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The House of Cats

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Simms sat in a cell picking at a loose silver thread, which had been worked into the shape of a rune, on his purple, wizard's robe. Justice was swift in the shires and merciless, Simms hadn’t been given time to change into his normal clothes for the magistrate. In this sleepy, country town, he wouldn't have put it past the local plod to have added extra charges to the already extensive list of crimes relating to thefts from stately homes to liven things up. Not that it would add much more to the lengthy sentence, his inappropriately cheerful lawyer had told him, he would be facing. The only light Simms could see was that the last Witchcraft Act had been repealed in 1951 and thus he wouldn't end up burnt at the stake.

The day had started out promisingly. The morning felt a long time ago now. Simms had packed Mr Adamant's things for a visit to a stately home: Brimsthorpe Manor. When they had arrived there, Mr Adamant was asked – by Lord Brimsthorpe – if he would open the local fête. Mr Adamant was delighted to do so. He was less delighted, the next day, when Miss Jones had unexpectedly turned up, as usual. To distract from this unhappy incident, Simms had suggested he do one of his old routines for the fête. The finale would conclude with Miss Jones being thoroughly custard pied. He'd run some of his tamest jokes past Mr Adamant to tempt him, but he'd looked rather alarmed. Simms put it down to the proximity of Miss Jones in the immediate area. A passing member of staff – an attractive young woman – remarked they were lacking a fortune teller, as their usual one was having an operation to remove an ingrowing toenail. Mr Adamant had expressed disapproval of the black arts until Miss Jones convinced him it was one of those terrible things people did for fun in the 1960s. And Simms' fate at the fête was sealed.

The bolts of the cell door were pulled back and the door opened. “Visitor for you – if you'd like to confess,” said the policeman, stepping aside to let in a nun.

Simms frowned; he wasn’t catholic, though he did have a fair few non-criminal sins to confess. He then frowned some more. “Miss Jones, why on Earth are you dressed as a nun?”

“I didn’t think they’d let me in with a cake if I wore a mini-dress.”

“I don’t see any cake.”

“They’re very suspicious this lot. The officer confiscated it.”

“It was probably for my own safety if you had a hand in it.”

“Chin up – you sound gloomier than a graveyard.”

“Which in bygone times, I would be facing for my crimes.”

Georgie waited for the rest of the limerick. “Isn’t there any more?”

“The prospect of a long spell in the clink isn’t good for the muse.”

“Mr Adamant won’t let that happen,” vowed Georgie.

Simms smiled sadly at her faith in her hero. “The evidence all points to me.”

“But you didn’t do it!”

“Miscarriages of justice aren’t unheard of.”

“Are you sure there weren’t any diamond tipped spoons in your robe when you put it on?”

“No,” said Simms wearily, he’d had enough questions on his movements today.

“Someone must have slipped them in when you weren’t looking. How many people did you tell fortunes for? The police should question them too.”

“Why when none of them have also visited the same estates at the same time as me in the last six months. Logically, it could only be me. Mr Adamant is too upstanding and -”

“And they’d never try to fit me up as I’m too young and innocent,” interrupted Georgie.

“I overheard a copper muttering about a girl too witless to have masterminded multiple thefts.”

“Girls can do anything a man can do, including crime, he’s as bad as Adam.”

“I thought that was a terrible thing to say too. If he had spent five minutes longer in your presence he would have sensed the devil lurking inside.”

“Hey! I’m a nun, you can’t say that about me.”

“I wish you were a nun, then I would be a real warlock and could magic myself out of here,” said Simms.

*****

“Thank you, Harris” said Adam accepting the proffered copy of The Times from his new valet. Adam read the newspaper with great interest, but without failing to note – as he had for the past month – that Harris didn't have Simms' skill at ironing papers. There was nothing he could fault Harris for, yet it wasn't the same. Adam had regarded staff as being interchangeable; he couldn't say that for Simms and Harris. Adam had engaged Harris from an agency and he came with glowing references from the highest echelons of society. Unlike with Simms, with Harris he found his brandy was stronger and his cigars lasted longer, but that was no compensation. Adam sighed, he also missed Simms' terrible rhymes. He didn't know why, as they normally signified that Miss Jones was in the immediate vicinity.

