Sunday, 22 July 2018

A new Case. Chapter 19

And now, it's Story time!


This adventure is suitable for ages 12+ and for younger readers with adult guidance/permission.






Chapter 19


   Despite the name of the store, King Herod’s was not owned by a king, or even a prince, just a plain old simple mister. Mr Herod was his name, however, and he had inherited the store upon the death of his uncle almost one year ago. Alas, his mind was not used to the concept or methods of running a store this size or of Herod’s importance. Mr Herod’s small-greengrocer work ethic and principles, where cost and value for his frugal customers were paramount and profits were low, seemed so at odds with King Herod’s policy of high quality at a high price and a lot of profit. And try as he might, he was struggling with the seemingly decadent spending of the well-to-do, who had nannies and big houses in the city as well as in the countryside.

   And why should he change? he asked himself. After all, his needs and those of the nation as a whole, for the greater part at least, were in reality few, and money was scarce. He was comfortable with what he had. In fact, he still had his small greengrocer’s shop on the outskirts of the city. His wife ran the shop now, and each evening they would travel their different paths home to the two-bed semi-detached house they had bought when they married. It was a very comfortable house, well kept, in a smart, but not too smart, area of Dulwich, a village in the outskirts of London which was popular with the aspiring, but not too aspiring, middle classes. It was just right in every way, and Mrs Herod made sure it was.

   But Mr Herod tried hard to move with the times and keep his fingers on the pulse of public whim—hence the Companion Department. It seemed that everybody across the land had companions of some description, be they spiders, snakes, cats, dogs, or horses. And whether people were rich or poor, these companions were a constant in their lives and gave them focus and support and friendship.

   He himself had a companion, a white cat called Harvey, who gave him great comfort during the long evenings spent doing the accounts for the store. Harvey and his wife had both pointed out to him how his customers bought the best they could for their companions, as in fact he did for Harvey. To Harvey and Mrs Herod, it was clear that what Herod’s lacked was a department specifically for companions. Somewhere he could showcase the best that there was for every kind of companion, from a spider to a horse. And when the companions came, they had reasoned, so would their humans, or their nannies, and they would spend more in the store.

   And it was the ‘more’ that the books said needed to be spent, as they seemed barely able to show a profit these days.

   “If this doesn’t work,” Mr Herod said to his wife as he ate his supper the evening before the visit, “then we may have to sell up. I have put as much as I can into this, but between stock losses, wages, and the country’s economic woes, things just don’t seem to add up.”

   Mrs Herod circled a small advert in the ‘Detective Services Offered’ section of the Court Fashion magazine she’d been reading whilst knitting cardigans, scarfs, and mittens for cats and kittens in need. She then placed the magazine and her knitting down on a side table and peered attentively at her husband over the top of her glasses.

   She was a lady much like Mrs Hudson, just more petite. She had a kindly oval face and a winning smile that had raised much money from reluctant donors for the charities she supported. She had also, though she seldom used it, a growl and a frown that could stop a charging bull elephant in its tracks . . . and had! That, however, was a side of her past that she never discussed with her husband. Instead she supported his endeavours by being there for him and guiding his often-rash ideas with positive little suggestions or changes that brought out the best from them. She herself took great pleasure from running their corner store and had never once thought of helping run King Herod’s. That was for her husband to do, and she would in her own way help him develop his skills.

   It was she who had suggested that he should carry a spare invitation to the royal opening in his pocket. As she had said, “There will always be someone you will bump into who should have been invited but was forgotten. Or someone you see, and know in your heart should be invited.”

   And so it had turned out, as he had come home and explained about the rudeness of Mr Askew and how the invitation had been the best thing to give the rather stern nanny with the little princess.

   Mrs Herod’s interest had been piqued by the description of the lady, and that evening she gently teased more details from her husband. When he finally recalled the lady’s name, a Ms Hudson, she inwardly smiled and then praised his truly generous attitude and swift thinking.

   She had for many weeks now been studying the accounts of Herod’s and had noted the stock losses. Also, she’d noted the time of delivery and the manner in which the goods were found to have disappeared. As a result, her suspicions as to the culprit were all but confirmed, but she couldn’t voice as much without hard evidence or revealing that she had been keeping an eye on matters too.

   Mr Herod had kept all the staff who had worked for his uncle, and in truth he knew very few of them by name or nature. Instead he relied upon the evidence of his own eyes to tell him all he thought he needed to know. Alas, it was this lack of knowledge that someone was taking advantage of, and to the detriment of the store as a whole.

