They Found Him Dead

by Georgette Heyer

Cover Picture Finding his footsteps dogged by Mr Harte, the Sergeant suggested that he would be better employed in the pursuit of his usual avocations. Timothy said simply: "I'd rather watch you, thanks."

"Oh!" said the Sergeant. "You would, would you? You take care I don't have you up for obstructing me in the execution of my duty."

This piece of facetiousness did not please. Timothy said somewhat severly: "You must think I'm a pretty good ass to swallow that. Besides, I'm not obstructing. I bet I can help you a lot more than you know."

"Well, what I don't know I shan't grieve over, see?"

"All right!" said Timothy with an air of veiled menace, and left him.

Twenty minutes later the Sergeant, pursuing investigations in the shrubbery, discovered that Mr Harte was once more with him.

"Say, Sarge," quoth Mr Harte cheerfully, "if you're looking for the gat I reckon you've got another guess coming to you."

The Sergeant looked at him with assumed ferocity. "Scram!" he said.

"Nix doing," replied Mr Harte. "Whose garden is this, anyway?"

"Well, if it's yours, it's the first I've heard of it," said the Sergeant, allowing himself to be led into argument.

"It isn't. As a matter of fact, it belongs to my brother now, so it's all the same. Besides, he told me to come out here."

"Told you to come out and pester me?" demanded the Sergeant, revising his first favourable impressions of Mr James Kane's character.

"No, of course not!" said Mr Harte impatiently. "He said I was to clear out into the garden, and I have."

"I don't blame him," said the Sergeant.

"Well, can't I help?" said Timothy, suddenly adopting an ingratiating tone. "Honestly, I won't bother you; but I do most frightfully want to see how a real detective works!"

Sergeant Hemingway met the appeal in the worshipful blue eyes upturned to his, and felt himself weakening. He explained afterwards to his superior that he had always been a softy with kids. "I don't mind you trotting round after me so long as you don't get in my way," he conceded. "But mind, now, if I tell you to scram, you scram double-quick!"

"All right, it's a deal," said Timothy, promptly abandoning his wistful expression.

"And you're not to talk me silly!" added Hemingway.

"No, rather not. I say, do you wear a badge, like American policemen?"

"No," replied the Sergeant.

"Oh! Rather rotten. It's great when the detective suddenly turns up the lapel of his coat, and there's his badge. What do you do?"

"Hand in my card. Know what I think would be a good idea?"

Timothy eyed him rather suspiciously. "No!"

"If you'd give over wasting my time with asking me silly questions."

"Well, I wanted to know. Besides, you're wasting your time, anyway. I told you the gat wasn't here, only you wouldn't listen. I looked for it myself, ages ago, because I thought probably the murderer would be pretty likely to hide it amongst the bushes. Well, he didn't, and I don't think it's in the bushes on the other side of the drive either. I haven't actually combed them, but I've got a theory about it. I'll tell you what it is, if you like."

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