Cover image for Lestrade and the deadly game
Title:
Lestrade and the deadly game
Author:
Trow, M. J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub., [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
224 pages ; 21 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780895263124
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

English description: This contributed work combines articles which deal with the application of pragmatic approaches in diachronically oriented linguistics. Both theoretical approaches and philological aspects are pursued and the applicability of general linguistic approaches is tested on Indo-European corpus languages. German description: Dieser Sammelband vereinigt Beitrage, die sich mit der Anwendung pragmatischer Ansatze in einer diachron orientierten Sprachwissenschaft beschaftigen. Es werden sowohl theoretische Ansatze verfolgt als auch einzelphilologische Aspekte thematisiert und anhand von indogermanischen Korpussprachen bearbeitet.


Author Notes

Author M. J. Trow was born in Ferndale, South Wales in 1949. He graduated from King's College, London and Cambridge. He writes the Lestrade Mystery series and the Peter Maxwell Mystery series. He has also written biographies on Kit Marlowe, Vlad the Impaler, Boudicca and Cnut. He also teaches history and politics at Ryde High School. He currently lives on the Isle of Wight.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Among the charms of Trow's Lestrade novels (Lestrade and the Ripper, Forecasts, July 5) are tight historical detail, an unusual mix of slapstick and literate humor, and unpredictable plots. In this fifth of the series, it is 1908, and against a backdrop of European imperialism, the Olympic games are coming to London and the suffragist movement is upsetting the status quo. When Lestrade investigates the possible suicide of Anstruther Fitzgibbon, the son of the Marquess of Bolsover, he sees at once that the death was, in fact, murder. Soon he is plunged into stopping a series of killings that seems aimed at British athletes, who are being done to death by shooting, stabbing and poison. Complicating matters are an American Pinkerton agent, officers of the French S–ret‚ and German Politzei, and British and American newspaper reporters. Trow, having appropriated Conan Doyle's ferret-faced inspector to good advantage, has created a delightful series. Any mystery fan, whether partial to locked rooms, serial killers, period novels or humorous ones, could happily read any of the LestradesÄand this latest is a fine place to start. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This popular 16-volume Edwardian series featuring the Conan Doyle character Inspector Sholto Lestrade of Scotland Yard was first published in Britain. In his fifth adventure, Lestrade investigates a series of murders that threaten the London Olympics of 1908. Then, in September, he takes on the ripper. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One One To Get Ready ... The Greeks had a word for it. It was a short one and it translated rather well into Anglo-Saxon. Someone had pinched their Games.     But in other ways, the year was set fair. The Congo was annexed by Belgium. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the terrible twins of those tiresome Balkan States, were annexed by Austria. There was even a new annexe at Scotland Yard. The British Army of course excelled itself by devising a new pattern sword with a pistol grip hilt of gutta-percha. To the Yeomanry who had served so well on Veldt and Nek, it declined to give any swords at all. And weary gentlemen, then abed, shook their heads and muttered as they read their morning papers. That buffoon Haldane had introduced a new part-time soldier he called a `terrier'. The country was of course going to the dogs. Mr Edward Henry crossed again to his window, the only one that permitted a decent view of the river, sparkling now in the morning sun. He looked at the grandmother on the wall.     `Yes.' He heard the monotone behind him. `Half-past. It's certainly getting on.'     He turned to Inspector Gregory and gave him the old Pukka Sahib's look which had decimated the natives of Ceylon. But Gregory was too white-skinned to notice.     `You'd think they'd be here by now,' he said, trying to fix an air of even average intellect on to his bovine face.     `Indeed.' Henry's temper, no longer than he was, was within an ace of snapping. He flicked open the silver box and cut himself into a new Havana.     `Ah,' said Gregory, with the air of a man about to be offered a smoke. `Ahhmmm,' and he had the grace to turn disappointment into a cough as he fidgeted on his chair. `Did I ever tell you about that case in Piddletrenthide, Chief?' he asked hopefully.     `Yes,' said Henry.     `The old pedlar with the monkey?'     `Yes.'     `The one with the missing third finger, left hand?'     `Yes.'     `Well, it was back in '96. Or was it '97 ...?'     Mercifully, Henry was not to find out, for the knock at the door heralded the arrival of Inspector Mungo Hyde of the River Police.     `Sorry, Mr Henry,' he blustered, struggling with his forage cap. `Lighter broke loose at the East India. My boys and I have been out since dawn.'     `Thank you, Inspector. Take a seat.'     In the event, Hyde took two. It had to be said that the bacon buns of Mrs Squatt of Rotherhithe had done immeasurable harm to the good man's waistline. It was rumoured in the River Police that he had to take soundings to make sure his feet were still there, for even in a strong nor'westerly, he'd lost sight of them years ago.     `Did I ever tell you, Mungo, about that case in Yorkshire last year?'     `Yes, Tom,' the River Policeman answered.     `Right in the centre of Arndale, it happened.'     `Yes.'     `You'd have thought he'd have been past it, wouldn't you, a man of his age?'     `Yes.'     `But not a bit of it. He ...'     The door crashed back and a tall, square policeman stood there, a bridle draped over his shoulder.     `Sorry I'm late, Assistant Commissioner,' he said in a bluff accent from somewhere north of Watford. `Dray horses bolted along Fleet Street. Must have got a whiff of a mare, I suppose. At least those lazy bastards of reporters had a jammy time. All they had to do was to lean out of the window for a story.'     `Gentlemen,' said Henry, `I don't believe you know Inspector Edgar-Smith of the Mounted Division. Inspector Hyde of the River Police and Inspector Gregory of ...'     `L Division, sir.' Gregory rose and shook the man's hand. `I used to ride a horse, you know ...'     `Really,' grunted Edgar-Smith, a little less than captivated by the admission. `Well, I never.'     `Oh, but surely.' Gregory was surprised. `You being in the Mounted Division, and all ...'     He met six hostile eyes in his usual blank manner, but they were quickly joined by two more.     `Ah, Abberline.' Henry gestured the newest arrival to a chair. `Gentlemen, I believe you all know Chief Superintendent Abberline.'     There were nods and rumbles all round. Then Abberline realized that Henry was looking at him for an explanation.     `Ah,' he said, adjusting the gardenia in his buttonhole. `Minor derailment at Penge.'     `But you live in Norwood, Mr Abberline,' Gregory said innocently.     Abberline withered him and noticed that Mungo Hyde's left eye was flickering with a life of its own. His head began to dip towards his shoulder. When he realized everyone was looking at him, he began to tug at his collar. `Damned thing,' he said. `This patrol jacket seems to have shrunk in the wash.' He could help Abberline no further.     Henry was altogether less concerned. `You appear to have a lipstick smudge on your cheek, Chief Superintendent,' he said blandly, sitting back behind his desk.     Abberline rose sharply, glancing behind him. Quickly realizing all was well, he produced a monogrammed lace handkerchief and dabbed his face. `Mrs Abberline,' he grinned sheepishly. `You know what women are.'     As he dabbed, the lacy scrap floated to his feet. He bent to retrieve it -- and what he could of his dignity -- and his eyes met a pair of less than reputable boots. He followed up the matching trousers and was within a whisker of snatching the handkerchief when the owner of the boots did it for him.     `M,' said the owner, reading the ornately embroidered initial. `That must stand for Mrs Abberline. How is Ermintrude?'     `Lestrade ...' Abberline began, but the Assistant Commissioner cut him off.     `We're already forty minutes late, Lestrade. Mr Gregory has been here since ten.'     Lestrade crossed the room and shook Henry's hands warmly. `How can I ever forgive myself?' he asked solemnly. He looked deeply into Henry's eyes. He knew what those forty minutes had cost him.     `May we please begin?'     All eyes settled on Henry as he leaned forward in his leather chair. Simultaneously, all legs except Hyde's crossed at the knee.     `Gentlemen,' said Henry, his eyes dark and serious through the smoke of his cigar, `we all know that the Congo has been annexed by the Belgians. Rumour has it that Bosnia and Herzegovina will, after all, be annexed by Austria. It is not of course for us to question the machinations of the Government in creating the Territorial Army. By the way, Edgar-Smith, have your chaps had a crack at this new pattern sword yet?'     `Sword be buggered!' snapped the man from the Mounted Division, slapping his shoulder anew with the bridle. `Give my boys six inches more on their hardwood truncheons, that's all I ask. We'll crack these suffragists' skulls ...'     `Yes, thank you Inspector,' Henry interrupted. `Gentlemen, you've seen my memoranda to your various departments. All leave is cancelled forthwith. Rest days will be suspended until the matter in hand is passed.'     `The ... matter in hand, sir ...' Lestrade twitched his moustache. As usual, he had seen no memorandum at all.     `Haven't you seen my memoranda?' Henry quizzed him.     `No, sir, I confess not,' said Lestrade.     `Imbert!' roared Henry. `Get in here.'     A curly-haired constable stuck his head round the glasspanelled door. `Sir?'     `Did you or did you not place my recent memoranda on Mr Lestrade's desk?'     `Yes, sir,' the constable replied. `In his In tray.'     Henry turned to Lestrade again. `Do you remember an In memoranda?'     `No, sir, I'm afraid not,' Lestrade admitted.     `Tsk, the Olympic Games, man,' Henry snarled. `Imbert, get out!'     `Yessir,' and he was gone.     `Within the fortnight, thousands of foreigners will descend on London like bees to the hive. Superintendent Quinn of the Special Branch is not with us this morning because even now he is combing his files on Undesirable Aliens. He tells me they are bulging. We shall have the scum of Europe on our doorstep, gentlemen, as surely as if there were a tunnel under the Channel itself.'     `Heaven forbid!' gasped Mungo Hyde, who perhaps saw his trade dropping off.     `I'm sure the athletes aren't that bad, sir,' Gregory proffered.     Henry scowled. The morning was not going well. `I was not referring to them,' he still had the patience to explain. `Their presence will attract thieves, vagabonds, swindlers and confidence tricksters by the yard. Our job is to be ever vigilant. I need hardly remind you that the Entente is, at the moment, a little less than Cordiale. Then of course, there are the Germans ...'     `Why are the Americans coming, exactly?' Abberline asked.     There was a silence. Clearly, there was no answer to that. It was luncheon, that day or the next. Chief Inspector Walter Dew, Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard, was looking into the matter of the misappropriation of a number of old-age pensions. To be more precise, he was looking into the bowels of the upright Remington which had worn a permanent groove into his desk. The capital L was playing up again. It was the one he used most, by virtue of his guv'nor's name, and the thing had clashed with the exclamation mark and a number of other careless keys to grind right through the headed notepaper with the unusual watermark and into the impossible-to-reach little void behind.     `Rosie Lee, guv?' a cheery voice called.     Dew cursed anew. `I should have been at the Collar by now, Hollingsworth. The last thing I want is a cup of gnat's pee I've got to blow on for half an hour. Know anything about typewriters?'     `I've had a few in my time, Insp.' The constable winked.     Dew turned to face him.     `Ah, you mean machines ?' Hollingsworth said with a broad grin. `Nah. I always use me old Dirty Den.'     Dew had been more years on the Force than he cared to remember. Twenty if it was a day. And all of it more or less within tinkling distance of Bow Bells. But this man's professional Cockneyism got right up his doublet and hose. `Dirty Den?' he repeated with all the patience at his disposal.     `Pen, Insp,' Hollingsworth smirked. `Well, never mind. I'll drink it, then. `Ere, do you know, I do believe ... yes ... yes, there it is.' He put the cup down quickly, staring intently at the top of Dew's head.     `What's the matter?' Dew instinctively felt his parting.     `Grey, Insp,' Hollingsworth whispered in his ear. `The old grey hair's a-lying in the meadow. First of many, of course.'     `In my day, Hollingsworth,' Dew fumed, `young constables were expected to be seen and not heard. Now get out. I'm busy.'     `Very good, Mr Dew sir.' Hollingsworth tucked the cup in the crook of his arm and made for the door. `Oh, by the way.' He paused. `There's a bloke out `ere. To see Mr Lestrade.'     `Who is he?' Dew asked.     `I dunno. He gave me his card somewhere.' Hollingsworth fumbled in his waistcoat pocket. "Ere. The Marquess of Bolsover. Funny `andle, ain't it?'     Dew sprang to his feet. `You blithering idiot! Don't you read the papers? The Marquess of Bolsover is a nob of the first water. How long has he been waiting?'     `A few minutes.' Hollingsworth shrugged.     `A few ...' Dew was speechless.     `Do you know,' Hollingsworth grinned, `when you're annoyed, a little lump comes and goes in your neck.'     `When I'm really annoyed, Hollingsworth, there'll be lots of lumps coming up in your neck because it'll have my fingers round it. Show the Marquess in -- and put your jacket on, man. This is Scotland Yard.'     `Right, Insp.' Hollingsworth sensed the urgency. `But don't worry. I gave him a cup of Rosie.' Dew waved him out. He pulled on his best serge and adjusted his tie in the foxed grime of the mirror. With one last desperate swipe he dislodged the typewriter keys and flicked the dust off the depositions neckhigh in the corner.     `His Excellency the Marquess of Bolsover,' Hollingsworth announced as though at the Lord Mayor's Show.     A stumpy little man in tweeds brushed past him. `Lestrade.' He thrust out a martial hand.     `Er ... no, sir. Chief Inspector Dew, sir.'     `Eh? Well, where's Lestrade?'     `Er ... at luncheon, sir.'     `Luncheon? Good God. Police force. Going to dogs; country. You.' He rounded on the beaming Hollingsworth. `Smirking.' He cuffed the lad around the ear. `There. Something to smirk about. Lestrade; where d's he eat?'     `Er ... the Collar, sir.' Hollingsworth's cheek smarted.     `Collar?'     `The Horse and Collar, sir,' Dew explained. `It's a public house in ...'     `Damn and blast it. Fetch him. Send your chappie here.' Hollingsworth looked at Dew who looked in turn at the Marquess. `Now!' Bolsover roared and Hollingsworth scarcely had time to grab his bowler before he was hurtling along the corridor as though his tail was on fire.     `Please your Grace,' Dew bobbed, `won't you have a seat?'     `Got one,' snorted Bolsover. `Berkshire. D'you know it?'     `Well, I ... er ... don't leave London much, I'm afraid.'     Bolsover sat heavily on Lestrade's new swivel, the one he'd managed to misdirect by a bit of nifty paperwork before it reached Abberline's office.     `Should. Spot of rough shooting. Nothing like it. Soon be the Twelfth.'     Dew looked at Lestrade's calendar. It was June the fourteenth. The old boy must be a little confused.     `Rank?' Bolsover snapped.     `Er ... Chief Inspector,' Dew admitted.     `Name again?'     `Er ... Dew.'     `Urdu? That's a bally language, isn't it? Nigger.'     `May I ask the nature of ...?' Dew ventured.     `No. Private. Go to top. Best man. Always have. Always will. Unfortunately, best man out. Got to make do with Whatsisface.'     `Lestrade.'     `Rank?'     `Chief Inspector,' Dew repeated. Obviously the old man was a little Mutt and Jeff as Hollingsworth would have it.     `Is that all?' Bolsover lowered. `No bally good. Been sold a pup here. Thought he was bally Assistant Commissioner at least.'     `Oh, I see, sir.' Dew realized the error of his ways. It was not a first for him. `You mean Mr Lestrade's rank? Oh yes, he's Superintendent.'     `Age?'     `Mr Lestrade? Oh, I don't know. Er ... fiftyish.'     `I'd killed seventy-six tigers when I was fiftyish. What's he done?'     `Er ... well, he's solved ... helped to solve several cases.'     ` Exempli gratia ?'     Dew's tongue protruded in the effort of remembering. `No, I don't think that was one of his. That was one of Abberline's.'     `Abilene? That's a town in the colonies. In Kansas. This Lestrade. Any good?'     `Very, sir.' Dew was sure. `As you say, the best.'     `Not what I said.'     An uncanny silence descended. During it, Dew's stomach, cheated of luncheon, gave a gurgling lurch and lay there, mutinous and growling.     `Hot, isn't it, Your Eminence?' he said at last. `For June, I mean.'     `Flaming,' said Bolsover. And the silence fell again.     It came as the most exquisite relief to the Chief Inspector when the door crashed back and a bowler came whistling through it to ricochet off the green-painted pipes and land squarely on top of the pile of faded paper.     `This had better be good, Dew. I gave up a couple of pints of winkles. Oh.'     `The Marquess of Bolsover, Superintendent Lestrade,' said Dew. `Superintendent Lestrade. The Marquess o ...' and realizing his sudden superfluity, crept away.     `My lord.' Lestrade extended a hand. `I'm sorry, my constable is rather new. I had no idea you'd been kept waiting. I trust that Inspector Dew has been helpful.'     `Doesn't know the meaning of the word.'     `Quite.' Lestrade gestured to a chair and found that Bolsover returned to his, leaving him to perch like a crippled parrot on Dew's, `Er ... my Chief Inspector's rather new as well.'     `Come to the point, Lestrade. Busy man. Son. Eldest son. Dead. Shot himself, y'see.'     There was no trace of emotion, no faltering in the Maxim gun delivery of the words.     `I'm sorry,' said Lestrade, reaching for a notepad.     `In the papers. Bally things. Thunderer's not been the same since Buckle. Who is this Harmsworth chappie?'     `Who indeed?' Lestrade stroked his chin ruefully.     `Wanted to do a bally story on me. Cheeky blighter. I sent his man packing.'     `Quite.'     `Wasn't suicide, Lestrade. Not my boy. Not a Fitzgibbon.'     `Quite.' Lestrade was grateful for small mercies at least. Nobody could make a monkey out of him. `My lord,' he said, `I shall look into the matter, of course, but I fear, with the Olympic Games so imminent, the entire Yard has its hands full.'     `Damn foreigners!' Bolsover snapped, getting smartly to his feet. `Bally fool Gladstone. Should've sent a gunboat. Palmerston now, there's the chappie.'     `Yes, indeed. But until the Games are over, I fear I must place your son's demise on file.'     `File be damned.' Bolsover reached the door. `He'd have beaten all those blighters. He was nimbler than all my boys. Fastest thing on two legs I've seen. Apart from a wallaby on heat, of course.'     `Of course ... my lord, forgive me.' Lestrade's nostrils began to twitch. `But do I understand that your son was an athlete?'     `The best,' Bolsover told him.     The words of Mr Edward Henry rang anew in Lestrade's ears -- `The scum of Europe ...'     `Please, my lord, sit down. Have my chair.' He hopped off Dew's. `You'd better tell me all about it.' The two bowler-hatted gentlemen were shown into the bedroom of the late Anstruther Fitzgibbon, eldest son of the Marquess of Bolsover.     `I believe you know Inspector Bland. I am Superintendent Lestrade,' said the shorter of the two, `You are ...?'     `Overwrought, sir,' slurred the manservant and he swayed a little as he spoke.     `Yes, of course.' Lestrade wandered the thick pile. `But what is your name?'     `Botley, sir. Hinksey Botley. I am ... I was the master's manservant, man and boy.'     `How old was the master?' Lestrade found a silver-framed photograph of a boy in tasselled cap and white knickerbockers showing just a hint of knee.     `He was twenty-seven, sir.' Botley produced a handkerchief and trumpeted into it. `A mere boy. I had tended him since he was a baby.'     Lestrade mechanically checked the bed.     `You found him?' he asked.     The manservant nodded.     `Tell me, Botley.' The Superintendent placed an avuncular arm around the old man's withered shoulders. `Would you say the master was the type to take his own life?'     Botley straightened, as cut to the quick by the slur on the family honour as the Marquess had been. `Never!' he said.     Lestrade smiled and patted the man. `Well, well. Would you wait outside please? We'll send for you if we need you.'     Botley hesitated, swaying a little, then pivoted on one leg and made a determined bid to reach the door in a straight line. Lestrade followed him, eyeing the moulding intently.     `Again then, John,' he said.     Bland threw his hat on the bed and sprawled on a chaiselongue . He consulted the black notepad, bereft of its gold embossing now that economies were in vogue in C Division. `Anstruther George Hartlepool Fitzgibbon. Third son of the Marquess of Bolsover.'     `Third? I thought he was the eldest?'     `Eldest surviving.'     `What happened to the others?'     `Er ... eldest died of pneumonia as a child. Second fell prey to a hunting accident. Horse rolled on him.'     `Ah, you don't get that problem with a Lanchester,' Lestrade commented.     `Two other siblings, we think, but somewhat the other side of the blanket. One was a girl born to some American Amazon. She lives over ... there. Bolsover never married the mother, although he was unencumbered by a wife at the time. The other was a lad, some years older. I got this from old Botley after a lot of haggling. Son of a serving gel. He seems to have been kept on as a boot boy until he was ten or so. Then he ran away.'     `What do we know about Anstruther?' Lestrade asked.     `Educated Harrow. Seemed to be some nonsense involving the games master. Went to Rugby. Some trouble there with the riding instructor. Went up to Cambridge. Some trouble involving a mathematics professor. Gonville and Caius.'     `There were two of them?' Lestrade checked.     `Apparently. Did a short spell with the Durham Light Infantry.'     `No Sandhurst?'     `For three days. There was some trouble with the fortifications lecturer. Don't quite know how he got a commission.'     `And in the Durham Light Infantry?'     `Yes.' Bland flicked over a page. `Couldn't get much on this. Seems there was some bother with the chaplain and the regimental mascot.'     `Really?'     `Ah, I know what you're thinking,' smirked Bland. `But it's all right, Sholto. It was a female goat.'     `I'm relieved to hear it. And since the army?'     `Well, he always had this poncho for sport. Quite a good hurdler. Would have got a Blue at Cambridge if he'd been there longer.'     `How long has he lived here?' Lestrade lit a cigar.     `This is the family's second town house. The old man lives in Grosvenor Place. He seems to own half of St James's.'     `No money worries, then.'     `Not judging by the look of this place. Anstruther had been living here on and off since he was eighteen.'     `Tell me about the Night in Question.'     `Last Tuesday. June the ninth. Anstruther had been over to the new stadium at the White City. Before that he'd done some running in the park.'     `Hyde?'     `Regent's.'     `What time did he come home?'     `Ah, now there Botley wasn't sure' Bland said. `It must have been after he went to bed. Around ten thirty.'     `So we don't know if he was alone?'     `No. The next thing we know for certain is that Botley knocked on his door as usual at ten o'clock.'     `This door?' Lestrade was drawn to it again.     `Yes. There was no reply.'     `What did Botley do?'     `Nothing. He couldn't get in.'     Lestrade's eyebrows knotted. `Locked?'     Bland nodded.     `Where's the key?' Lestrade couldn't see one.     `Lost. Years ago.'     `Ah.' Lestrade wandered to the door again. `The bolt.' It stood an inch or two away from the keyhole. Brass. Highly polished. He touched it with his fingers and it slid back easily. `Odd,' he said, `a bolt on a bedroom door.'     `Sholto.' Bland crossed the room to join him. `I think we must assume that the late Anstruther was not as other men.'     Lestrade narrowed his eyes in the direction of his colleague. `A Mary Ann, you mean?'     Bland nodded. `God knows who he was entertaining on that very bed.' The policemen turned collectively to stare at it. `The bolt was essential.'     `All right,' Lestrade said. `What happened next?'     `According to my information,' Bland told him, `Botley got a couple of tradesmen delivering in the street and they took the door off its hinges.'     Lestrade ran his fingers over the jamb. He withdrew them sharply as a couple of splinters got him. `And not put back with any expertise either.'     `Ah, sorry, Sholto. That's my boys. C Division was never very hot on carpentry.'     `Once they were in, Botley and these tradesmen, what did they find?'     Bland read his book from where he was. `Anstruther was sitting at his desk.' Lestrade took the same chair. `He was slumped forward, his head by that paperweight thing.' Lestrade slumped forward.     `Like this?' he asked, in a muffled sort of way.     `Like that,' said Bland, twisting his head. `Sunny side up. Gunshot wound to the left temple.'     Lestrade sat up. `You've got the photographs?'     `Ah, well, Sholto.' Bland was realizing this was not his morning. `I'm afraid my boys in C division aren't really on top of photography. They're a bit blurred.'     Lestrade looked at his man. `How many came out?'     `Er ... none.'     Lestrade sighed. `All right, John. Tell me about the weapon.'     `Ah.' Bland crossed to the far wall and removed a chased box from the sideboard. He lifted the lid to reveal a green velvet lining and a single flintlock pistol. `The partner to this one,' he said. `Expensive piece. Made by Egg. We've got the actual one at Vine Street.'     Lestrade took the proffered pistol, letting the silver butt rest in his hand. `Left temple?' he asked.     Bland nodded.     Lestrade held the gun to his head. `Awkward bloody thing,' he commented. `I'm sure your boys in C Division know more about these things than I do, John. How does it work?'     `Buggered if I know, Sholto. I think the bullet thing comes out here.' Bland waved his hand in the general direction of the gun. `You pull that thing back, don't you?'     `The trigger?' Lestrade was on alien territory.     `Yes, but that curly thing. At the top. No. The other one. Yes, that's it.'     Lestrade clicked back the serpentine. Once. Twice. It would no further go.     `Does it fire bullets?' he asked.     `Well, the doctor dug something out of his head,' Bland observed.     Lestrade squeezed the trigger and the serpentine fell with a click. `Hey presto,' he said.     `I should put it down, Sholto. Bloody thing looks dangerous to me.'     Lestrade glanced to his right. `John,' he said suddenly, `was the desk in this exact position?'     `Yes, I think so. Why?'     Lestrade stood up. `Sit here,' he said, vacating the seat.     Bland did as he was told. `What?' he asked.     Lestrade squatted beside him, cracking his knee on the desk corner as he did so. `Agghh!' he screamed.     `A clue?' Bland asked excitedly.     `A minor dislocation,' said Lestrade. I'll be all right. Sit upright as though you're smoking. Oh, you are.'     `Like this?'     `Yes.' Lestrade closed one eye, concentrating on the wall beyond Bland's head. He clicked his teeth.     `Now lean forward, as if you're writing. That's it.' He frowned. `Do you always write like that?'     `Well, in C Division, we haven't quite got the hang ...'     `Yes, I know.' He lined up the wall again, shaking his head.     `All right. Now put your head down on the desk. No, nose down.'     `Sholto,' Bland muttered, `this isn't very comfortable.'     `Don't move!' Lestrade hobbled across to the far wall. `Ah ha!' he said.     `What?' mumbled Bland. It wasn't easy to talk through blotting paper.     `What do you make of this?'     Bland joined Lestrade in the corner. `Wallpaper. Flock. Chinese, I'd say. We're quite good on Oriental wallpapers in C Division.'     `I knew you would be,' nodded Lestrade, `but I'm talking about this brown stuff.'     Bland pressed his nose against the flock -- a slight improvement anyway over blotting paper. `Camp coffee?' he guessed.     `Blood,' said Lestrade.     `Good God, so it is. I wonder how I missed that?'     `I wonder,' sighed Lestrade. `What do you make of it?'     Bland looked bland. Clearly he made almost nothing of it.     `Admittedly,' Lestrade helped him, `I'm not very O'Fay with guns like that, but if I know my gunshot wounds, part of Anstruther's head would have been blown out sideways with the impact. And I think it's a ball, by the way, not a bullet. More or less in a straight line with the angle of the shot.'     `So?'     `So get back to the desk again.'     Bland did.     `Assume the position.'     Bland did.     `Now, pick up the pistol. No. As you were, nose on the desk. Right.'     Bland sat there, his nose back on the blotting paper. `All right?'     `I don't know. Are you?'     `Well, it's a bit uncomfortable,' admitted Bland.     `Yes, you said. So why do it?'     Bland sat up, a little hurt. `Because you asked me to, Sholto.'     `No, I mean if you were Anstruther, why do it? Why not sit back in the chair? Or sprawl on the chaise-longue ? Or lie on the bed? Or stand by the window? This thing' -- he took up the pistol again -- `must be over eighteen inches long. Why sit with your nose on the desk in order to blow our brains out?'     `What are you saying, Sholto? That Anstruther was murdered?'     Lestrade nodded slowly. `It had occurred,' he said.     `Impossible,' said Bland. `You' re forgetting one thing.'     `Oh?'     `The locked door.' Bland was triumphant.     `Ah,' said Lestrade. Collapse of stout party.     `Are you seriously saying to me,' Bland was in full flight, `that the murderer got into the room -- yes, he could have been let in by Anstruther without Botley knowing about it. That he killed Anstruther -- yes, he could have done, I grant you that, but what then? Did he arrange for Anstruther to get up with half his head missing and neatly lock the door behind him?'     `The window.' Lestrade stumbled to it.     Bland joined him and they peered down. A sheer drop of three storeys, no ledge; and bars six inches apart.     `Joachim the Human Fly?' Bland smirked.     `The walls?' Lestrade began tapping them furiously, listening for a hollow, a concavity that promised a secret passage. All he got was the disappointing pat pat of solid, Georgian brick.     `There's always the chimney, of course.' Bland was in his element. `Perhaps it was the orang-utan from that bloke's Rue Morgue story. Rather apt, isn't it? Monkey jumps down chimney in Berkeley Square, loads antique gun and kills Fitzgibbon, returning whence he came. The Daily Mail will have a field day!'     `You're enjoying this, aren't you?' Lestrade muttered.     `I'm sorry, Sholto,' Bland laughed, `but you can't pin a murder on this one. It's open and shut. Anstruther took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed. And if it wasn't before, it bloody well is now.'     `Where's the body?'     `Vine Street Mortuary. Want to look?'     `I'd better. If this hot weather goes on, he'll be walking to the funeral by himself.'     Lestrade limped painfully to the door. His fingers strayed again to the polished bolt and he shook his head. `An open and shut case,' he said. And he was gone. Copyright © 1999 Regnery Publishing. All rights reserved.