The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

A Man of a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Helping The Police With Their Enquiries

A relative works at Scotland Yard. I was delighted when he invited me to tour this icon of crime detection and learn of modern police practice.

I marvelled at computers, state-of-the-art laboratories and the air of efficiency as officers hurried purposefully back and forth - presumably delivering critical pieces of case solving information.

‘I’m amazed that all criminals aren’t instantly banged to rights,’ I enthused.

Henry sighed. ‘None of it seems to help us much,’ he confided in a whisper.

I was puzzled. ‘But Scotland Yard has a crime detection rate envied by the world?’

‘Come with me.’ Henry turned down a dimly lit corridor. ‘Remember,’ he continued with earnest sincerity, ‘everything is in the strictest confidence.’

I followed him to a door at the end of the corridor. We entered an Edwardian styled drawing room. An old lady with greying hair and seated on a sofa looked up whilst pouring tea.

‘Ah, Chief Inspector,’ she said to Henry, ‘would you and your guest care for some Assam?’

Henry introduced Dorothy. Other older people sat in armchairs or paced the floor, deep in thought.

‘I’m glad you dropped by,’ said Dorothy to Henry. ‘I’ve been thinking about the Regent’s Park Murder. It’s clear that the victim was strangled by an orang-utan, clubbed by a gorilla and finally smothered with the fur of a baboon. The deceased was also the recently spurned gay lover of the head keeper of primates at London Zoo.’

‘So he did it,’ Henry concluded with amazement. ‘We never had an inkling. We’ve been concentrating our enquiries on shepherds in the Orkneys.’

Dorothy cast a puzzled glance at Henry. ‘However, I discovered that a cousin of the victim bore a grudge over an inheritance which finally drove her to murder!’

Henry gasped. ‘However did you deduce that?’

‘It was the final words of the victim,’ Dorothy revealed. ‘He said he’d been murdered by his cousin due to a grudge over an inheritance.’

‘We shouldn’t have ignored that clue,’ sighed Henry, using his mobile to brief the investigation team.

Dorothy addressed me. ‘You seem confused, Mr Morrison?’

I gestured around me. ‘I don’t see where all this fits with Scotland Yard?’

‘It’s been known for over a century,’ Dorothy explained, ‘that police are incapable of detecting crime. Fortunately, that skill has remained amongst a small group of smug, amateur, upper class pensioners. This remains a closely guarded secret. The crime historian, Agatha Christie, was only allowed to publish by pretending Marple and Poirot were fictitious.

I was incredulous. ‘So you, and others like you, solve all crimes?’

‘Yes. Mostly we review evidence collected by the police. If crimes are committed by the upper classes at country houses, of course, one of us is usually a guest at the time, so that facilitates those investigations.’

Dorothy gestured towards the adjoining room. ‘We undertake denouements in the library. Suspects question why they must dress for dinner and then hold gin and tonics while one of us expounds details of the crime. The guilty are always so impressed, however, by exact analyses of their motives and actions that they immediately confess.’

My visit to Scotland Yard had been a revelation. I had always admired police investigations, and now I knew how they were undertaken.