THE DAISY STORIES
by Crystal Jones © 2015 All Rights Reserved -
“Good morning everybody. My name is Eric and I’m
your master of ceremonies, so to speak. Welcome to the magical world of
technological detection devices which can help both the police and private
investigators in their work.”.
“There are hundreds of different environments according to ethnicity, social
classes, age groups, type of work etc. If you need to blend
in, you must study each individual environment and the people in it, and
then create an identity for yourself which fits in.”
Daisy was attending the annual conference in March on applied detection
techniques, an event which she always looked forward to. There were
different professionals lecturing on their own particular speciality and,
occasionally, people who had a very personal experience of using
non-technological skills like applied psychology and intuition in their
Now a very elderly man was brought onto the stage in a wheelchair and Eric
received him as an expert on remaining invisible in a foreign environment in
time of crisis.
“In order to obtain desired results, private detectives must possess a
special virtue which is one of their trademarks: invisibility. Detectives
who wish to remain invisible must pay attention to details and not show any
individual peculiarities of behaviour,” the elderly man explained
Daisy observed that notwithstanding his age the elderly man expressed
himself with amazing clarity and enthusiasm. He ended his speech on a
paradoxical note. “Of course you must be good actors, but not in the
sense that you must shine and appear brilliant and good-looking. On the
contrary, you must look unimportant, unmemorable, unnoticeable - in other
“My name is Jack Waterbridge and I’d like to seek
your help in finding someone. Rufus Corriemack gave me your telephone number
and recommended you to me,” said a slightly American accented voice of a not
very young man.
“Yes, I expect Rufus told you where my office is,” replied Daisy, happy at
the thought that an interesting case might be coming her way. “Would you
like to make an appointment?”
“Er... the problem is, I recently hurt my arm and it’s in plaster,”
explained Mr. Waterbridge, “so I’ve got a bit of difficulty travelling. Do
you think you could come to Deverston, where I live, and meet me and
I’ll tell you all about my problem?”
“Deverston - well, yes. It’s about half an hour’s drive from here. Will you
give me your address?”
Mr. Waterbridge hesitated, “The thing is, I’ve only just moved back to the
UK and bought a house which is being refurbished. It’s not very hospitable
at the moment. Could we meet at the public library in Cook Street?”
The appointment was for three o’clock in the
reading room. Daisy had described herself and told Mr. Waterbridge that she
would be carrying a score of Grieg songs.“Right along there. All the books are in alphabetical order of
the author’s surname,” the patient librarian explained.
When Daisy arrived at the public library in Deverston she saw an elderly man
with his left arm in plaster who was asking the librarian if there were any
Inspector Dim books.
As the elderly man turned round he noticed Daisy standing behind him with a
score in her hand. “Miss Daisy Hamilton, I presume!” he said with a smile.
Daisy nodded at his remark and replied, “Mr. Waterbridge, I imagine!”
“Yes, but we can’t have a proper conversation in a library. I’ve just
discovered a very nice tea shop quite near here which serves Cornish Teas.
Shall we go there?”
True to his word, Mr. Waterbridge led Daisy to a quaint old-fashioned tea
shop where a polite young man dressed in jeans took their order.
As Mr. Waterbridge and Daisy sat down to a plate of fresh scones, clotted
cream and delicious strawberry jam, a pot of tea was brought to them.
“Everything all right, Miss Hamilton?” asked Mr. Waterbridge.
“Really fantastic. I didn’t know such places existed any more. I can‘t
remember the last time I had a real Cornish Tea!” remarked the detective.
“Good. I’m sorry I can’t invite you to my home at the moment because I’m
having an extra bathroom built and other things. It’s all in a terrible mess
until the men have finished their work. Luckily Mrs. Wood is looking after
me - she’s a local lady and absolutely wonderful. She clears up after the
men and prepares my meals for me even though she’s got her own family to
look after. You see, my wife passed away last year.”
“I‘m very sorry about that,” Daisy murmured.
“Well, now let’s get back to my little problem,” Mr. Waterbridge continued.
“I want to find an old friend of mine but I don't know his surname. Er,
please bear with me for a moment and I'll explain everything.”
Daisy was used to hearing about all sorts of problems and simply nodded.
“Now let me begin at the beginning and I’ll tell you how we became friends.
I started work writing for newspapers in the sixties, first a local one and
then a London daily. In my spare time I wrote a few short stories and a bit
later my first detective novel but nobody seemed interested in my work as is
usual when you are completely unknown! I went from publisher to publisher
but I only got refusals.”
