It was a strangely warm mid morning in December. Nicholas and Danny were on the job, monitoring a herd of anoraks for trouble.
The revitalization of Sandford included a Gore Tour, which Nicholas found unseemly but not illegal. Still, he refused to let his office be the last stop on the tour, nor did he sign autographs for tourists, even when they traveled all the way from the States, and he secretly felt like the tours were Trouble.
Danny felt the same way (though with quite a bit more regret when it came to the Americans). He handled the tourists kindly but he didn't like to act like a celebrity for arresting his own dad. So they both sat in the police car, hidden behind sunglasses, watching the tour group circle the fountain. Peggy Aaronson pointed out the bullet pockmarks still visible in the fountain and church face from the great shootout.
Nicholas and Danny were working on a case from the next town over. Their police department had come to Sandford for help. Danny peered down at his sketch of the crime scene. "So, the case of real silver was here...and the wine rack with all the expensive plonk was here...and the fancy picture was here...and the thief had to walk past all of that to steal the photograph album," Danny said.
"Exactly," Nicholas said.
"Can blind men be burgulars?"
"Yes, though not often. I think the burglar must have wanted the album specifically. If we can work out what was special about it, then we'll have the solution. Unless," Nicholas said conscientiously, "the SOCO turns up something with the fingerprints first. Which is rather more likely."
The tour turned back their way. Nicholas started the patrol car and turned into Short Street. "One of those tourists had a massive rucksack," Danny said, looking back at them. "What do you need with a bag that big?"
"Hm," Nicholas said. He circled around and back to the square. "I don't know."
He cruised past the tour at walking speed. He and Danny scrutinized the tourists, who responded with delight and flashbulbs. Ouch. Nicholas squinted and turned his eyes back to the road.
"There's a hoodie and umbrella sticking out the top. Reckon he overpacked for the day, like my Aunt Dorothy," Danny said. Nicholas nodded in agreement. "But wouldn't it be funny if he was the burgular?"
"Unlikely, I think. He would have to have known the album was in the house, and he's a tourist, not from around here," Nicholas said.
"Huh," Danny said. "I think that bloke is from around here. He looks like a Farmer, one of those who are cousins with the Sawyers and married young Lydia Handcock and had that baby with the chin, he looks like he might be their youngest Gary. Then he's my uncle-in-law's cousin's son, if he is."
"Interesting. I'll go around again."
He did. The man in question looked slightly nervous. He was a big fellow, like Danny, looked like early twenties, and looked sweaty and red in the face. "That is, that's Gary Farmer. And you know what else? That woman who was burglared, she's his grandpa's sister's daughter-in-law," Danny said. "I just thought of that."
The tour filed into the Swan, then, to see the room Nicholas had stayed in when he first came to Sandford. It was dead embarrassing. Nicholas parked. "I think we'd better follow them inside."
They both flipped open their sunglasses and donned them. They entered the Swan and immediately took them off again. Nicholas heard the tour upstairs. Danny told Mrs. Khan, at the desk, "Nothing to worry about. We're just conducting some investigations." Mrs. Khan nodded knowingly. She was the new owner of the Swan, and the tours were partially her fault, but Nicholas didn't hold it against her. She was a businesswoman taking the opportunities that presented themselves.
The tour returned downstairs. Nicholas and Danny hid behind a large banana plant. "I don't see Gary," Danny whispered.
"He's still up there," Nicholas said. He released the leaves of the potted plant carefully so they didn't rustle.
They crept upstairs in sync so that they sounded like only one person, which was a rather clever trick Danny had showed Nicholas. All they had to do was rest their hands on each other's back so their muscles moved in time.
That pose also meant that when Gary Farmer tried to run past them, down the stairs, they could catch him between them. "Oi! What's all this, then?" Danny asked sternly.
Farmer fainted. The photo album and the room sign from the Swan fell out of his backpack. After that, there was just a considerable amount of paperwork.
"I didn't even know there was a serial killer black market," Danny said as he changed into his street clothes. "Who would want a picture of my dad?" That was the prize, they found out. Old family photos of the infamous Frank Butterman.
Nicholas touched his shoulder. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah. Well, no. Same as always when I think about Dad."
Nicholas pulled him into a massive hug. Danny sighed and leaned against him. "You were brilliant today," Nicholas said.
"Tops. You worked out the entire crime while sitting in the police car."
"Gosh." Nicholas could feel Danny smile.
"You even did a clever line," Nicholas said.
"I always wanted to say 'what's all this then.' That was pretty good, wasn't it?"
"Absolutely tops. I'm proud to be your partner." Nicholas thumped his shoulder in emphasis.
Danny leaned back, grinning. "Pub?"
"I thought we might go see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. My treat, for your work today."
"You like them more than me even! You're so jealous of Jude Law's mustache! You should grow one," Danny said, an old argument.
"Certainly not." He didn't want to look like an Andy.
"Go on! Just once, so we can take a picture..."
"Never," Nicholas said, slinging his arm comfortably over Danny's shoulders."I'll draw one on you some night with a marker pen."
"You wouldn't dare."
"I bloody would!"
They both grinned and donned their sunglasses as they walked outside.