Never a dull moment living in the middle of a murder investigation, let it be said. Only yesterday, a briefcase was discovered in my back yard, hidden beneath the admittedly large amount of fallen leaves kicking around back there. Amber says that her mystery attacker was carrying just such a briefcase, so could it be the same one? If it is, heaven knows what it was doing in my garden… Whatever the (brief)case, inside it was a piece of paper with the number ’18’ written on it.
The mystery only gets deeper, as I discovered earlier today.
I was at home, catching up on the latest adventures of Nancy Nocturn, my favourite TV sleuth, when a text message rattled my attention. Checking the screen, it was from none other than the investigator Othello Atticus! How he got my number I’ve no idea, but clearly the man’s skills are as devious as the rumours suggest. The message told me he was engaged in some pressing business, but that an informant of his had some potentially important information, finishing with the instruction to ‘meet the informant at the corner of Inherent Drive.’
Indeed, there it was, ten minutes later, that I found a rather rough looking chap, sporting a battered fedora and a slightly slimy half-smile.
As I made to greet him he gave a curt shake of his head, and beckoned me, with a twitch of his hat, to come closer. I did so hesitantly, as the man’s odour was less than savoury, and as I fought from gagging he pressed his mouth close to my ear and whispered in a meaningful tone;
“Tidy your back garden. I recommend a Leaf-Blower 5000.”
I had barely time to register my surprise before he had tipped his hat and walked away down the street. I thought about what this could mean; why would Atticus send me to someone to be told that my garden was untidy? Nancy had just been about to reveal that she was, in fact, the Prime Minister’s daughter! Not very polite either, I thought, making disparaging remarks about a fellow’s garden!
Then again, it wouldn’t do to have word get about that I cannot keep my private grounds in order, and I do not particularly want my back yard to become the habitual dumping ground for murderers who need to conceal their mysterious trinkets, so I decided to head to Ben Karr’s Garden Centre and see what they had in stock.
As it happened, the Leaf-Blower 5000 was on offer! Perfect, though packaged in an inconsiderately hard to carry box, with no handles!
On my way back home, hauling the damn thing over my shoulders down Fahd avenue, I saw a familiarly dishevelled individual materialise from around a side-street; the informant. He gave an approving nod as he approached, and once again leant in close.
“I’ve been checkin’ a place out that I think Othello Atticus might be interested in regarding the nasty goings on o’ late. It was always abandoned, this house, see… but just yesterday I caught sight of a shady sort…”
He paused, as if daring me to make a comment. I did not, as holding the Leaf Blower was beginning to make my arms ache and would have preferred him to get to the point as quickly as possible.
“A particularly shady sort, lurking around inside the upstairs windows.”
He then made a slight rustling movement and produced a small piece of paper from somewhere. He gave me a quick grin, tucked the note into my jacket pocket and once again turned and walked briskly away, without even offering to help with the large box so clearly weighing me down!
Thusly, curiosity burning, I had to wait until I was safely home and my hands were free before I could fish the note out of my pocket and look at it. Hmm – now that I think about it, it seems Mr Atticus’s associates are perhaps almost as cunning as the man himself…
I flattened out the crumpled paper in my study to reveal a single line of script; an address:
I imagine it’s worth investigating…