Mr. Waterbridge paused to finish drinking his cup of tea.
“I then showed my latest effort to a publisher who was known for promoting
new talent and he seemed interested but said I still needed to work on my
idea. Then, as one’s destiny can never be planned and I had always been
interested in horticulture, I went to the Chelsea Flower Show. There, quite
by chance, as they say, I bumped into someone, literally. We were both
trying to see the name of some amber-coloured flowers and collided. Then,
“Oh, sorry, sorry” on both parts and we started chatting. He said he was in
the Police Force and that he too loved flowers but had no possibility of
growing any as he lived in a rented flat. Like me! And moreover I found out
that we’d both been dumped recently by our girlfriends.”
Mr. Waterbridge called the waiter and asked him if they could have some more
tea. He then took up where he had left off, “Soon we became friends and I
told Glynn, that’s his name, about my efforts to have my book published. As
he was in the Police Force I asked him if he’d be interested in reading my
manuscript and tell me what he thought of it. I had recently come up with
the idea of creating a strong character who was to become Inspector
Dimitri Kawaloski-Smith, better known as Inspector Dim.”
“Just a minute - Inspector Dim? Then you must be Michael D. Zard, the
well-known writer! Several of your books have been made into films too,”
“Well, of course Michael D. Zard was only my pseudonym. I‘m glad somebody
still remembers me in the UK but I’d prefer to remain unknown round here. My
granddaughter will be arriving soon, she’ll be living with me now and
studying, so I don’t want her bothered with people knocking on the door and
“But you checked to see if your books were available at the library!”
“Yes, it’s true. My vanity won! Oh, by the way, please call me Jack.”
“And, as you know already, my name is Daisy and I loved Inspector Smith’s
trademark not to use violence or intimidation to achieve his ends but to
lull the villain into a sense of well-being until he had almost forgotten he
was talking to a policeman and gave the game away.”
Jack looked pleased that Daisy knew his books. “Well,” he continued, “Glynn
read my manuscript and pointed out a few inaccuracies especially concerning
Inspector Dim’s relationships with the secret services. As he had never told
me his surname I realised that he was no ordinary policeman at all but
connected with some special unit, or something like that, as he later
admitted he was. Anyway, I went back to the publisher who had shown interest
in my work, he liked the new version and after a lot of comings and goings
the book was finally published. Then, as they say, the rest is history.
After this I wrote another two books, which Glynn kindly read, helping me
smooth out a few rough patches. Then I got an offer from an American
producer to make a film of my first book, which of course I accepted. I went
over there, fell in love with the costumier, we got married and honeymooned
in the UK. I looked for Glynn but he had left his flat with no forwarding
address. The person who had been instrumental in perfecting my Inspector Dim
books had disappeared!”
Unfazed by this dramatic statement Daisy remarked, “And you haven’t tried to
find him on the internet?”
“Unfortunately I never found out what Glynn’s surname was. And Glynn might
not even be his real name!” Jack sighed.
Daisy was used to solving difficult cases but this one really seemed to test
“Well, we have to live with that... Mm, I do have some contacts with the
police but they aren’t going to reveal anything to me about the whereabouts
of a secret agent...” Daisy muttered.
“Or ex-agent, shall we say, as he would be well over seventy-five by now,”
“Tell me about what Glynn and you talked about,” Daisy suggested.
“Well you know... my books, of course, horticulture and our mutual wish to
have a garden one day to plant beautiful flowers and things.”
“Did you find out where he was born?” asked Daisy.
“No, he was always very vague about his personal life, so I didn’t pursue
the matter. All I know is that he must have been chosen for a particular
reason - maybe because he was Welsh and spoke the language fluently.” Just
at that moment Daisy’s mobile rang. “Sonia, you’ve arrived already! Ah, you
got an earlier plane. Right, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Daisy turned towards Jack, “Sorry Jack, we’ll have to leave it there now.
I’ve got to pick up my journalist friend Sonia who’s arriving from Kabul
earlier than I expected but before I go I’d like to ask you if you met
anybody when you were with Glynn who could help us find him?”
“No, he was a quiet sort of chap and we usually met to have something to eat
or drink and then we’d go to my place to read my manuscript. I don’t even
know if he had any friends. Probably he did, amongst his colleagues, I
suppose. But... I’ve just remembered something - it was the premiere of the
first Inspector Dim film at Leicester Square. I was there with the film
director and everybody else when someone touched my shoulder - it was Glynn,
this time all dressed up in a dinner jacket and looking very smart. He
wished me luck, smiled and disappeared into the crowd. It was rather weird.”
