Gone to the dogs
Private investigator Hal Spear almost jumped out of his skin as Bunty the giant Alsatian growled at him menacingly from inside his cage.
“Don’t worry about Bunty,” the dog’s middle-aged owner, Kaye Cotts, said. “His bark’s worse than his bite.”
Somehow, Hal had trouble believing her.
But when Kaye hired Hal to keep an eye on Bunty at the dog show, he was powerless to say no. After all, this was Australia’s most decorated Alsatian. Plus, no-one ever said no to Kaye Cotts, whose win-at-all-cost attitude had helped fill two rooms of her country mansion with first-prize trophies from dog shows all over the country.
“Ready to win again today, Bunty?” Kaye asked in a sickeningly sweet voice that made Hal think she’d dig her long, spiky nails in if he dared slip so far back as second place.
Hal sat in the giant marquee watching over Bunty while Kaye explained she had to pop to her motorhome next door for a shower followed by a facial with her assistant, Rita, before the show started in two hours.
“I insist on the best, you know: a cleanse, exfoliate, steam, face mask, then we tone and moisturise… Rita will have it all set up. I need to look polished,” she said, running a hand over her cropped blonde hair, set in stone with gel.
“Now Hal, whatever you do, you must not, I repeat – MUST NOT – let Marygold Graham anywhere near Bunty. She’s insanely jealous that he always beats her inferior Alsatian, Pokey, and I don’t trust her one iota.”
The tone of her voice made it clear that she’d eat Hal for breakfast if he did.
But after an hour and a half of waiting for Kaye to return, Hal was growing worried. It wasn’t like her to cut it this fine, so he popped into the motorhome to check on her.
“Kaye?” he asked.
He was met with blank expressions from Rita, her brunette assistant, Teddy, Kaye’s pudgy, balding Scottish husband and Marygold, her glamorous younger nemesis, all sitting on the foldout lounge in stunned silence.
“She’s dead,” Rita explained. “I walked in with the gear for her facial and heard the water running, but Kaye wasn’t singing Whitney Houston like she always does, so I decided to check on her. Someone stabbed her in the shower. I’ve just called the police.”
Hal walked through to the bathroom. Looking through the clear glass shower screen he saw Kaye lying on the floor, a neat pool of blood surrounding her gelled hair.
“Good riddance!” Marygold cried, clapping her hands.
Rita looked furious. “Don’t you dare say that about Kaye!” she snapped. “You shouldn’t have been here anyway. Kaye would roll in her grave if she knew you’d entered her home.”
“Plenty of time for that,” Marygold chided. “Shall we pop the champagne, Teddy?”
Teddy blushed awkwardly as Marygold squeezed his shoulder. It was obvious to Hal there was chemistry between the two.
Hal set to work getting them to explain where they’d been. It turned out that Teddy was at a pet store buying Bunty some expensive shampoo. He even had the receipt.
“I was combing Pokey,” Marygold grinned, picking a strand of hair off her black dress. “Then I met Teddy for a little chat.”
Rita motioned to her bag of beauty products and explained she’d just finished stocking up on supplies for Kaye’s treatment.
At that moment the police arrived. Hal jumped to his feet.
He already knew who had killed Kaye and the culprit terrified him more than Bunty.
Who killed Kaye?
- A) Rita
- B) Marygold
- C) Teddy