Agatha Christie Sleuths were unable to comply with Dame Barbara’s demand for the return of Miss Marple, who was engaged upon another assignment. Instead, they sent a dapper, wax-moustached spat-wearing Belgian gentleman, Monsieur Poirot, who swiftly assumed charge of the Burrow. Having ascertained that neither Ben nor myself had the absent jewels concealed about our persons, he deputed us to search the place from top to bottom with a metaphorical toothcomb, while he interrogated the inmates of the Snug.
He swiftly eliminated Wook and Zola from his suspicions, as they had arrived so recently, and proceeded to engage in intimate body searches of the others, all of whom had the capacity to conceal a rope of pearls – Lavenderblue in her lengthy and abundant auburn tresses, Merkin in his weird wig, Boldscot in his voluminous Sporran, and Trousers in the pockets of his self-supporting jeans. All yielded a blank, and M. Poirot confessed himself temporarily baffled.
At this juncture, Ms Melancholy arrived and announced that she was not only a therapist, but had clairvoyant powers. M. Poirot promptly co-opted her to his assistance, and asked her to interview Dame Barbara, who though now slightly less hysterical, was making heavy inroads upon the Burrow’s gin stock. After a short conversation Ms Melancholy emerged from the parlour saying “She doesn’t know whether it’s fish or Tuesday – nothing rational or cognitive about HER!”
Ms M was then invited by Poirot to exercise her clairvoyant powers, and went into a light trance from which she emerged muttering “brandy barrels, brandy barrels”. Ben suddenly had a flash of inspiration. “Where’s Wooffie?” he asked, and we realised that the amiable creature had not been seen for some hours. A search was then instituted and produced no sign of our shaggy friend, and as he was not in the house I set off along the towpath in one direction and Ben in the other. As I approached the lock-keeper’s cottage, I espied a pawprint in the mud and signs of a scuffle. Could Wooffie have been abducted by aquatic marauders? It seemed possible.
I hastened on to the cottage, and the lock-keeper’s wife – an observant lady – told me that a large dog with a rope of pearls around his neck had indeed passed through the lock about an hour ago in a dinghy rowed by a Yellow Duck. Summoning Ben on my mobile phone, we hastened towards the Yellow Duck Pond, only to find that it had been drained and filled in, and that the entrance to the Pirate’s Lair had been blocked off.
What to do? Just as we were thinking of returning empty-handed, we heard a plaintive bark, and espied Wooffie tied to a tree in the undergrowth. He was overjoyed to see us, and to be set free. But the pearls were missing. We trooped forlornly back to the Burrow and reported to M. Poirot, who twirled his moustaches and observed “Ah! Ze plot thickens……”