“I see. Well, you’ve given me a few elements to work on,” said Daisy, “and
I’ll be getting back to you in a couple of days’ time.”
“Daisy, I’m in a terrible flap.” It was Pam
telephoning Daisy at her home. “When I let myself into your office this
morning to clean, I saw that you had left a lot of money on your desk tucked
under your keyboard so I decided to put it all into an envelope and hide it
somewhere. The trouble is I can’t remember where I put it for safe-keeping!”
“Oh yes. Mr. Stanford paid me at last just as I was going out of the door.
Don’t worry Pam, do something else and forget all about it for a while and
then I’m sure it’ll come back to you where you put it,” replied Daisy.
A quarter of an hour later Pam telephoned again. “It’s all right, Daisy.
I‘ve found the money - I‘d put it in that Inspector Dim book you were
“Oh, that’s good. Thanks for letting me know. Bye for now.”
“I wish I could solve Jack Waterbridge’s problem so easily,” thought Daisy
to herself. “Jack doesn’t seem to know much about his friend at all but
maybe he’s just forgotten things after such a long time. If this is the
case, next time we meet I must try and jog his memory in some other way.”
A couple of days later Daisy was on the phone to
Jack to make another appointment.
Jack seemed relieved, “Daisy, I’ve got some good news. Luckily things here
at home have changed a lot as the builders, plumbers and electricians have
finally finished their work, the plaster has been taken off my arm and
Janine, my granddaughter, has arrived! If you could come here to my home I’d
be very grateful because I still can’t drive of course.”
When Daisy arrived at Jack’s house she saw that
the garden was in a mess. There were empty cement sacks, buckets of rubbish
everywhere, old electric light coils and sand underfoot.
“Sorry about the garden, Daisy,” said Jack apologetically as he welcomed her
into his home. “They’re supposed to be coming to take all this stuff away
tomorrow. Anyway, please come inside.”
Daisy discovered that Jack’s house had been very pleasantly modernised.
Obviously walls had been knocked down and the sitting-room was beautifully
spacious and uncluttered. “What a beautiful shade of cream in this room,”
she said. Daisy also noticed that some very unusual yellow and light green
striped cushions blended into the modern comfortable furniture. “I love
those cushions - did you choose them?”
Jack grinned, “Yes, I had them specially made to order by Mrs. Wood‘s
sister. Now, can I get Mrs. Wood to make some tea or anything?” asked Jack
as he showed Daisy around the house.
Soon a homely-looking lady wearing an apron brought in a freshly-made
Victoria sponge and a pot of tea.
“Well,” began Daisy, “I thought of doing things a bit differently this time
to try and kick-start anything you might remember about your friend Glynn.
So first of all I’d like to ask you about yourself.”
“Oh, I get it! A sort of word association thing!” replied Jack clearly ready
to experiment this new idea. “Good. Let’s give it a go!”
“Let me see. Will you tell me something about your childhood?” Daisy began.
“Yes, okay. I was born before the war ended in nineteen forty-three in the
north of England where my father worked in a factory as he had been exempt
from the army because of his age. From when I went to secondary school my
mother moaned a lot because she was bored. She wanted to find a little job,
earn a bit of money and get out of the house but my father’s pride wouldn’t
let her. He was the wage earner and said that if she dared to go out and get
a job he would leave her and she’d have to pay the mortgage for the house
all by herself!”
Jack frowned as he told Daisy about his parents. “My father,” he continued,
“was a teetotaller and used to get quite violent if someone even mentioned
drinking alcohol, but he never gave us a reason for it. He didn’t let us,
that is my younger sister Violet and I, have any freedom of thought or
action. Violet wanted to learn how to dance the tip-tap and was treated as
though the devil incarnate was tempting her to do goodness knows what. She
eventually got some friend to teach her and at fifteen ran away to join a
chorus and was never to come back home again. Later on she met an Aussie,
who was a perfectly decent sort of chap, got married and went to live in
“What about Glynn?” prompted Daisy.
