"What the devil are you blathering on about?" I blurted out, "My apologies miss for such strong language" I directed my apology at the lady, as I had forgotten her presence in a moment of heat at this bumbling buffoon.
"It was merely an observation of what i thought happened that night," replied Homer.
Then Jones added "Yes but if you remember Miss Scarlett was with Ms Craddock in the latter's room, Mr Smith was killed by possibly strangulation and most definitely the fall down the stairs, not by a Dagger that is merely the lady's last name. You were right about the hall but i think that we can put that down to luck more than deductive reasoning."
We then proceeded to bid goodnight to our host and proceeded to our rooms provided for us.
The next morning i woke later than normal, prepared myself for the day and hurried down to breakfast, I found Jones already up and waiting for me, "Ah, Doctor would you like a piece of ham or I can get the maid to prepare some eggs?"
"Just the ham, please, you're up bright and early what have you been up to then? Its not like you to rise this early unless you're on the hunt and where is our friend the 'detective' Homer."
"Nothing gets passed you Sexy, indeed I'm on the trail I have already spoken to the reverend and Mrs. White this morning, the reverend told me his story and i fully believe his innocence while Mrs. White has some suspicion but after we talk to the Captain it should all be clear. As to our dear 'detective' he said he had a hunch and would follow it up and rushed out, i believe that he is now sat in that bush outside the window talking to a squirrel." Jones said holding back a slight smile.
We ate our breakfast and then went to Captain Mustard's room on the second floor, the captain was in waiting for us, he was impeccably dressed in his full military suit, with his clean shaven face and short cut hair, his face was stern but he greeted us with a smile that didn't quite suit the moment. "Greetings gentlemen, i understand you wish to question me about the events of the other night, well i shall be quick as I'm leaving this afternoon and need to be packing."
"Then i suggest you be clear and precise in your explanation of the other night" Jones said.
"Very well, i am a friend of Dulcie through her father i was invited to her late party by him in hopes we would hit it off, i fear that it will not progress much further after these events, i arrived here the day before the party and it was just me and Dulcie in the house with the servants jack and Mrs White. I spent that night in Dulcie's company before retiring early, the others arrived the next day. I had before the day of the party never met any of the other guests, and was introduced to all of them including Mr Smith, we played croquet on the lawn where me and the reverend lost only a small amount to him, i hold nothing against him you can check my accounts i have little need for the amount lost, the party followed and after that we played a game of whist, and then retired to bed. I fell asleep soon and being a heavy sleeper heard nothing and only woke at Dulcie's scream, arriving at the scene after that, this gentlemen is my story i hope i could be of help, now if you'll excuse m...."
"One thing," Jones interrupted, "May i ask what happened to your right epaulet?"
It was then that i noticed that despite his clean cut appearance upon his right shoulder the epaulet was missing and a few stray threads were left.
"Oh that, it must have come off during the week, it was loose before i arrived, i shall get it replaced when i return home." replied the captain.
"Very well, thank you for your time, if you could spare a little more and meet in the parlour in half an hour with the rest of the guests i would very much appreciate it." Jones added.
"I shall give you that time and no more Mr Jones, good day to you and to you Doctor Sexy." and with that we were dismissed.
Outside the room Jones turned to me "I have got what i need now, the web closes and we shall hopefully solve this soon enough. Until we meet in the parlour I will excuse myself doctor."
In the parlour we had all gathered: Me, Ms Craddock, Miss Scarlett, the Captain and reverend, Mrs White and even 'detective' Homer who was holding a collection of nuts and was whispering to his cuff link. Jones entered through the door and took his place beside the fire place, followed by two of the local constables.
"Mr Homer, i will let you give your explanation first as i believe if you have come to the same conclusion as me then it will be a miracle, and if it is different then it might give us a chuckle in this dark time."
"Thank you Mr Jones," said Homer, "after interviewing the only witness, Ducky the squirrel i have found that Wilbur Smith IV was killed by non other than time itself!" and with that he pounced upon the mantle clock and proceeded to wrestle with it until he was finally pinned by it and ended up curled in a ball in the corner.
Jones started speaking again, "With that out of the way, it is time to put forward the facts i have gathered and point the finger at the culprit, non other than the dear Captain Mustard!"
a gasp went around the room, ms Craddock swooned a little.
"This is outrageous!!" exclaimed the captain, "how dare you try to put blame on me! You have no proof, and i have no motive!"
"No," said Jones, "You have the best motive, Love. The day before you arrived to try and court ms Craddock, but that night you retired early after being rejected by the lady for non other than the late Wilbur Smith IV. It was not a matter of money, which as you said had no impact on your fortune, but you couldn't get the girl so when everyone retired you heard Wilbur in the next room leaving presuming he was going to visit the girl you had sought, with precision you took the cord from around your room's curtains, which i noticed was missing, and following Mr Smith attacked him from behind and in the struggle lost your epaulet, which i found near the bottom of the stairs, with Mr Smith falling down the stairs you panicked and hurried back to your room and then joined up with the party but had little time to search for your lost epaulet." Jones paused for a second, "The only piece of evidence missing is the rope by which the act was committed but with a search I'm sure it will turn up and then fingerprinting will turn up the confirming point we need so that you will face the gallows."
"How could you James, HOW COULD YOU!" Ms Craddock had jumped from her seat and yelled fully at the captain.
"As truthful as Mr Jones believes his Conclusion to be, he cannot without the full evidence perceive it was me, the police have made a full sweep of the property and i have been under surveillance so could not have hidden the rope if i did commit the crime." replied the captain in a calm way as a smile spread across his face.
It was then one of the constables spoke up, "I'm sorry Mr Jones but he is right and without the rope we have no evidence aside from the epaulet which can be easily explained, we cannot hold him."
"I will not sit here and hear accusations upon my person, i bid you all a good day." and with that the captain got up and proceeded to leave the house where a hansom was waiting with his luggage all packed.
Jones, myself and Homer stood upon the porch and watched him go into the distance.
"Damn it all!" exclaimed Jones in an anger i had never yet seen in him. "I know for sure it was him! The motive was there, Mrs. White confirmed it, the means was there and i am sure he took it but all for that damn rope he would not be heading home but would instead be in a cold cell at the local station."
Homer then looked at us both, "this rope everyone goes on about, is it anything like my giant piece of floss?" he then proceeded to pull form his pocket a piece of bloody rope.
"Where did you get that?" I said in disbelief.
"Oh i found it when i first went searching for clues before the police searched the house, i saw it and thought 'what if i become a giant, how will a little piece of floss clean between my teeth, with this i shall be covered' so i took it." He was smiling throughout his ramble, with each syllable i could see the anger rise in Jones.
"You fool, you damn fool, you have let the captain slip through our fingers! Quick doctor, get the constables, if we have time we can catch the rogue."
However it was too late. Captain Mustard had headed straight for the docks and boarded the first boat to the continent, he was outside our reach. And thus brought an end to the first failure i had witnessed of my friend Jones, how different it could have been had one bumbling detective shared what evidence he had in his possession.