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The Museum Mystery: Nineteen

Superintendent Donaldson panics when confronted by a senior Egyptian policeman.

John Waddington-Feather continues his murder mystery story.

Donaldson had handed over Colonel Waheeb to his duty clerk downstairs. When Mordecai Waheeb turned up, he assumed the superintendent knew all about him and began to explain about his undercover agent being murdered in Keighworth Museum. Then he started talking about some terrorist sect which still worshipped Egyptian gods; and by the time he told Donaldson there was a splinter group of this sect on his patch, the superintendent had had enough. He panicked completely, handed Waheeb over to his clerk, who was good at small-talk, and waited on the boil for Hartley and Khan to put in an appearance.

“They’re never ever here when I need them most!” he wailed at Sgt Kemsworth, who’d popped in to see his boss about the new drugs unit.

Kemsworth smiled sympathetically. “That’s what comes of being stuck in a rut, sir. I don’t want to seem disloyal, but they do tend to do things their own way. Dissemination of information isn’t one of their strong points, sir.”

“Dissemination of information” was another of Donaldson’s pet phrases he’d picked up on the psychology of narcotics course. He had scores of them. And Sgt Kemsworth memorised them all and played them back.

“I really don’t know what strong points either of them do have,” said Donaldson. “But it can’t last for ever.”

“No, sir,” agreed Kemsworth. “Promotion is bound to come.”

“Exactly,” said the Super. He fiddled a bit with the file on his desk before putting it away. It was the file on Manasas. He’d read through it carefully but there was no mention of anyone coming from Cairo. Not a hint. No fax that Waheeb had spoken of. Nothing.

He made small-talk with the sergeant while he waited for the other two to turn up. “You going to the lodge meeting on Thursday?” he asked Kemsworth, who was a freemason. In fact, it had been Donaldson who’d got him in.

“Yes, sir,” he replied.

“Good. The Chief Constable is coming. He phoned me yesterday but keep it under your hat, Kemsworth. He might have something to tell us. I was discussing your future with him the last time we met. He’s keen to expand his drug squad in Leeds and I mentioned how experienced you were.”

“Thank you, sir,” fawned Kemsworth.

“You’ve no idea where Hartley and Khan are, have you?” asked Donaldson. “They told the duty sergeant they wouldn’t be long.”

“I did hear they were visiting The Sqeaking Rat as part of the Manasas investigation, sir,” said Kemsworth.

“I should hope so, Kemsworth,” growled the Super. “Though Hartley is always one to mix business with pleasure once he’s inside a pub.”

He glanced at the clock on the wall and his phone rang. The two detectives were back. He barked down the phone telling them to come up at once. Kemsworth took his leave and smiled slyly as he passed them in the corridor. Hartley asked him why Donaldson was in such a foul mood, but the other only shrugged his shoulders and walked on still smiling.


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