“Well, he grew up in the East End even though the family came from Wales. He
was about three or four years older than me. His father and mother were
wiped out in the Blitz and he was taken in by his aunt, who lived nearby and
was pregnant, and so his grandmother, who had been widowed in a mining
accident, came over from Wales to help her family. Apparently Glynn
worshipped his grandmother and used to call her Mumgrandmother. I
remember the day he told me that she had died. It was St. David’s Day, the
first of March. He had to go up to Edleford for the funeral. He was utterly
“Well, if you know the exact date and year when Glynn’s grandmother died you
could leave a note in a bunch of flowers or something on her grave,” Daisy
Jack seemed to be considering the idea. “But of course Glynn could be no
longer with us,” he added sadly.
“And what about the other members of his family?” asked Daisy deliberating
changing the subject.
Jack thought for a moment, “Well, I remember his telling me about his
grandfather - or was it his great-grandfather - who worked in the mines and
was paid in vouchers in lieu of money which could only be used in the
company’s shops to buy food. These shops were called Tommy shops.”
Daisy looked horrified, “I’d never heard of them before. It’s very
Jack nodded, “Actually I wrote a documentary about the Tommy shops a long
time ago but nothing came of it.”
“Really? I think it’s important to bring things like that to the public eye.
I for one would certainly like to see it,” Daisy declared.
“Mm... you are right,” said Jack thoughtfully.
“Jack, did your wife ever meet Glynn?” asked Daisy continuing her line of
“No. When we came over for our honeymoon I couldn’t find him. He would have
loved her. She was the most vibrant person I have ever met. She was kind and
warm and would make you feel at home in her company, but she never invaded
your space. She was from New Orleans - her mother was of African origin and
her father was French.”
Mrs. Wood appeared again to ask if they would like any more tea and was the
sponge all right. Both Daisy and Jack confirmed that the sponge was splendid
and had a wonderful fresh taste to it.
“How did you start writing, Jack?” Daisy asked after having another cup of
tea, genuinely interested in knowing more about the author.
“Well, I was always interested in photography but we never had a camera in
the family, Dad was against it. Eventually I got a friend, Stephen, to teach
me the basics, then I applied for the job of a photographer in a local
newspaper with no experience whatsoever. After a while I found it rather
boring and tried to write a few articles which were accepted. Then I managed
to get a job on the London daily and soon found myself immersed in The
Troubles in Northern Ireland for six months. I was also sent to various
other trouble spots and so got a lot of experience - if that’s the word for
it! By the way, my friend Stephen had a policeman for a father! He was a
tall heavy-looking Scot who didn’t take any nonsense from anybody. He was a
good man but strict and I looked up to him. We used to discuss life and its
Just then a female voice was heard in the hall talking to Mrs. Wood.
“Ah, Janine has arrived,” announced Jack as a tall, willowy-looking girl
with a natural smile on her face walked into the room. Jack looked obviously
extremely proud of his granddaughter.
“How did your audition go for the drama school?”
“All ok, grandad!” Janine replied and on seeing Daisy, “Oh, you must be the
private detective who‘s trying to find grandad‘s old friend. Very pleased to
“So you’re going to study here in the UK,” Daisy remarked.
“Yes, that’s true - er... Daisy, isn’t it? Just imagine what my family back
in the States are going to say when I tell them I’ve met a real English
Daisy smiled, “So you are going to study acting, Janine?”
“Well, actually I will be going to a very special drama school set up by
“The wonderful actor who played the part of Inspector Dim in the films!”
“Yes, that’s right. I’ve always wanted to go into acting - but serious
acting! And as I’ve got English blood in my veins I thought a good place to
start was right here in the UK.”
“I’m very interested in the theatre,” remarked Daisy. “I once went on an
evening drama course for a year. You say this drama school is special. Why’s
“Well, Andrew Marshalton himself suffered from the usual typecasting and
always tried to choose very different types of roles and, as you know, this
worked out very well for him. He has started up the school to combat
typecasting and promote diversity.”
“That‘s very interesting,” said Daisy. “When I did my drama course the girl
who was the producer’s favourite - because she was good-looking or had
already done the role - played the leading role. Those who had no
experience, like me, were always left to say just one or two lines.”
Now Mrs. Wood came into the room carrying a package. “Janine, my sister has
finished your patchwork quilt - here it is. Hope you like it!”
“Thank you Mrs. Wood,” Janine replied opening the package. “Oh, just look at
that! The colours are wonderful - just what I wanted.”
“Forget-me-not blue and dark blue stripes on a white background,” Daisy
broke in. “It’s really lovely!”
