Working Techniques of the Amateur Detective

Photo by Evan p. Cordes
Photo by Evan p. Cordes

30th November 2001

Back of a mobile phone found in the gutter on Crossleigh Street. Mugging gone wrong? Half mile radius searched for any further items, handbag, purse, searched bushes in Crompton park, nothing found. Serious damage identified to some of the lower branches in brambles, vandals no doubt. Will be making regular trips to hedges to monitor situation.

3rd December 2001

Spoke to Lizzy Cooper. Reports of a single foot print in the snow in the middle of her lawn. Lizzy is confused and frankly, so am I. Had lengthy discussion about possible solutions, Lizzy suggested a one legged Tigger type of garden hopper, conversation lasted three cups of tea, became fatigued, went home, tried to explain to Mother, she was busy pulling hairs from the bath, not much time for me.

NB—One large ginger hair found in Bath. No ginger haired people known to use that Bath. Investigation to follow.

4th December 2001

Busy day today. A new Missing Dog poster in 34 locations. Dog is a Mastiff, much loved family pet. Spent the first five hours door knocking asking to check garages and Sheds, was chased by Neil Grampton’s son, fell on a Rabbit Hutch in the Garden of 32 Trinade Street, Rabbit escaped, lost two hours chasing it. Rabbit found. Day light Lost.

5th December 2001

Auntie May called me to look at a single black glove she found underneath her living room window, she’s quite shaken. The glove appears to belong to a male, medium size hand, palm worn out. I went to Tesco to pick her up some Calms. Removed the glove, placed it in a sandwich bag and stored it in my filing cabinet underneath ‘Single Black Glove Found Underneath Aunty May’s Window’.[private]

6th December 2001

Received reply from Met Police, my recent records of local incidents accepted and acknowledged but with a letter suggesting I consider leaving the police work to the police. Its certainly not for the gratitude that I do what I do.

7th December 2001

Continued my search for missing Mastiff. Decided to look in the Park. I insisted on checking the collars of all dogs in there causing tension between me and the dog walkers, one pointed out that if I am looking for a Mastiff then I had no business checking the collar of a Poodle. The simple mind of the public never ceases to amuse me, she completely failed to recognise that the culprit could have stole the dog, and swapped collars with another dog to avoid capture. She called me a wanker and told me to get a job. I explained that my job is investigating the crimes that the police won’t touch, I told her I earn my Job Seekers Allowance serving the public. She told me that the police don’t touch them for a reason. It got quite heated.

8th December 2001

Aunty May called, told me to get round to hers at once and hung up the phone. It’s a rare thing for me to use my bike, I don’t feel the roads are safe and whenever I cycle on the pavement people shout at me, but, she seemed startled. I got there and she showed me a cubic space where her wheelie bin should have been, it would appear someone stole it. I don’t jump to conclusions but the glove and the bin could be connected. I took some measurements of the space where the bin was, I am not sure why, it just seemed like the thing to do. Went to Tesco to get another bottle of Calms. I do worry about her, 40 tablets in two days.

10th December 2001

Got home today and found a ginger hair in the Utterly Butterly. Showed Utterly Butterly to Mother. She was busy with rollers in hair but did tell me that perhaps someone in the Utterly Butterly factory had ginger hair. A reasonable explanation. Case closed.

11th December 2001

On the Northern Line going to sign on or ‘pick up my wage’ as I call it. Saw an abandoned Greg’s bag. Noticed there was empty bottle of Oasis inside that seemed off colour. I didn’t like the way there was a dusting of pastry on the upholstery, it all seemed a little staged to me. The announcement always says—if you see something suspicious report it—but when you’re 100 feet underground without signal on the phone who do you report it to? Plus, I was in the carriage on my own, I couldn’t even ask for a second opinion. I moved to the exit and pulled the red lever, the train ground to a halt and then the driver spoke through a little speaker—Can the person who pulled the handle please speak?—I told him we have an unattended package that is probably a bomb. He told me to stand by. Within seconds the doors popped open and an announcement to evacuate and head south, everyone was panicking a bit. On the way down we met what looked like a bomb squad, I told them it was in the third carriage from the end, a man with a plastic face guard on told me to speak

to the station supervisor on the platform. It was carnage in Old Street. Thousands of people piling up the escalator, bomb people jumping onto the tracks, someone had a panic attack which nearly set me off and it’s been 18 days since I’ve had one of those. A TFL worker took me to a safe spot down City Road and fifteen minutes later we got the all clear. They then took me to an office and asked me if this whole thing had been a joke, I couldn’t believe it, no I said. They dropped a half eaten Greg’s Sausage roll on the desk in front of me and said how could I possibly think that a bomb? I said I don’t know. They told me that half the London Transport network has been disrupted, that about one million people will be running late for work, that all trains will be running late all day meaning that potentially millions and millions of people will be late and my little stunt had likely cost the economy tens of thousands of pounds. I went dizzy. They rang my mum and my key Worker turned up. Anyway, better to be safe than sorry. Fools.

13th December 2001

Spent the day looking into the missing wheelie bin and drinking Tea with Aunty May. There’s a man that lives round the corner that lost his arm in an incident with a cement mixer. He’s been having loads of Kids lately. The council charge £35 an extra wheelie bin which is exactly what he’s going to need for all them nappies. His wife goes to pick up her kids from the school at 3 PM. I placed myself in the bushes in a garden of an empty house opposite the school, glove in hand. She turned up and I sprang out, ran over to her and said, scuse me, scuse me, I found your husband’s glove. Oh, she said, Oh, thanks for that. I dashed back to Aunty Mays, case solved and handed over the police.

14th December 2001

Jane Morgan told me that her Shed had been broken into. Early investigations show that a Lawn Mower, tool box (empty) Screw Driver Set and Step Ladder have been taken. I went home to pick up my dusting set to take finger prints. Details recorded and posted in Note Book ‘Garden Shed Break-ins May to December 2001’.

16th December 2001

Heavy knit sock found in washing machine. Wet Canvas/Hemp trousers drying over banister. Smell of Peculiar Oil heavy in the air. Initially suspected that someone was using our house whilst we were out like in Goldie locks. Mother settled the matter, she’d been doing some washing for a friend. Note to self, Mother has been exceptionally chirpy lately, singing that blasted song Stars over and over and over. Sock incident closed, a watchful eye to be kept on Mother.

17th December 2001

Saw the one armed man, he said—Oi, lad, the glove, was that some kind of sick joke was it?—I told him—Oi, thief, don’t play that card with me, I know what you did, there’s bags of rubbish piling up in my Aunties stairwell while your living the life of Riley with all the refuse space a man could dream of. He stared at me and slowly shook his head, told me I needed help, I said, I don’t need help, you do. That silenced him a bit and I went on my way, safe in the knowledge that

I had served not only my community but Aunty May too.

19th December 2001

I miss dad a bit.

20th December 2001

A day in the office (bedroom) decided to send the police my book of finger prints with details of all missing items from sheds.

24th December 2001

Didn’t leave the house during the day. Not feeling too good. Missing Dad still. In the evening Mother came and asked me what crimes I’m busy working on. It was very unusual of her and instantly my detective instincts were on hyper alert. I told her about the Mastiff. She said that when she was younger she lost a dog and found it in the Park. She said that missing dogs go to the park at night because all dogs like parks but are scared to go during the day because of all the other dogs. She said I should get up and go and look. I told her the park isn’t safe at night. She asked me what kind of detective is scared of the night time? I told her no detective is scared of the night. She passed me my scarf.

I got to the park and found Samuel Webster, the park keeper, by the gates cleaning up vomit. He started shouting at me, calling me a bloody pervert and I’ve got to stay out of the hedges, apparently its me breaking the branches. I told him it wasn’t me, he told me it bloody was me, he’s seen me, going in the bushes three, four times a week, I said—me? I said that the bushes in a park are a crime hot spot and need to be checked regularly and if he did his bloody job properly I wouldn’t have to do it for him. He asked me what am I doing in the park at night, he called me a pervert again and told me to get out, go home. He seemed really angry but I tried to walk past him anyway. He hit me in the shin with his broom. I turned around to go home to write a report. When I got home I dashed into the living room where I left my note book only to find my mum in there with Mick Hucknall on top of her! I was nearly sick. I have never seen anything like it. I went to bed.

25th December 2001

I left the house before mum and Mick woke up. I saw a woman walking a Mastiff like the one on the poster, I ran to her and told her I needed to check the collar. Anyway, it turns out she was the one that put the posters up and she found the dog the next day. I told her she should have took the posters down and I tried to explain that her actions had resulted in me getting hit in the shin and discovering my Mother and Mick Hucknall in the act. She didn’t understand, she just said thank you for my efforts and offered me a cigarette. I told her I didn’t smoke. She was pretty. If I wasn’t married to my work I might have asked her on a date. She asked me if I would be a ‘love’ and take the posters down. I said yes, took me three hours to locate all 36, it was raining.

26th December 2001

Turns out it wasn’t Mick Hucknell. It was Gary Michaels. The man that owns the hippy shop of Normington High Street. Mum says we’ll be seeing more of him. There’s heavy knit socks dripping wet and all over the banister.

30th December 2001

The police got in touch.

“Dear Lucas,

Thank you for your book of prints and detailed list of items stolen. We always recommend that the public ring the non emergency number for shed and garage break-ins and in all but one of the cases that you sent us the individuals had rang the police and we already had the prints and lists of stolen items on our database. However one person did not and the prints from that break in were of particular interest and, although we can’t give too many details due to Data Protection Laws, I can inform you that your work has lead to a very satisfactory conclusion and there is now one less Shed and Garage burglar on the streets. Keep up the good work.

P.C Whitaker.”

1st January 2002

I felt good today.[/private]

Thomas Binns

About Thomas Binns

Thomas Binns grew up in the hills of Yorkshire. He is 27 years old. After dropping out of an English Literature course he moved to London where he holds down a job and writes fiction, poetry and songs. As a musician and gigging under the name of Whiskey Joe he preforms throughout London and the Uk.

Thomas Binns grew up in the hills of Yorkshire. He is 27 years old. After dropping out of an English Literature course he moved to London where he holds down a job and writes fiction, poetry and songs. As a musician and gigging under the name of Whiskey Joe he preforms throughout London and the Uk.


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