Miss Jones hadn't spent as much time in his flat recently. Between dampening down threats to the nation, making reports in person at the ministry and keeping up his fencing practice – evil never rests and therefore good shouldn't become complacent – he had little leisure time. Despite this lack, in the past, his absence from his rooms hadn't prevented Miss Jones from loitering in his drawing room. It had been several days now since he had come home to find, the previously common sight of, Miss Jones on the hearthrug, reading what passed for suitable reading for ladies in these times. He suspected Harris wasn't her valet of choice either. He missed her, but that was because he wanted to be sure she hadn't wandered off the path of becoming a lady any more than she already had, of course.

Thinking of the devil worked as just as well as speaking and the doors to the drawing room flew open. Georgie came in unannounced from the lift. She was carrying a copy of a tabloid newspaper. On seeing her, Adam waved his hand at Harris to dismiss him. Harris retreated gratefully to the kitchen to polish some shoes.

“Miss Jones, to what do I owe the unexpected pleasure of this visit?”

Georgie waved the paper at him. It had a lurid headline promising an expose of an MP's private life.

“Crime,” she said, breathlessly.

“Crime is a common topic in the newspapers.”

Georgie plonked herself down on the sofa. “I’ve been scanning the news for ages looking for thefts similar to the ones that Simms got sent down for. He couldn’t have stolen all that gear. The rotter that did it is sure to get greedy and carry on nabbing stuff after things have cooled off.”

“If I have summarised correctly what you have said, I have also been reading the newspapers for the same information.”

“You have? You'll have read about Lord Aspen’s golden dandelion and the Henchforth's diamond thistle swipe.”

“I have.”

“Brilliant! With your knowledge of all the toffs do you have any ideas of who could be next?”

“I may,” said Adam, who gave a small smile in reaction to Georgie’s excitement.

“Zow-ee. Simms might act stoic and pretend it’s not that bad, but prison is a pretty demoralising place to be even when a person deserves to be there. I couldn’t kid myself I was a gangster's moll to take my mind off it: it was too sad.”

“Miss Jones, do I take it you have visited Simms in jail?” Adam was aghast.

“'Course. What kind of person would desert their friend when they’re down on their luck, for five and a half years for good behaviour?”

“Prison is no place for a member of the gentle sex, even as a visitor. You should have stayed away and sent encouraging missives to raise Simms’ spirits.”

“The only uplifting letter I can think of is a pardon.”

“Quite, which is why I have instructed Harris to pack my bag for a trip to Lady Morgan’s Welsh abode. Comparing the pattern of the original thefts with the latest ones, I have deduced she is most certain to be the next victim. And if you are contemplating making your own way to Morgan Hall I strongly advise against it.”

“Hmpf.”

“I fear this once I will require your presence.”

“Yippee!” said Georgie. After she had calmed down, she added, “Harris isn’t really up to it, is he?”

“I must confess he does not deliver the same service as Simms,” said Adam, in an undertone, in case Harris could hear in the next room.

“That’ll be because Simms has played a Victorian butler in some creaky murder mystery. A real valet today wouldn’t have any experience of your old-fashioned ideas about how servants are supposed to behave.”

“I had not thought of it like that, but that is not the reason I have invited you to meet Lady Morgan. Firstly, we are dealing with a thief, not a killer and, secondly, turning up unannounced at Morgan Hall would be an imposition. Lady Morgan used to run a ladies finishing school and if I inform her I have a girl with me in dire need of schooling I’m sure her welcome will be most fulsome.

*****

Georgie stared at a huge oil painting hung over the open fireplace at Morgan Hall. The portrait was of a florid man, with a handlebar moustache, who had a lion in a headlock. In front of the hearth was a lion-skin rug. Georgie fancied that the beast’s head wasn't twisted to one side by poor stuffing.

“Do you like the painting, my dear?” enquired Lady Morgan. She was a generously proportioned, middle-aged woman.

“It’s … very interesting,” said Georgie.

“That chap up there is my dear, departed husband, Hubert. He loved cats as nearly as much as me.”

“I can see.”

“You aren't what I expected from Mr Adamant's description. He made you sound quite the wildcat – I was halfway to getting Hubert's old blunderbuss out in case you became too unruly.”

“Mr Adamant is alarmed by any woman who doesn’t fall into a faint at least three times a day.”

“My father was of that opinion too, until I ran off to join Hubert in deepest Africa. Come with me into the dining room and meet my one of my younger relatives, Ursula Featherstonhaugh. She's an orphan and is staying with us for a while. It'll be nice for her to have some company of her own age.”

Georgie followed Lady Morgan down several corridors before entering a large, airy room, with a high ceiling. Sat on a sofa, with carved arms, was a young woman the same age as Georgie. The woman’s auburn hair was scraped severely back into a bun. She wore heavy rimmed glasses and her face had a freshly scrubbed look. Her clothes didn't do anything for her: clumpy, flat shoes and a high necked brown dress. Georgie hoped she wouldn't have to wear such dowdy gear to be a ‘lady’.

“Oh hello, Ursula, here’s Georgina: the gel I was telling you about. Perhaps you would like to teach her deportment,” said Lady Morgan, briskly.

“Call me Georgie,” added Georgie and went up to Ursula smiling.

Ursula slowly turned her head towards Georgie, as if she was taking time to process this information. “That would be nice. I don’t spend much time going out. It’s frightfully costly being young when you are the poor relation.” Her clothes might have been tired and homespun, but her accent conveyed privilege and money.

“Good, good, I’ll leave you two gels to it,” said Lady Morgan, cheerfully.

Georgie sensed Lady Morgan had definitely retired from finishing young women. She wondered if Lady Morgan was leaving them to find out if Adam would wrestle her a lioness to match the one in front of the fireplace.

*****

Adam walked down a gallery with a spry, elderly man. The man had a white, military moustache, kindly eyes, a calm manner and a row of medals to show for serving in two world wars.

“And here is Unctuous Muffin Teasel III,” said the man and pointed at a cold painted, bronze statue of a seal-point Siamese cat.

“An elegant specimen of the breed, Major Baurel,” said Adam, politely.

“That’s exactly what the judge who awarded him his seventeenth gold medal said,” said Baurel in delight.

“Your partnership with Lady Morgan in the realm of cat breeding has been highly successful.” Adam looked back down the gallery at the numerous trophies, rosettes, statues and paintings of past champions he had passed on the Major’s tour.

“That’s my Annie, ahem, Lady Morgan. She’s always been good with the beasts. I've known her since she was a nipper. And here's the life time achievement award for consistently high standards in breeding.” Baurel picked up a silver cup with a cat perched on the edge, as if it was going to flick a fish out of the bowl of the cup at any moment.

“A most skilful piece of casting, a credit to the silversmith,” said Adam and this time he meant it. “May I hold it?”

“Why of course, old chap.” The Major handed over the trophy.

Adam looked over the trophy and weighed it up.

*****

Later that day, in the dining room, Adam was standing with Ursula next to the sideboard. He was helping to fix the lens in her glasses that had fallen out. She was flustered by the attention and kept her eyes fixed on a spot on the floor, avoiding Adam’s typically intense gaze. Once her spectacles were mended, he guided her to her chair and pulled it out for her.

“Thank you, Mr Adamant, you’re such a gentleman,” said Ursula.

“It is no trouble, Miss Featherstonhaugh.”

“I wish all the men I met were as kind as you.”

“You and I belong to a different era of manners. Will you be able to dine now?”

“Oh yes, I am very short sighted. I really can’t see beyond the end of my nose without my glasses.”

Satisfied, Adam went to his chair, next to Georgie, at the dining table, and looked adoringly at Ursula. Irritated, Georgie slurped her soup. Adam looked at her and winced. Lady Morgan and the Major paid no attention and carried on talking noisily about feline matters. Despite Adam’s attitude to Ursula, Georgie felt sorry for her. No wonder she couldn't do anything for herself when her mind was swamped with kitty breeding gossip. Georgie resolved to do some of her own “finishing” on Ursula. What use was the ability to balance books on your head, in the real world? Of course, it could all be a front, women Adam thought were sweetness and light usually were anything but.

Georgie leaned towards Adam and spoke softly. “I hate to say it, but there’s only one candidate for cat burglar.”

“Miss Jones?” Adam mumbled back.

“Ursula. Being the poor relation must stink.”

“I hardly think so.” The corners of Adam’s mouth turned down repressively.

Georgie didn’t reply in case Ursula heard from the other side of the long table.

*****

Georgie jumped out on Adam as he made his way to bed.

“Miss Jones!” said Adam.

“Come on!” Georgie attempted to drag him down the corridor. Adam stood firm.

“You’ll have to come to my bedroom with me or the other way round,” said Georgie.

“Do I indeed?”

“Yes. How else will we be able to talk alone.”

“Very well.”

“Er, right,” said Georgie, in surprise. She had expected a lecture on “reputations” at least. She let go of Adam's arm and indicated for him to follow her. When she went into her bedroom, Adam kept to the doorway.

Georgie turned around and scowled at his amused expression. “I invite you in.”

“I am perfectly fine where I am.”

“Others could hear with the door open.”

“Rest assured I would sense any eavesdropper.”

“OK. Anyway, Ursula, I mean she’s too meek and mild to be true, isn’t she?”

“Because a young lady does not conduct herself in a manner that suggests she has spent her life running wild does not mean she is secretly a criminal. I concede that one as delicately natured as her could be in danger of falling under a villain’s spell.”

“Aha! You agree, she’s shifty.”

“I do not agree in the slightest. I said could be in danger. I am convinced her sensibilities would prevent her from falling for a varlet who raises women’s passions to an exploitable level.”

“Just because she dresses like the winner of Miss Frumpy 1967 doesn’t mean she’s not interested in getting off with anyone.”

Adam didn’t look impressed.

“I know your lot were repressed and covered piano legs, but it’s the 1960s. Hang ups are best left, well, hung up.”

“I see trying to teach you to be a lady has made you worse, but I have another suspect.”

“Who? Major Baurel is so obsessed with cats I can’t imagine him nicking anything. His sports car is very flash though.”

“No, not the Major, but the butler.”

“Harris?”

“I was not referring to my man, but Hall, Lady Morgan’s man.”

“I don't remember him. Perhaps that's how he's been getting away with it – he is forgettable,” mused Georgie.

“I am glad you have put away the foolish notion of Miss Featherstonhaugh being a thief.”

“They could be in league together,” said Georgie, more to herself than Adam.

“Hardly. Another thing I found disconcerting was Hall’s resemblance to Harris.”

“Evil twins! Harris got the gig to keep tabs on you in case you tried to find out who framed Simms, while Hall carried on thieving,” said Georgie, warming to the theory.

“Harris has shown no indication of being black-hearted, but if he was he could not prevent me from discovering the truth.”

“Especially after you run him through.”

“I am alarmed by your bloodthirstiness, Miss Jones.”

“You’re the one that sticks it to them.”

“I have found out that Harris and Hall came from the same agency. I believe they have set standards of dress and looks.”

“Sounds like a factory production line. Automatic butlers are installed in the homes of the great and good across the land waiting for the button to be pushed and take over the country. That’d be a great case to investigate, but it’ll have to wait until we clear Simms' name.”

“Indeed. But automaton or not, I shall be keeping an eye on Hall’s movements. I hope you will be able to sleep soundly tonight, Miss Jones.”

“'Night, Mr Adamant.”

Adam swirled out along the corridor.

*****

The next morning, Georgie went down to breakfast in the same room they had dinner in. The meal was a simple one. The staff had left on the sideboard toast, jam, marmalade, butter, milk and a box of cornflakes. Georgie helped herself to some cereal and some tea from an urn. Adam had already started on his breakfast and was seated at the table. No-one else was in the room, which could have been because the pair of them had risen comparatively late.

Georgie sat down next to Adam. “’Morning,” she said and yawned.

“Good morning, Miss Jones. Didn’t you have a peaceful sleep last night?”

“No, I was up and about investigating.”

“I trust you weren’t attempting to catch the thief. Although I do not believe they are of a murderous persuasion you should keep away from members of the criminal fraternity.”

“I wasn’t looking for burglars. I was casing the joint.”

Adam was baffled.

“I was taking a closer look at Lady M’s things to guess what might be stolen next,” explained Georgie.

“There was no need to deprive yourself of your sleep. I have a clear idea of which object d’art would appeal most to a felon.”

“You were snooping too!”

“I do not snoop.”

“You don’t know what it means.”

Adam pursed his lips. “When the Major was showing me Lady Morgan’s cat memorabilia, I noticed a striking cat trophy made of silver - one person could easily carry it off. The scrap value alone makes it valuable. You may recall from the court case, our thief never stole more than one item and below a certain weight. They also targeted objects found in areas open to the public. They also had a taste for the unusual, which the trophy certainly is. The jury failed to take this into account, when Simms’ lawyer argued a set of spoons, with diamond tipped ends, was most ordinary when compared with the other missing items.”

“If you’re right, we’ll need to set a trap.”

“I have considered this. A party will be visiting Morgan Manor today, with the staff distracted in the building, it will provide an ideal situation in which to strike.”

“What shall we do about it?”

“Do? We do nothing. If the item has disappeared by the time the visitors leave and they are empty handed we shall know one of the members of the current household is guilty.”

The door of the dining room opened and Hall came in, followed by Harris. They both looked surprised to see Adam and Georgie still eating, but said nothing. Georgie turned to look over her shoulder as Harris helped Hall to clear away the breakfast things.

“Well, I thought it was Ursula,” mumbled Georgie and knotted her brows at the two servants uncanny similarity. “Are you two related?”

“Not at all, miss,” replied Harris.

*****

Georgie sat curled up in a window seat quietly reading a copy of the NME, she had brought with her. She had tagged along with the visitors as Lady Morgan took them on a guided tour. Georgie found it boring and decided to check if the cat trophy had been stolen. Disappointingly, neither trophy or anything else had been taken. With nothing else to do, Georgie sat in the gallery to keep a watch on who passed through.

While she was wondering whether to find a pen to fill in the voting slip for the NME awards, Hall and Harris entered. Georgie held her breath and shrank back behind the curtain and hoped she wouldn't be seen. She was now convinced they were the thieves. The men had changed from their suits into black boiler suits. Harris carried a torch and Hall felt carefully around a fireplace. There was a soft click and a secret door opened in the wall. Hall grinned in triumph at Harris and they went into the secret passage. The door closed behind them. Georgie dropped her paper and stood up. She momentarily dithered over whether to find Adam, until she remembered she had no idea where he was in the building. Copying Harris, she felt around the fireplace. She eventually found the secret switch that opened the door. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the passage and the door automatically shut, leaving her in a world of darkness.

*****

How long had she been creeping her way down this passage? Georgie wasn't sure. She was beginning to regret following Harris and Hall. She couldn't see anything and was reduced to hoping she could find her way out of the corridor and not end up like a cobwebby skeleton in a horror film. There was a good one at the cinema ages ago, Adam had refused to go and Simms had commented like attracts like as she was a horror. Later, Simms unsurprisingly confessed he had a taste for Grand Guignol. She hoped Simms wasn't spending a lot of time in a dark cell.

A bright strip of light, from a doorway, illuminated the passage. Georgie froze. To her surprise the light didn't reveal the two butlers, but a young woman and a man dressed like a gardener. The door slid shut. The woman turned a torch on and moved away from Georgie. Her heart thudding in her chest, Georgie trailed them. The corridor ended and they reached a set of stairs and descended. On reaching the bottom, Harris and Hall appeared out of the gloom and pounced on the two strangers. A fight broke out and the woman dropped her torch, Georgie picked it up. The gardener spotted her, his fist connected with her jaw and it all went black.

*****

In a recess of the secret passage, Georgie was bound hand and foot with bailing twine, as were Harris and Hall. They were propped up, unconscious, next to her. Coming round, she became aware of a scraping noise. Her eyes adjusted to the light cast by the torch held by the young woman, allowing her to see what was making the noise. Next to the crouching woman, the gardener had a trowel and was taking the excess off a line of freshly laid bricks.

“Hey, what do you think you are doing? Let us go!” demanded Georgie. Being bricked up in a wall really was the stuff of horror films.

“'fraid not,” drawled the woman with a pronounced Liverpudlian accent. “You’re the pal of that fella who got sent down for nicking stuff from stately homes, aren’t you?”

“He didn’t take anything – he’s innocent! It’s you isn’t it?”

“Yes, I’m the guilty party. It’s your own fault; you and your mates kept turning up at the same places as me. What was I to do? I knew the cops were desperate to catch the culprit so I set your mate up. I could believe how easy it was to get him to read the tealeaves, easier still to slip the teaspoons in his pocket and tip off the local plod.”

“You won’t get away with this.”

Ursula was amused. “Why do you think I’m walling you up? I can’t have you telling the rest of the world, not when there’s a villa in the south of France with my name on it, once I’ve fenced what I’ve stolen.”

“I’ll be missed. And these two.”

The woman shrugged. “It’s the summer of love. I’ll tell Mr Adamant I saw the three of you running off hand in hand.”

“What makes you think he’ll believe you.”

The woman smirked. “They won't take my word, but they will Ursula's.” As she spoke her accent changed to the well-bred, genteel tones of Ursula.

