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The Woods of St Francis – 5

“My, my,” said Knowles to himself, “I thought my place was a time capsule, but it’s got nothing on this.”   

He looked at the matching Staffordshire dogs on the mantelpiece, the record player in the corner, Constable’s ‘Hay Wain’ on the flock wall-papered walls, and the cocktail trolley by the window, with fully stocked bottles he noted, and smiled. This had the potential to be a National Trust property from the 1960s / 1970s. He was relieved to see that there was no sign of a pet in the house, no cages, litter trays, dog collars, or aquariums. Not even a goldfish bowl. No need to get the animal shelter involved. Andy Bowen had lived alone.

Knowles looked in the kitchen and had a surprise. The fridge was well stocked with vegetables and fruit, and there were no processed foods. All this made Knowles wonder whether Bowen had turned over a new leaf recently, literally in the salad’s case – or whether he hadn’t included exercise in his daily habits yet. These things take time, as Knowles knew only too well. The milk smelled fresh. The food bank would love all these items. In the dish rack were one plate, one bowl, one spoon, one fork, and one knife, plus a mug full of water in the metal sink.

Some letters were in a letter rack on the counter, containing requests for payment that the estate would have to settle. There was a ticket stub for an event that Knowles didn’t recognise. He popped this in an Evidence Bag. There was a date on the back, stamped in red ‘25-02’, which presumably was 25th February this year. What events had taken place on Saturday, 25th February? He’d ask Linda to find out.

Barnes came into the Lounge. 

“Anything odd up there?” asked Knowles.

“He made the bed, all neat and tidy. The usual assortment of shirts, T-shirts, trousers, and shoes plus two jackets. He also has a replica England shirt and a Manchester United top.”

“I wonder if he’s a football fan then or just tries to fit in with the crowd?” asked Knowles, “there’s a ticket here for an event, would any local football teams have been playing on 25th February?”

“Well, there’s only two really who would issue tickets, that‘s Scoresby Town and Scoresby Rovers. I will check on my phone to see if either of them was playing on that date.”

As Barnes played with his phone, Knowles looked at the computer on the table and the answerphone. There were no messages. He took the computer and placed it in an evidence bag for the Forensics team to investigate. 

“Well,” said Barnes, “it looks like it was a local derby on Saturday 25th February, Scoresby Town were at home to Scoresby Rovers and it finished as a 2-2 draw, with both teams down to nine players, 4 red cards and 12 yellow.”

“A competitive game then,” said Knowles, “a typical lower league game with the ball only incidental on occasions.” 

“I hadn’t realised you were such an expert on local football clubs, sir,” said Barnes in surprise.

“I’m not, but I remember someone talking about it on the Monday afterwards, because I think things threatened to get out of hand when one player was sent off and some crowd members tried to remonstrate with him about his behaviour. There were three police constables there, and they calmed things down. It’s strange because there were only a few hundred at the match and yet there was almost violence, because one player kicked the ball at another player who he thought was feigning injury.”

“You have a splendid memory, sir,” said Barnes.

“It was the first thing I heard after coming back from my holidays, Barnesy, and I remember thinking that not much had changed during my time away.”

“I see, yes, you would remember that I suppose. Have you found anything out of the ordinary?”

“His computer is in this,” said Knowles, holding up the evidence bag, “it’s just a little Chromebook laptop by the looks of it, nothing fancy, presumably he didn’t use computers that much. As for other things, his last meal was on his own, and he cleaned up afterwards and washed and placed all the items in the dish rack, apart from the mug in the sink. The fridge is well stocked and all of it is healthy. Was there anything in the bathroom up there? And is there another room?”

“The bathroom was just a bath with no shower and very little in the cupboards other than the usual stuff, shaver, toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton buds, mouthwash. And yes, there’s a storeroom next to the bathroom with a spare bed that has no bedding on it, plus empty boxes for both a TV and what looks like an exercise bike.”

“An exercise bike? I wonder where that is? I haven’t seen that.”

This post first appeared on Julian Worker UK, please read the originial post: here

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The Woods of St Francis – 5


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