   So, despite her husband’s feeling that the store was doomed to fail and would close, Mrs Herod was determined that it should remain and be a success. Now if she could uncover the culprit, then the store would show a profit and save itself and Mr Herod from failure.

   To that end she decided it was time for covert action and to call in the help of an expert. Tomorrow, she hoped, should see a change in Herod’s good fortunes, with royal favour and patronage. The last thing she needed was for things to go wrong for her husband and the store. Starting things off with a clean sweep was what was needed, and she knew just the person.

   Later that evening, whilst her husband was taking a bath, she went to her writing bureau and retrieved her address book. Having checked the address, she telephoned the telegram office. After giving the message to the operator and then confirming when it was read back to her, she replaced the receiver. Sitting down, she returned to her knitting, one of a set of three kitten-size hooded jumpers for a local shelter at Battersea. She wasn’t one to trust to luck, but she said a prayer and hoped that it and the telegram would be delivered in time.


To be continued.........

(Chapter 20 can be read HERE.)



Will Mr Herod really sell up shop? Who is Mrs Herod contacting?  Will she finish knitting the scarfs before bedtime and more importantly..... does she take orders for balaclavas? The answers to this and maybe much more, might be forthcoming next week, tune in then to continue this ripping yarn (no pun intended! MOL)

And here is this weeks selfie from me.....







This weeks selfie is all about.......... A book at bedtime.

If you wondering, the book was none other than 'Cat's Paw' a cosy mystery by Mollie Hunt, a fellow blogger, CWA member – and a jolly good writer, too. Why not give it a go sometime.....



40 comments:

  1. Hi Erin! Your selfie looks like you are staying cool while staying beautiful!
    Hope your Sunday is an easy one.
    XOXO

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    1. Thank you, I was, and no better way than a good book on a fresh duvet after a nap... followed by another nap, MOL
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  2. Nothing better than having a book to relax with. I have been on holiday so have the 2 previous weeks to catch up with before I read this week's episode.

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    1. Oooh, then you have a nice treat in store (pardon the pun, MOL) I hope you had a great holiday, and enjoy the chapters that await
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  3. You sure look comfy cozy cool sweet Erin. I wonder if Mr. Herod will keep his cool?

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    1. Thanks Brian, my new duvet cover is quite cool as well as comfortable too, just right for selfies and the odd easy here and there. Me too, King Herods is a great place to be, well certainly better outside the ducts, MOL
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  4. Erin, I love a good snoozy selfie myself. You look lovely as always!

    We are enjoying this story very much and can't wait to read about who's stealing from Herod's and how Mrs. Herod will save the day.

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    1. Thank you, Mrs H says I take great snoozy selfies MOL
      Thanks, I am really pleased folks are so enjoying the adventure.... Hmm, well I am wondering who it may be too. I bet Mrs Herod will get to the bottom of it, one way or another :)
      Toodlepips and purrs
      ERin

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  5. Is Mrs. Herrod gonna hire Erin? That would be.... ABSOLUTELY BLOOMIN' PURRFECT, for sure!!! purrs

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    1. It would, that would be so cool. As I'm already on the job, do you think I should or could charge Mrs Herod from when I left home?
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  6. Nice snoozy selfie!

    The Florida Furkids

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    1. Thank you, a good book a comfy bed and a warm heart is all I ask.... well after 5 square meals a day and running mice, MOL
      Toodlepips and purrs
      ERin

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  7. Aww... you are a vision when awake and while sleeping, my lil' Tuxie dove. I dream of cozying up to you at your cushion and purring sweet nothings into your ear.

    That Miss Mollie sure is a very kind lady and her stories are enjoyable! I have Cat Call and Copy Cats on my bookshelf. I haven't yet read Cat's Paw. I think Miss Mollie has a book also coming out later this year maybe. Maybe our humans will get to see her next year at a CWA conference.

    Paw Kisses from your Prince - Valentino (Noir Kitty Mews)

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    1. Valentine, my love, you say the best of things to this black and white tux princess. We do love you so and long for you sweet whispers and the floof beside ours, and to share adventures. It would be great to get to see all the CWA folk, especially as we will I hope have our own book in the global market
      Pawkisses and cheek rubs from afar, my Prince, from your devoted Princess.
      ERin XOX

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  8. Did that book put you to sleep, Erin? We bet you'll have some good dreams.

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    1. Oh gosh no, anything but but I did want to pace myself on the reading to make it last fora few bedtimes :)
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  9. Replies
    1. Thank you, maybe they will, soon. Watch this space for more updates!
      Toodlepips and purrs
      ERin

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  10. Erin, we love your selfie with a book. :)

    Who did Mrs. Herod call? We sure hope the expert can get things on the right track for Herod's!

