Murder in the Neighbourhood: A Diane Dimbleby Cozy Mystery (7 page)

BOOK: Murder in the Neighbourhood: A Diane Dimbleby Cozy Mystery
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“Richard, thank you! Truly!”             

Darrell is quite confident he’s found Mrs. Thomas’ accomplice. He jogs towards his parked Range Rover and decides he’s going to call in a few officers to meet him at the B&B where Mrs. Thomas has been staying. First though, he calls Diane.

“Diane, Darrell here. I think I know who the accomplice is. I want you to double check that your doors are locked and don’t open the door to anyone.”

“Thank you Darrell, I will.”

Diane goes downstairs to re-lock the front door and checks to make sure the back door is secured too. She then heads back upstairs to resume looking for a new book to read. While going through the pile of novels on her bedroom floor, she hears a creaking noise downstairs. Must be Rufus, she thinks, until she notices him sound asleep on top of her bed.

She goes back downstairs and looks around the living room but sees nothing out of the ordinary. She looks around the kitchen and does not find anything or anyone strange either. “Perhaps the cottage is catching up with me and my creaky bones,” Diane chuckles to herself.

Climbing the staircase to go back to her bedroom, Diane hears another creak, and it’s louder this time.

Diane quickly turns around. A young man is walking up the stairs and heading straight towards her. Behind him, she can see a strange woman standing at the bottom of the staircase.

“Kill her now Brian!” the woman yells. “She’s helping the police!”

Diane turns and runs up the remaining stairs. At the top of the staircase she meets Rufus, who charges down the steps. Without hesitation, Rufus leaps up and pushes Brian down the staircase. The young man lets out a panicked holler as he tumbles down the stairs.

“Brian!?!” wails Mrs. Thomas, rushing to her son’s side. The young man lying on the floor is out cold. Mrs. Thomas looks at him with pure terror in her eyes. Then she stands up, and with cold eyes, she looks up at Diane at the top of the staircase.

“You hurt my son!” Mrs. Thomas shrieks. She pulls out a knife and starts climbing the steps towards Diane.

Diane feels frozen in time. If she were able to think rationally, she would run into her bedroom, lock the door and call the police. But her brain and her feet simply lock in place.

Suddenly a man bursts through the front door. It’s Mr. Burke, Diane’s neighbour. He’s holding the spare key to Diane’s cottage that she had once given him. “Mrs. Dimbleby, are you all right?” he yells. “I heard the commotion and thought I better not chance it. You might have been in trouble.”

Mr. Burke suddenly sees that she
in trouble – a strange woman with what looks to be a very sharp knife is going after Diane. He lunges forward and grabs Mrs. Thomas from behind. Surprisingly, she is able to resist Mr. Burke’s strength for a time, but he successfully grapples with Mrs. Thomas to take the knife away from her. Meanwhile, Rufus is standing next to Brian, ready should the man regain consciousness. Diane immediately calls Inspector Crothers.

“Darrell, you were right about Mrs. Thomas and her accomplice. Come quickly! They’re both here.”


♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠


By eleven o’clock Monday night, Mrs. Thomas and her son are both in lock-up at the Shrewsbury Police Station. They have been charged with murder. When Darrell had questioned Brian, he confessed quite easily, taking equal responsibility for the murder of his mother’s cousin. The planning had been extensive, he said, starting with him getting hired with Carys. He had never met his mother’s cousin, so it had been easy for him to hide his true identity.

Brian said he wanted to help his mom live her last years worry-free. Since she was sure to be the beneficiary of Carys’ inheritance, being her closest blood relative, his mum could live the rest of her life in comfort if her cousin was, quite frankly, dead.

Before going home for the night, Darrell heads down to the cells. He’s just found out about Carys Jones’ will and, out of pure courtesy of course, he decides to share the news with Mrs. Thomas.

Mother and son are in adjoining cells. Mrs. Thomas is sitting on her bunk cursing under her breath. Brian, holding his aching head in one hand, is stretching his arm through the bars in an attempt to console her.

“Well Mrs. Thomas, I finally found out about your cousin’s will. You were right – she has one.”

“Oh?” says Mrs. Thomas with delusional optimism, not considering the fact that being charged with murder might make any chance of an inheritance impossible.

“She was a generous woman, Carys Jones,” says Darrell. “She’s left everything to the homeless charity in Shrewsbury.”

“What?!?” shrieks Mrs. Thomas. “Surely not the diamond ring though…”

“Oh, you knew about the diamond, did you?” questions Darrell. “In her will, she’s requested that it be auctioned off and that the proceeds be donated to the same charity.”

Darrell walks away wearing a satisfied smile.
Now that’s justice,
he thinks, over the sound of Mrs. Thomas’ bellows.


♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠


The next day, Darrell pays a special visit to Diane to inform her that she has also been included in Carys’ will.

“She’s left Rufus to your care,” the inspector tells her.

“Well, I was hoping I could keep this ‘demanding’ companion,” she laughs. “He keeps me active and on my toes. And besides, now I don’t feel like I’m talking to myself anymore!”

Diane asks if the inspector would like to join them for a walk. Darrell says he would like to, but next time. He hadn’t spent any time with his family over the weekend, so he needs to make up for it starting now!

Rufus and Diane find themselves on that same wooded path through the green.

“That’s a great idea, Rufus. Let’s visit our friend Albert!”

This time, Diane feels no sense of panic. She detaches Rufus from his leash so he can explore all of the natural nooks and crannies off the trail.

Upon arriving at Albert’s, she can see him standing over his desk with none other than Richard Butler beside him. Diane knocks on the door.

“Diane, it’s so good to see you. Come through, and Rufus too. You know Richard…”

“Yes, of course, hello Richard,” Diane says warmly.

“It turns out Richard is interested in history too,” says an excited Albert. “He’s going to help me with my newspaper archives project.”

Albert, Richard, and Diane spend the rest of the afternoon discussing some of the most intriguing newspaper headlines to come out of Shropshire over the last few centuries. As the afternoon transitions into the evening, the three share a small glass of sherry in honour of their friend Carys, knowing all too well that her life was more important than the newspaper headline that described her tragic death.

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