Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Stories from the Durrington Detective Agency - Advent in the Graveyard

What are we doing here?” asked Micah, “It doesn’t look like a crime scene, although there are bodies all over the place.”
We are interested in one in particular,” I said mildly and gestured towards a gravestone.
Thomas Shufflebottom, born 1852, fell asleep 1901,” Micah read. “Forty-nine was a reasonable age in the Victorian era, 41 was the average, well it was for the Shufflebottoms of this world. The rich lived longer but it’s a bit late for us to investigate that. We can’t get an exhumation order for a start. Why are we interested?”
Well it is because of that queerest of all fish, a paying customer,” I said.
Tell me more,” Micah seemed interested.
Our Thomas has a direct descendant, Sylvia Thomas. The family changed the name to Thomas in the 1930s, possibly out of respect for old Tom and possibly because they found ‘Shufflebottom’ only provoked amusement rather than respect when they moved down south seeking work. Sylvia’s father and Tom’s grandson was a Thomas Thomas who was teased as ‘tomtom’ by his workmates at the dairy if that’s relevant.”
It isn’t,” said Micah shortly.
So the Shufflebottoms had severed their connection with sheep. The name means ‘sheep-well valley’...”
I know.”
Well Google does, which comes to the same thing,” she smiled sweetly.
I noticed Micah had her laptop on her knee.
Can you...”
...access the local newspaper archives?”
Still no. The reception is quite dead here most of the time. I have GPRS.”
In response to my frown, she said, “General Purpose Rubbish Signal. Now, does the Bluebell Inn have wifi?”
Let’s go and find out.”
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