Robbie Lewis gave Jean Innocent a questioning look, but she merely glared back at him. He could sense James Hathaway, who was standing on the other side of him, trying very hard not to smile as well.
Innocent turned to the two of them, and said, “You will assure the Chancellor we will look into the outrage and do everything we can to catch the culprits. You will, under no circumstances, laugh or imply the Chancellor is one sandwich short of a picnic.”
James sniggered and rather unsuccessfully turned it into a cough.
“Nor, DS Hathaway,” Innocent continued, “will you make any suggestion that someone might be caught red-handed. And do not try the ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth look, ma’am’ with me, because I will not believe it.” She turned on her heel. “Right, I leave you to deal with it.”
Robbie looked at James. “I can accept someone having a large chess set for playing games outside. We saw one when we visited Burton Agnes Hall. And I suppose the college might allow for part of the quadrangle lawn to be used as such. But those, those are garden gnomes.”
“Yes,” James replied, for a moment he seemed lost for words. “And I’ve seen some really beautiful individual chess sets, like the set at Burton Agnes, where the pawns were all choirboys. But Star Wars stormtroopers for white, and Darth Vaders for black? That takes some beating.”
“And now some of the students have decided to enrol them into Gay Pride and painted them accordingly. I’m not sure how successful we’ll be in discovering which particular students were involved; especially as most of them have left for the vacation.”
“Innocent only said we should do everything we could to catch them. There’s not much we can do, so that will have to be sufficient.”
“I don’t know why she couldn’t have told the Chancellor that herself.”
“Didn’t think she could keep a straight face, I imagine.”