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The Cartoonists ..In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . .Number 9


Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

FEBRUARY 13, 2014

The Sussex Beekeeper
An Inspector Blancmange Mystery

The fog of London can be as depressing as watching a street urchin being devoured by stray dogs, but this day was especially trying. Blancmange hadn't had a case in over a fortnight, and the ennui was beginning to take its toll.

"Do you remember that case in Leatherhead?" Blancmange said as he snorted a line of cocaine. Marijuana was usually his drug of choice, but in times of extreme boredom he often turned to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, Bolivian hallucinogenic toads or peyote to calm his fevered mind.

"Ah, yes. The Case of the Strangled Butty Gang. A dozen Irish laborers strangled in one night!"

"Yes. Too bad they were Irish, or someone would have paid me to solve it. But that's not why I mention it."

"So why then?" I asked.

Because I read of a similar mass slaying, the entire starting side of the Faversham Albinos football team!"

"Yes, the All Whites! They won the Spennymoor Cup against Deeping!"

"Yes. And as you'll recall, Sir Hugo Waxing-Gibbous is the MP for that area. He owes us a service since the Case of the Oxford Osier-peeler."

"I dare say that being hanged for that would have ended his political career!"

"Quite." He took a sheet of foolscap and a pen and wrote a note. "This should get us entry to the Faversham club management!"

Two days later a missive arrived on the letterhead of the Faversham Football Club bidding us to come at once. We lost no time taking the train from Paddington, arriving in Faversham by afternoon. We took a cab to Crawcrook Park, the home of the team. In short order we were greeted by Lord Whyteleafe, the team owner and Regis Bognor, the manager.

"Thank you for coming, gentlemen! This was indeed a strange and heinous crime!" said Lord Whyteleafe.

"A real poser!" added Bognor, not very helpfully.

"Indeed it is!" said Blancmange. "Pray, what was the cause of death?"

Well it's odd, but every one of the starting eleven save the keeper, Bevis Hornchurch, suffered from an allergy to bee stings! The ten poor lads all died when bees were released into the dressing room!"

"And Hornchurch? How did he die?"

"He was found in the lavatory with a honeycomb lodged in his throat!"

"Hmmm... a pattern is emerging! As I understand it, you have a key match coming up, do you not?"

"Why, yes, Inspector. A championship match against Broadstreet!"

"The Bullies?" I said, "Why, they're known as the worst scoundrels in sport. They'd stop at nothing to win, but I doubt that even that group of bludgers would stoop to that level of depravity!"

"One never knows when money is on the line!" said Blancmange. "We must go to Broadstreet!"

With that we took our leave of Whyteleafe and Bognor and took the night train to Broadstreet, a dismal hamlet in the less respectable part of Sussex.

"What a ghastly place!" I said the next morning over Scotch woodcock and kippers in the dining car. "No wonder their team is such a collection of hooligans!"

After breakfast we took a cab to Broadstreet Park. We were met there by Basil Eccleshill, the team manager.

"I assure you, Inspector! My organization had nothing to do with the unfortunate deaths in Faversham!"

"But everything to gain! With a hastily assembled team they'd be no match for you!"

"It would be a tainted win. I would suggest a deranged supporter."

"That doesn't narrow it down much!" I said.

"Calm yourself, my dear Broadbeam!" said Blancmange. "Tell me, Mr. Eccleshill, what percentage of your fans keep bees?

"Quite a few. It's the second leading industry around these parts, after hog reeving."

"I see. Come along, Broadbeam! We have a train to catch!"

We left the stadium and hailed a cab to the train station. Once there, Blancmange took up a position near the ticket windows.

"What are we looking for, Blancmange? Shouldn't we be tracking down beekeepers?"

"Something tells me our man will soon appear of his own accord!"

"By Jove! How will we know him?"

"I placed a story in the local paper by wire from the train claiming that the entire Chorlton team had been transferred to Faversham and that all were suffering from an allergy to bees. No doubt our killer will return to continue his fiendish work!"

Just then a furtive man with a buzzing carpetbag and wearing the black and orange scarf of Broadstreet approached and bought a ticket on the express to Faversham. Blancmange leapt from the shadows and grabbed the bag.

"Just as I suspected! A jar of bees! Take him away, constable!"

"Lucky I was standing right here!" said the bewildered policeman, who led the man away.

"I say, Blancmange! You've sent another one to the gallows!"

And with that we retired for lunch before our train.




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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Embrace the Pun.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics .. ..Books for Sale . Online Store..
The Cartoonists ..In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . .Number 9