Sheriff Alleyn had been asked many a time what someone like him was doing in a place like this (or words to that effect), but he felt it was irrelevant to the fact that he was doing his job. After all, for a small town, it did seem to attract an unaccountable number of improbable crimes and someone had to deal with them…
She came in every other Wednesday, mostly to share a coffee with her friend, sometimes to sketch. She was an artist. Sometimes she still had charcoal smudges on her cheek. He had noticed – but how to approach her was the question. It was, he decided, all terribly awkward. One couldn’t – one simply couldn’t – resort to the old cliché of spilling her drink.
The problem was solved in the most unwelcome way possible, however, on the day one of the customers fell to the floor on drinking their coffee – poisoned!
“Well,” said Fox, mopping his brow midway through his explanation of how his name was, in fact, literal, “it’s inconvenient at times, but on the other hand it can be invaluable for picking up odd bits of information.” He paused. “I’d have thought you’d have been a bit more surprised, sir.”
Alleyn gave a small smile and raised an eyebrow. “Well, it does explain a great deal. Besides, you’re not the only one. There are more of us about than you might think.”
Captain Alleyn of His Majesty’s Navy turned as his First Mate, Fox, came hurrying up to him.
“Pirates,” he said, slightly out of breath, “no doubt about it now, I’m afraid, sir.”
Alleyn nodded. “I see. Then ready the men – they will find they have made a mistake in tangling with us.”
. . . In SPACE!!
Detective Inspector Alleyn of the Intergalactic Police Force entered the cabin of the luxury space liner only to find that the murderer had claimed another victim. And how was the question, when the door had been locked and there was no sign of an obvious murder weapon in the room? And yet people did not stab themselves in the back by means unknown when committing suicide, not even if one switched off the artificial gravity. Alleyn sighed slightly. He had hoped for a quiet cruise this time around, but it was not to be.
Born Another Gender
Rose Alleyn had been expected to finish her debutante season with a suitable marriage if possible, not shock the world by unnecessarily joining the Women’s Police Force. And what for, one wondered: it wasn’t even proper police work…
“I had you pegged for head boy for sure,” said Fox.
Rory looked at him and grinned, as he shook his head. “No, not me. Never quite the thing, old boy. Staff Prefect is more than enough for me.”
“Preparation for the diplomatic service, maybe?”
“Sit down and tell me again,” said Inspector Alleyn. “As the corpse has unfortunately vanished, I trust your artist’s eye for detail will be of use. The victim had been bitten, you say?”
Troy nodded. “Badly. I – I think more like that of a vampire than a wolf or changeling. Neater.” She was shaken. She had heard people talk about these sorts of creatures, of course, but it was another matter to encounter one – and so violently. She hoped this Inspector knew his lore, although she disliked the inevitable end result – hunting down and killing anything so nearly-human, even if it had drained all the blood out of her artist’s model.
Alleyn had not expected his work for the Foreign Office to lead him into such complications: the network of French spies seemed to come uncomfortably close to the charming Miss Troy…