Monday, August 24, 2009

A Tolka Murder Mystery

Chapter 9 – McBiscuit enlists some help

“What evidence do we have that Sporting Fingal is the murderer?” said D.I. McBiscuit, lighting his sixth cigarette of the morning and placing it in his mouth, alongside the other five.
The constable took out his notebook from his breast pocket and began to read. “Eyebrows too close together, he looks like a murderer and we don’t have anybody else, sir” he said.
In reply, McBiscuit kicked his cardboard suitcase across the room until it fell apart.
“Hardly the strongest case we’ve ever had,” he mused. “Constable, get me Lionel Edmund Mentary on the phone.”
“I don’t understand, sir.”
“L.E. Mentary, my dear constable. Ireland’s most famous private eye and a pretty well-known public one too. He has the brain the size of a planet and a backside of similar proportions.” He glanced over at his suitcase, half-hidden in the shadows. “Maybe he can throw some new light on this case.”

“That’s not quite what I meant,” said McBiscuit, as Lionel Mentary trained a spotlight on the suitcase. The great detective was something of an enigma, tall but short of stature, dark skinned and pale, anorexicallly overweight.
“Have you taken his fingerprints?” he asked in a voice that was both loud and soft.
“Yes but we had to give them back,” replied McBiscuit moodily. “The European Court of Human Rights ruled that he was entitled to them.
“I see,” said Mentary. He sat back and closed his eyes and pressed his fingers together. Then he closed his fingers and pressed his eyes together. Eventually he spoke. “Three murders, you say, and yet you do not have a single clue. Does that not strike you as odd?”
“We do have a clue,” said Mentary, producing a plastic bag from his inside pocket.
“Good Lord, what is it?”
“It’s a plastic bag,” replied McBiscuit impatiently. “However, look what’s inside it.”
“Mon Dieu, is that..?”
“Correct. It’s a blade of grass. We found it on the Tolka Park pitch shortly after the third murder.”
“And its significance?”
“Not sure yet. But as clues go, I think it’s a pretty good one.”
“Very well!” cried the great detective. “I think we must go down and view the crime of the scene!”
“The, erm, scene of the crime?”
“Yes, that too!” He slapped McBiscuit gently on the ear. He looked at the big rip in the side of McBiscuit’s suitcase. “Do not worry, my friend,” he said cajolingly. “Lionel Mentary will have this case sewn up before you can translate the books of the Old Testament into Cornish.”

At Tolka Park, Mentary did some more pressing and closing, while McBiscuit got cracking on Genesis. Eventually the two met up outside the tunnel.
“The pitch is in great shape,” said Mentary. “Rectangle. I like that. Tell me, has anyone disturbed the crime scene area since the last murder.”
“Only the players, I think. And the groundsman, the physio, the manager, the backroom staff, the players of Millwall, Leeds, Sporting Fingal and Finn Harps, referees and assistant referees. Other than that, no-one.”
“Excellent,” replied Mentary. “And you say the first victim was found beneath the roller over there. The second victim was found hanging from the goalpost over there. And the third was found beneath the corner flag over there.”
“You have it,” said McBiscuit. “Is that important?”
“But of course, my friend. Do you not see? The three bodies form a triangle.”
McBiscuit slapped his forehead. Then he slapped Mentary’s forehead. “Of course!” he said. “Why did I not see that?” And he leapt high in the air and jumped down on top of himself.
“You should not come down so hard on yourself, my friend,” said Mentary. “It is not for nothing that I am known as the Greatest Detective in Ireland. Now, you say the first murder took place in March, the second in May and the third in July?”
“Yes,” said McBiscuit excitedly.
“Then I think you should have the bodies removed,” said Mentary, sniffing the air like a bloodhound. “They are starting to smell a bit. Besides, I hear the body dangling from the crossbar stopped a Bisto lob against Finn Harps. That could prove vital at the end of the season.”
“And the murderer? Who do you think it is?”
In reply, the great detective removed the sheaf of papers from McBiscuit’s hand and leafed through them. “Not so fast, my good friend,” he said eventually. “Firstly, you have only got as far as Deuteronomy. And secondly, I think you may have made an error with the past participle of the verb ‘to catch someone offside.’”