Mrs. Wood smiled contentedly as she left the room.
“It’s her sister Felicity who made it, as well as the cushion covers that
you said you liked,” Jack explained. “Janine chose the colours and the quilt
was made to her specification. No mass production!”
“Just think,” Daisy remarked, “people invest in things which are solely
designed to make a profit whereas this lady contributes to beautifying the
home in a very personal way.”
“Mm, you’ve given me an interesting idea,” Jack nodded, “to invest in her!
I’ll think about it.”
“Daisy, as you’re interested in acting perhaps you’d like to come to the
presentation tomorrow given by Andrew Marshalton,” said Janine. “It was
going to be today but he had to put it off to go to a funeral. Would you
like to come with me?”
“I’d love to but, actually, I’m working for your grandfather...”
“Look, I’ll come along too,” interrupted Jack. “I haven’t seen Inspector Dim
for quite a few years. He’ll get such a surprise! You know, Janine didn’t
mention to him she was my granddaughter as she wanted to be accepted into
the school on her own merits!”
“I’ve got a couple of spare tickets - as it’s by invitation only,” explained
As Daisy drove away, she felt that
the second round of interviews with Jack hadn’t revealed an awful lot more
but that things seemed to be moving just the same and she was actually
getting somewhere. And, of course, she was very excited about meeting Andrew
Marshalton whom she admired.
When she arrived home Daisy decided to heat up a ready-made vegetarian meal
in the microwave and relax watching television but somehow she found it
difficult to concentrate on the news programme and switched over to another
channel where there was an old comedy show, which she quickly became bored
As Daisy got up to get her meal out of the microwave, she noticed that the
evening sun shone on a cobweb in the corner of the room. She fetched a clean
floor cloth from the kitchen and ‘imprisoned’ the web and the spider in the
middle of it. Then she carried it out of the room, opened the back door and
left it outside on the step so as to let the spider free. Daisy always tried
to save the life of spiders as she considered them our natural friends.
Later when she was ready to go to bed she felt uneasy. Something was
bothering her but she couldn’t work out what it was exactly.
Daisy finally managed to fall asleep when suddenly she woke up and nearly
fell out of bed. She had been dreaming that she was on the outside of a
gigantic spider’s web. There was a man in the centre of it but he had his
back to her and she was unable to get close enough to see who he was or what
he was like.
As Daisy gathered herself together, she decided to do something positive and
reached out for her tablet. “I’ll google Andrew Marshalton and find out
something about him as I’m going to see him tomorrow,” she thought. “Mm...
he came from a rather poor background too. Father served in the second world
war, had difficulty in finding work afterwards but finally got a job as a
commissionaire of a London hotel. His mother was a junior school teacher but
times were difficult. Andrew, however, managed to get a good education and
went to university. There he excelled in English Literature and later joined
the Dramatic Society.”
Daisy continued googling and found that the actor had been to a funeral the
day before. “Ah yes,” she said to herself, “that must be the funeral Janine
Daisy accidentally touched a link and was transported to another website
where there was an article from the Daily Shout newspaper whose title was,
“Surrounded by his family, Sir Alec Baldwin-Hughes dies at the age of
ninety-five. He had been a wheelchair user for some years owing to severe
arthritis. Recently he had been honoured by the Queen for services to the
There was also a photograph of the deceased in his wheelchair. Daisy thought
for a moment, “I think I've seen him somewhere before - but I haven't the
least idea where. In a wheelchair? Oh, yes, the conference in March. He was
the invisibility expert!”
Strangely enough, after all this Daisy fell deeply asleep and didn’t even
hear the alarm go off the following morning. When she finally woke up she
realised she was desperately late and had a quick cup of coffee. As she took
her car keys out of her bag she suddenly remembered something Jack had told
her and nearly dropped the keys in excitement. She then drove off to Jack’s
house at Deverston.
Daisy, Janine and Jack arrived at
the auditorium where Andrew Marshalton would present his new acting school
to the public. Daisy looked around and saw that there were about a hundred
people sitting down and members of the press waiting with their photographic
As Andrew Marshalton arrived on the stage Daisy saw that he was still a very
good-looking man for his age. She remembered how handsome and lithe he was
in the Inspector Dim films and how Inspector Dim would just sit there lazily
- even putting his feet up on the table when questioning a villain and
asking for a cup of tea, looking as though he would spend the whole night
there if necessary until he got the information he needed.
Dim may have been his nickname but he was certainly anything but dim!
“I’d like to explain something about what we are going to do in this drama
school,” Andrew Marshalton began as he stood behind the rostrum. “During the
year we’ll focus on roles which seem to be the opposite from our comfort
zone. Students will be doing play-reading to discover what they are good at
naturally, then they’ll change over to roles which are far from their
comfort zone: the natural comic will become the villain, the tragedy queen a
comedienne and a charismatic actor a dull, boring character. And so they
don’t feel inhibited when they make their experiments, outsiders are not
welcome.” Andrew looked at the group of journalists and reached out for his
glass of water. He then continued, “The point of it all is to encourage
students to be alive to people’s reactions and use their improvisation
techniques and their inner resources to conquer difficulties and unforeseen
events. We don’t expect our students to be good in every part they do - they
will always be limited - but what is important is to stretch oneself to the
limit. And our role, as teachers, is to be careful not to crush the
uniqueness of every student.”
An applause broke out. Janine whispered in Daisy’s ear, “I just love this
“We need a lot of Andrew Marshaltons in schools - in all types of schools!”
declared Daisy enthusiastically.
“The next step,” the actor added, “will be to prepare scenes from classics
of different nations, so the students become used to completely different
cultural backgrounds. There will be classes on voice, movement - which
doesn’t mean keeping fit but how people move according to what they are
wearing, their professions, illnesses, characters etc.”
“This man really understands his art,” said Jack nodding his head, “and
always has. I remember when we were shooting the first Inspector Dim film he
already had some elementary knowledge of Polish and used to go to eat in
Polish places for expatriates so that he would get used to the type of
environment Inspector Dim came from.”
Daisy thought that Andrew Marshalton certainly had a way of entrancing
people. He had been speaking for quite some time now but the audience was
still listening to him attentively.
“And now let’s get down to a few organisational details,” he announced.
“There will be a self-service canteen and a video library of classical
works. And we have already begun implementing measures so that less
able-bodied students can attend our classes.”
People in the audience nodded their approval and someone shouted bravo!
“It’s also a rule of the school,” he continued, “that mobiles must not be
used during classes and no photos may be taken as this would inhibit the
students from experimenting freely,” Andrew Marshalton now looked very
serious, “and, at the end of the year, there will be no performances
for the public because the purpose of all this is to help the students - not
to show off the best ones as is usual in end-of-term school productions.
Thank you all for coming, I hope I haven’t bored you too much.”
The actor ended his speech with a smile and an explosive applause broke out.
Andrew acknowledged it and asked, “Any questions?”
A voice called out from the back of the room. Daisy looked round at the man
who had spoken and recognised that he was the feared theatre critic Cyril
Urely, known for his excessive sarcasm and insinuations. “So outsiders
are not welcome,” the critic quoted. “We are talking about closed doors,
aren’t we? Isn’t that a little dangerous? And how long will it be before we
can really see what goes on in these experimental classes?”
Andrew Marshalton seemed to think for a moment then fired back imitating the
voice of a previous cabinet minister. “I’d like to thank the honourable
gentleman for that question and ask him,” - the great actor now seemed in
his element - “if it isn’t dangerous that nobody can enter, uninvited, into
a daily newspaper office to see what’s going on behind closed doors? Any
There was another roar of applause and Andrew Marshalton made a sign to say
that that really was the end. Daisy noticed that he stopped to talk to the
public and posed willingly for selfies as he made his way out.
“Let’s go and say hello to Andrew,” Jack prompted. “Can you show us where
his office is, Janine?”
When Andrew Marshalton opened the
door of his office he was astonished to see Jack and embraced him
theatrically, “How lovely to see you, Jack. It’s been ages since we last
met... Come inside! It’s so nice of you to look me up.”
“You’ve already met Janine - she’s my granddaughter,” revealed Jack.
“Your granddaughter - well I never! I had no idea.”
“And this is a friend who’s a great admirer of yours - Daisy Hamilton.”
As they all settled down in comfortable armchairs Jack started explaining he
would like to prepare a series of plays for television about famous actors
of the past and asked Andrew whether he would be interested in it.
“Of course I would, Jack. You’re one of the two people most instrumental in
the success of my career. My first Inspector Smith film was the turning
point in my professional life thanks to the fantastic character you created
in your book! Wonderful!”
Jack smiled, “Well, I’m honoured.”
Janine broke in, “May I ask who the other person was, Mr. Marshalton?”
Andrew sighed and looked very sad, “Dear Uncle Alec, my mentor and godfather
- my mother’s brother who died recently.”
Daisy nearly jumped up from her seat. “Oh, he was your uncle? I read that
you went to Sir Alec Baldwin-Hughes’ funeral two days’ ago.”
Andrew nodded, “He paid for me to have a good education and mentored me
right through university. He was a lovely man and kind to many people.”
“You know,” Daisy said, “he was at a conference on detection techniques I
went to earlier this year and he spoke about invisibility, which was
“Oh yes, invisibility,” Andrew replied. “For a man of his profession it’s
obvious he could speak volumes about it. And his number one man too, they
still used to see each other quite often and talk shop. Naturally he came to
the funeral as well.”
“Do you mean Glynn?” Daisy took a chance.
Jack stared at Daisy wondering what was happening.
“You know Glynn Merrick as well?” Andrew replied sounding surprised.
Jack found his voice, “He’s an old friend of mine actually, but I haven’t
seen him for years.”
“Well, well, what do you know!” exclaimed Andrew. “Glynn was very much a
protégé of Uncle Alec’s too. As you’re probably aware, they - er - worked
together for the Government.”
Jack almost stuttered, “Have you got Glynn’s telephone number by chance? I’d
like to get in touch with him.”
“Of course,” Andrew replied picking up his mobile. “Let me write it down for
Jack, Janine and Daisy all made
their way to a coffee and doughnuts shop to compare notes.
Jack was looking a little bewildered, “Daisy, how on earth did you know
Glynn was connected to Sir Alec?” he asked.
“Well, I didn’t know but I remembered that you’d seen Glynn at the premiere
of the first Inspector Dim film and that after a few minutes he disappeared.
That really mystified me. How come a secret agent showed up there? I decided
to google Andrew Marshalton and read, as Janine had already told us, that he
had been to a funeral. The funeral was of Sir Alec Baldwin-Hughes and I
wondered about that. Then I asked a contact of mine in Fleet Street who Sir
Alec really was and why he had been knighted. It appears he had been the
head of the Cymru Crew, a Welsh speaking organisation which was a
separate unit of Whitehall’s secret services! This unit operated just like
the Navajo code talkers in the second world war who communicated with each
other in their native language.”
Janine broke in, “Gee, cloak and dagger stuff! We are right in the middle of
an English spy organisation. How thrilling!”
Daisy continued, “I was already certain that Glynn was connected to the
Secret Services but when I found out from my contact that Sir Alec, besides
being obviously a spymaster, was working with Welsh-speaking people I
remembered that Jack had told me that Glynn might have been chosen to be
part of a special unit because he spoke Welsh fluently. I then put two and
two together and realised it made sense that Glynn was a spy who probably
worked for Sir Alec. And that could explain his presence at the premiere of
the first Inspector Dim film. Perhaps he accompanied his mentor and friend,
Sir Alec, who had good reason to be there because he was, of course, Andrew
“Well, I don’t know what to say. Daisy, you’re brilliant! Thank you!”
Daisy smiled, “It’s all in the line of duty as they say. So, now you can get
in touch with Glynn at last. I do hope you’ll let me know what happens.”
“Miss Daisy Hamilton? I’m Felicity
from Amaryllis Home Furnishings. I’m calling to know about your
Daisy was mystified, “Sorry but I don’t quite understand...”
“Maybe Mr. Waterbridge hasn’t got in touch with you but he’s commissioned me
to make a patchwork quilt for you. Which colours do you prefer?”
“A patchwork quilt - how kind of him! I’d love one. Then you must be Mrs.
“Yes, I am. Shall I make it the same size as Janine‘s?” Felicity asked.
“Yes, that would be fine. Now, let me see - the one you made for Janine was
in forget-me-not blue. I’ve always loved bluebells growing in a wood. Would
it be possible to have one like that?”
“Yes, of course Miss Hamilton, I’ll phone you when it’s ready.”
A week later Felicity telephoned to
say that Daisy’s quilt was ready. “Shall I send it or do you prefer to pick
it up yourself? You know, I live quite near Mr. Waterbridge.”
Daisy thought it was a good opportunity to find out Jack’s latest news so
she told Felicity she would be dropping by the next afternoon.
Felicity’s workshop turned out to
be the front room of the house where she lived with her husband. There were
reels of cotton and pieces of material of all imaginable colours strewn
around the room and a sewing machine on which Felicity obviously worked.
