Just a minute: it's the Sixty-Second Sleuth

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Today, I bring you more from the casebook of Inspector Keith Braid, the Sixty-Second Sleuth. He has been given that name because he never takes more than a minute to solve a case, so all his stories are lovely and short. Time for two today, I think.

Today, I bring you more from the casebook of Inspector Keith Braid, the Sixty-Second Sleuth. He has been given that name because he never takes more than a minute to solve a case, so all his stories are lovely and short. Time for two today, I think.

"Old Profs Seldom Die", a new Inspector Keith Braid mystery.

Professor Letchworth was very dead, of that there was no mistake. He had died at his desk. The pathologist had reported death from natural causes. So why had there been a note pinned to the dead man's jacket saying, in wavery old man's writing: "So perish all enemies of the truth!"?

"Rum one, this, Comfort," said Inspector Braid to Sergeant Comfort, his perpetual sidekick. "If the Professor has been murdered, as the note suggests, why can we find no trace of a murder method?"

"Well, he was a professor of chemistry, sir," said Comfort. "People in that line of country are very good at untraceable poisons and things."

"Suggesting he had been murdered by a colleague?"

"It's not impossible," said the college bursar, also present. "The rivalry and jealousy in the chemistry department was worse than any I have ever known. Professor Letchworth was head of chemistry and had a bitter vendetta against the number two, Professor Grintz, who he thought wanted his post. Which, by the way, he did. And Professor Grintz has a young rival in the shape of our American fellow, Mr Birnbaum, who is brilliant but unscrupulous."

"How did Birnbaum, no 3, get on with Letchworth, No 1?"

"Oh, they got on fine. They both hated Grintz, you see."

"Shall I arrest Grintz, sir?" said Comfort.

"Grintz? Good Lord, no. He's done nothing. No, Birnbaum's our man. Except that he hasn't actually committed a crime."

"Sir?"

"Oh, it's quite obvious what happened. Letchworth died naturally. Birnbaum found him dead. He thought he could pin the death on his enemy, Grintz, by leaving that note. It's a rare case of someone trying to make a death by natural causes look like a murder. It's usually the other way round. I wonder if we could charge him with unattempted murder..."

"No More Mister Nice Guy", a complete new Inspector Braid mystery.

"Have we got anything on the Archbishop of Canterbury, sir?" said Sergeant Comfort.

"Come again?" said Inspector Braid.

"I just wondered if he had form, sir. We've had a persistent rumour from our informers that there's something dodgy going on at Lambeth Palace. You used to be pally with the last Archbishop, so I thought...

"It's just that we get very strong reports of people being held against their will in there. I thought we might perhaps pay them a visit."

"Comfort, I'm going to tell you something I've never told you before. You're right. Someone is being held against their will. On my advice."

"Beg pardon, sir?"

"Remember when Terry Waite was held hostage? For five long years? Well, the Archbishop said then: 'This must never happen again'. I told him, the only way you can stop it is to have your own hostage. If any of your chaps is ever seized again, I said, you have to have someone you can swap with him.

"And that's what he did. Ten years ago they seized a medium-weight Muslim prelate, and they've held him ever since. Just in case. That's why no Anglican envoy has ever been seized again."

"That's appalling, sir!" said Comfort.

"Maybe, but not as bad as the alternative," said Braid. "Now - no raids on Lambeth Palace behind my back, Comfort. Promise me?"

More Sixty-Second Sleuth stories coming soon.

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