "You mean - the dog was the murderer ..."

"I'm afraid so. There were tiny tooth marks in the lead just where he would have seized it, before unwittingly killing his master."

Just then Heseltine came gambolling in and wagged his tail, as if looking for a walk.

"Cool customer," said Braid. "Not an ounce of guilt. Almost human."

Another Sixty Second Sleuth mystery soon! Maybe tomorrow! Who knows?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rohingya migrants in a boat adrift in the Andaman Sea last week  

Burma will regret shutting its eyes to the fate of the Rohingya boat people

Peter Popham
New BBC series Britain's Hardest Grafter seems to be tapping into the 'poverty porn' trend started by C4's Benefits Street  

'Benefits Street' meets 'The Hunger Games' is a new low for the BBC

Alice Jones
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor