Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Case of the Haunted House

From the forthcoming book "Death in Durrington"

I do not believe in ghosts. However, I would not spend a night in an allegedly haunted house on my own. That was the reason Barker and I were sitting in an ill-lit house waiting for the ghosts to appear. I had a camera in case the ghosts were visible. I had a blunt instrument in the form of a monkey wrench in case the spirits turned out to be human after all. And of course, I had Barker as back-up. I know he is as soft as rice pudding but a stranger might not know so much.
We have been given some odd cases in my time but this was odder yet.
My name is Viktor Price,” said the neatly-turned out man in his mid-fifties with a central-European accent. He said it as though it meant something. Perhaps it did to him.
I have a house in Durrington which I am anxious to sell.”
We’re not looking to move at the moment, Mr Price.”
He gave a laugh I didn’t like the sound of. It was on the edge of hysteria.
No no no. I am having difficulty selling it because some stupid superstitious przygłup is going around saying it is haunted.”
Micah wrote something in her notebook and let me see it.
Viktor Price, Polish.”
I looked briefly at his shoes. Micah scribbled “from Poland” in case there was any confusion.
I only heard the word “przygłup” once more and that was when Mr Price addressed it to me. It politely translates as ‘nitwit’ but I must tell this story in the right order.
I tried to explain that we were detectives, not Ghostbusters. Mr Price said, ”very amusing” in the tone of someone who has never found anything amusing in his life. He then named a fee which I decided I could go along with.
After dark, any house will make noises. In a semi-detached house, you can often hear the footsteps of your neighbour going up the stairs except that it sounds like someone coming up your stairs, possibly armed with an axe. Floorboards creak when there is nobody treading on them. The wind can sound like cries. The mind can play tricks.
To be continued...


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