Tim was wandering around, looking into corners. He rattled a door handle, and the door opened.
“Where does this go, Ged?”
“Back door. Opens into the lane at the side.”
“Is it usually unlocked?”
“No, but that’s where I brought the karaoke gear in earlier. I didn’t bother to lock it. I’ll be using it to take the stuff out again later.”
Tim was nodding as he opened the door wider and looked out. The lane outside ran from the back, past an archway into the beer garden, and all the way through to the main street.
“So,” he said, ducking back in again, “it’s feasible that someone could have come in this door, pulled the plug right here, and left again, and it would only have taken seconds.”
“And whoever it was could have disappeared to anywhere in the village,” Ged said, nodding in agreement. “You mentioned ‘incidents’,” he said, turning to Cally. “What did you mean?”
Against the rise and fall of the general pub noise in the background, she quickly described the other mysteries, beginning with Sheila and her bell-ringing cronies being locked in the tower.
“Oh, yes, I heard something about that,” Ged said. “What else?”
Even Cally hadn’t realised quite how many of these little niggles there had been until she listed them for Ged’s benefit.
Ged listened, looking at Sheila with sympathy as she seemed to be implicated in each successive description.
When Cally finished, he thought for a moment, and then his face brightened.
“I’ve got it,” he said, holding up one finger. “It’s you,” he said, pointing at Tim. “It’s obvious. This all started when you came to the village.”
Tim held out his hands for imaginary handcuffs.
“You got me. It’s a fair cop, guv – it was me what done it all.”
Cally rolled her eyes.
“Except that it all started with the letter of complaint about Tim’s kennels,” she said. “In fact, he thought that was me. And it was Tim who rescued Sheila from the bell tower.”
“Ah.” Ged looked disappointed. “That blows my theory out of the water, then. No hard feelings, mate,” he added to Tim, who looked unconcerned.
“So, does anyone have any serious ideas?” Cally asked.
There were blank faces all round.
“No leads apart from your dressing-gown man,” Sheila said, and they all got a fit of the giggles at the ridiculousness of it.
Ged stooped to coil up the cable and plug and tuck it safely away.
“There’s no point in trying to get this going again,” he said. “Who could possibly follow you in any case, Sheila? You were a triumph this evening.” He turned to scan the crowd. “I’d better get back to work and start serving.”
The press around the bar was increasing by the minute, his barmaid doing her best to keep everyone happy with banter while they waited.
“I can give you a hand, if you want,” Tim offered.
Ged took another look at the clamour of customers waiting for attention.
“You’re on. Cheers, Tim.”
Tim leaned in close to Cally.
“Don’t mind, do you?”
“Of course not. I’ll find Craig and Imogen. Join us when you’re done.”
In fact, she found that Imogen and Craig had disappeared. They had gone home since the event was effectively over, Cally guessed, but she sat with Sheila until Tim rejoined them 20 minutes later.
“Cally mentioned going out for a meal with you and your husband. Simon, isn’t it? That would be good. Let’s get something arranged. Maybe for next week?”
He gave Cally a wink, and she felt the worries she’d had about him melting away. He was trying so hard.