Georgie stared at her wide-eyed in disbelief and Ursula laughed at her reaction. Ursula's hair was no longer scraped back, it fell to her shoulders and the clothes that Adam approved of had been exchanged for a mini-skirt and a blouse, with buttons that strained at the bust.

“People are easily fooled,” said Ursula and stood up. The height of the brick wall was rising above her eye-line.

“I, however, madam, am not. You might have got away with your devilish plot if I had not noticed a set of muddy footprints leading to a wall and disappearing,” said Adam’s voice out of the darkness.

“Eric, you fool! It wouldn’t have taken you two seconds to wipe your feet when you came inside,” snapped Ursula.

Ursula swung her torch beam at Adam and Eric attacked him with his trowel. Adam was ready for Eric and ran him through with his sword. Ursula gasped in horror and made to run off. Adam seized her firmly by the arm.

“I cannot permit you to flee, madam. While you may be an innocent who has been hoodwinked into aiding and abetting this man, you must face the scales of justice,” said Adam.

“Innocent?” said Eric, blood foaming at his lips. “She is no innocent. All her idea. Met some poor relative of a duchess working in a chip shop. Been impersonating posh birds ever since. If you look and sound right they think you are. Idiots.” And with that he breathed his last.

*****

Adam, Georgie, Harris and Hall were in the kitchen of Morgan Hall. It was a much more welcoming and comfortable space than the grand dining room. There was an assortment of easy chairs with squashy cushions arranged around the huge open fireplace. When there were no guests Lady Morgan preferred to use the kitchen, according to cook. The four of them clutched mugs of hot, sweet, milky tea: the answer to all problems. Adam was standing, while the others reclined in comfy chairs.

“I believe I was correct in assuming your familial relationship,” said Adam.

“Yes, sir,” said Harris. “Mr Hall is a cousin on my mother’s side.”

“Are you all butlers in your family?” asked Georgie.

“No, miss,” replied Hall. “Harris is in service and I’m in the security business. Lady Morgan was worried her trophies could be the target of envious cat breeders seeking to upset her and her cats before the next big show. I was employed to go undercover as a member of staff to avoid drawing attention to myself. Discretion in security is my watchword.”

Adam didn’t point out it was, in fact, three words.

“Do you employ women? I’ve had experience in going undercover.”

“We do,” said Hall.

“Ooh!” began Georgie.

“Miss Jones, this is not a suitable job for a girl and, furthermore, I’m sure Mr Hall has all the employees he requires.”

“How do you know? Or are you saying that because you’re going to let me help you out officially from now on?”

“This case was a quite different matter to my normal investigations. I thought I was dealing with a mere thief or thieves, who judging by their previous crimes were not prone to violence. I was wrong and I am truly contrite in allowing you to come into contact with danger.”

“It worked out all right in the end.”

Adam sighed and mulled over getting some new locks for his flat.

*****

“Simms!” shouted Georgie and ran to him as he came through the gate of Blattermoor Prison. Overcome with joy she hugged and kissed him.

“Really, miss, are you trying to make me to confess to something to escape back into jail,” said Simms.

“It is heartening to see an innocent man freed and the guilty receive their just desserts,” said Adan and shook hands with him, once Georgie had unpeeled herself from Simms.

“Indeed,” said Simms, recovering from Georgie's reaction.

“Where would you like to go and celebrate being a free man?” asked Georgie. She went up to the mini and opened one of the doors.

“I’d like to go straight home to Mr Adamant’s.”

A cloud passed over Georgie’s sunny face. She would have gone to the nearest nightclub to show life that she was back. “You didn’t get duffed up inside did you?” said Georgie, anxious.

“Duff me up? Not when I elaborated my alleged misdeeds with case details taken from murders displayed in the horror museum. I nearly blew my cover story when the old lags agreed I had the face for murder and mayhem.” Simms sounded offended.

“At least, with your tough reputation, you’ll keep ex-cons from turning up at the flat asking for a favour,” said Georgie.

“Incidentally, if Mr Adamant does get into difficulties, I do have some numbers I can call.” Simms patted his pockets.

“They won’t be necessary,” chimed Adam and Georgie together.

“Mr Adamant has me to help him,” said Georgie.

“Miss Jones, -” began Adam.

“All right, me and Simms, if you want to be picky,” interrupted Georgie.

 

THE END