It was now mid-afternoon and men, already finished with their shifts in factories and fields, crowded around the New Inn tables so tight there was barely room to pass through. The landlord was behind the bar and deep in conversation with a red-haired man, who as he saw Jeeves, turned away immediately – melting into the crowd.
The landlord called Jeeves over. “Sergeant! Are you here to ask about Mr Sear?”
“Dreadful thing that’s happened. Poor man. Young Michael came to tell us right away.”
“I’m told there was some sort of incident yesterday in the market place involving Mr Sear, did anyone tell you about that?”
The landlord shifted from one foot to the other, eyes darting around as though checking who might be able to hear. “Just a scrap between friends I think. He was here last night; I can tell you that. I can also tell you I saw inside his purse when he cleared his bill and a fair bit of money he had on him.”
The Sergeant continued to probe, but the landlord told him no more of use. Frustrated, he left the building, only to be stopped at the corner of Ford Street by the lad with the red hair.
“Michael?” The Sergeant guessed. “You’re the porter at the Nursing Home.”
Michael nodded. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of him, nor the doctor, but Bart liked to take the long way home sometimes. By the river.” Michael stepped closer, speaking more quietly as a couple passed nearby. “You put a trap in the right bit of water and the catch you can get… It was just a bit of extra money for him”. Jeeves nodded his understanding and Michael continued “He’d been flashing a bit of cash round in the pub. Folk notice. Likely one of the other drunks robbed him on the way home”.
“Which way did he walk?”