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    1. I wonder too, it would have been good to have been hired myself but I'm already here. Maybe it's the secret service, or a PI?
      Toodlepips and purrs
      ERin

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  11. I thought the store was Harrods? This one must be different. Great selfie, you are so pretty. XO

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    1. Hi, oh no this is King Herods store, some ways away from Harrods, and I'm sure Mrs Herod would say a bit better, MOL
      Thank you, Mrs H loves helping with the selfies, and spends as much time looking as taking them...
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  12. You must have been exhausted after reading, Erin, but your Selfie turned out purriceless after all :D We agree with Mudpie, your stories deserve a place in a book(reader) Pawkisses for a wonderful week ahead :) <3

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    1. We are working on the book as we speak, or write, so do watch this space! Yes this reading is hard work but easier now I can just swipe the screen to left and right. In fact I can now do it in my sleep So can catch up on my naps a the same time too
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  13. Lovely selfie, Erin. Hope you're keeping cool!

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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    1. Hi, thank you, I quite like posing for th3 selfies. Mrs H says it’s good to be seen reading as shows I’m an educated cat, and way better than being seen with a mouse! Mol
      My keeping cool is so hard as it is baking everywhere these days. Night is the best time to be cool and I make sure I enjoy being out...
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  14. ERin....they canna sellz de store til they make double tripull tripull extree double sure all de wee onez iz safe.....and 18 centz anda sak oh friez say missturr nastee iz helpin his sel ta sum goodz....ewe noe; itz two bad ewe N esme iz knot wearin tho collarz with tinee cameraz coz then ya could haz proof ~~~~ bye de way yur selfeez bee ewe tee uz ~~ ☺☺♥♥♥

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    1. Now cameras sound just the thing, and Anders would be caught bang to rights. Maybe, if and when we get out of this we could make a movie too, with the footage? Thanks guys, we likes doing selfies, especially when I get to nap and read..... and nap again just to make sure the shot was right, MOL
      Toodlepips and purrs
      ERin

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  15. I have caught up! Maybe Mrs.Herod was contacting Mrs.H. Can you imagine what a formidable team that would be, Mrs.H and Mrs.H!

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    1. Oooh, now theres a thought?! Who knows what those two could get up to.... maybe they have already?
      Toodle pips and contemplative purrs
      ERin

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  16. Hmmmmm Does Mrs. Herod know you and Mrs. H? Maybe Esme, her kittens and their human will get a nice place to live outta all this. And more food fur them all to eat. We can’t wait fur the rest of the story. And that’s a great selfie Erin. As always, you look so gawjus. big hugs
    Luv ya’
    Dezi and Raena

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    1. I don't know, but Mrs H and Mrs H both do seem alike, don't they? Still, I have to get the kittens out first then maybe my Mrs H can sort out Jennifers and Esme's predicament?
      Thanks, you two are gorgeous too
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  17. Erin! This is the 2nd time I have (or am trying to) comment! My last comments have gone AWOL both this week and ...not sure if it was the tablet..
    I just have to tell you how spectacular your selfie is!!!
    Your admire-er
    Marvelous

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    1. Hi Marv! It made it to me this time though not before. Must be pesky squirrels chewing the lines, MOL
      Thank you, I was quite pleased Mrs H got this one, though not sure what she has planned for this week, nothing compromising I hope, as I have been napping a lot... caused by the heat not by being lazy, MOL
      Purrs
      ERin

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  18. The plot thickens. Also, I'm curious about Molly's book.

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    1. It does indeed, and Anders sure doesn't get any wiser, MOL. Now Mollies book is very good, and the series is going from strength to strength. Worth a read if a cosy mystery is up your street.
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  19. I love this story sooo much! And I love Mrs. Herod for knitting kitten jumpers. How sweet! If yoo see Mrs. Herod, tell her I'm a size XS by the way. And I love the color purrrple.

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    1. Hi everyone! It gets better too, with more action, more fun and, yes more Anders! I shall pass on your request to Mrs Herod and see if she can fit you in, between scarfs, as you are only an XS.
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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  20. I love the Herods! What unique and interesting characters! Maybe they should have their own side story?!?

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    1. Yes, they are a well matched couple, maybe Mrs H is somewhat the more practical too, though she would never actually say as much to Mr H. Well, I dare say there could be a spin off or two from this adventure, we shall just have to wait and see ;)
      Toodle pips and purrs
      ERin

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