“Sorry, it’s a bit untidy here,” she apologised. “But it looks as though
I’ll have a proper place to work in soon - you know Mr. Waterbridge is
becoming my partner? Thanks to him business is growing! I’ll have to find
someone to help me too.”
“Oh, good!” said Daisy.
“I’ve got your patchwork quilt here for you,” Felicity said picking up a
parcel on a top shelf, “Would you like me to open it to show you?”
Daisy noticed that as she opened the parcel Felicity gave a little smile as
though she was pleased with the result of her work.
“Oh,” Daisy exclaimed, “it‘s wonderful - what a fabulous combination of blue
and green - just like bluebells in a field. You’ve certainly got an eye for
colour,” Daisy remarked. “And I just love this apricot and cream cushion
cover you’re making now...”
“I also create shopping bags and lap quilts to put over you when you watch
television,” added Felicity. “And look, here’s a photo of a table runner I
made recently for my niece’s wedding. It’s got a gold background with a
layer of silver voile on top,” she explained proudly.
Daisy parked her car a little way
down the street where Jack lived. As she approached Jack’s house she saw
there was a gardener trying to sort out the unruly garden. He was kneeling
down on the grass weeding around an old rose bush.
“Excuse me, but is Mr. Waterbridge at home?” Daisy asked from outside the
The man looked round and then yelled towards the door, “Jack, there’s a
young lady here looking for you!” He peered at Daisy and adjusted his thick
A moment later Jack appeared at the door dressed in old overalls, covered in
dust, looking pleasantly surprised. “Daisy,” he exclaimed happily. “Come in
- would you like a cup of tea? I was just preparing some for us. Er - Glynn
- would you like to meet my favourite detective?”
“Hello, I’ve heard a lot about you,” said Glynn getting up from the bed of
rose bushes. “I can’t shake your hand because I’m all earthy!”
Daisy was dumbfounded. She had tried to imagine what Glynn looked like many
times and here he was in front of her looking completely different from
anything she had ever imagined. He looked ordinary.
As Daisy walked into the house she thanked Jack for his wonderful present
and followed him into the kitchen.
“I'm glad you liked the quilt,” said Jack getting a cake out of a cupboard.
“As you see, I followed your advice and decided to invest in such a talented
lady. You know, Janine has gone off youth hostelling to Devon and Cornwall
with Mrs. Wood’s daughter and I’ve just got back from seeing Glynn, I stayed
with him and his wife in Wales for a couple of days.
And my latest news is that my friend Glynn is here to help me with my
documentary on the Tommy shops! I’ve discovered that he now owns a
production company specialising in TV programmes about horticulture!”
Glynn and Daisy sat down at the kitchen table as Jack cut slices of a
Battenberg cake, “It’s only a supermarket one - Mrs. Wood’s on holiday too
unfortunately - but it’s quite good actually,” remarked Jack.
“Next time I’ll have to bring you some Cymru specialities,” said Glynn.
“Jack told me all about how you managed to find me. It was a great
investigative achievement that you made and I’m very grateful to you for
having brought together two old gardening enthusiasts,” Glynn said. “Daisy -
I may call you that... er... have you ever thought of going to work for the
Jack broke in, “Are you trying to recruit Daisy? Oh no, my friend. She’s my
business consultant now. You’re not going to put her into some dusty
underground training office for your unit!” he said laughing.
Suddenly there was an unhealthy creak which came from Daisy’s chair.
“Oh, Daisy, I forgot. Don’t sit on that chair, it isn’t very safe. Glynn, do
you mind getting that other one from over there for Daisy?” said Jack moving
the offending chair out of the way.
Glynn got up to fetch the chair. As he pushed it towards the table something
seemed to click in Daisy’s head. She watched Glynn placing the chair at the
table and tried to work out what it was. Suddenly she remembered. It was the
pushing - the pushing of a wheelchair. The pushing of Sir Alec’s wheelchair!
Glynn was the man who had pushed Sir Alec’s wheelchair onto the stage at the
conference in March.
“So you were there!” exclaimed Daisy triumphantly.
Glynn looked mystified. “I was there... where?”
“At the conference I went to in March about detection and invisibility. You
accompanied Sir Alec onto the stage.”
Glynn smiled. “Oh! So I wasn’t so invisible after all!” he quipped.
It occurred to Daisy that this very ordinary-looking man with old-fashioned
glasses was exactly what a super spy should look like: indistinguishable
from the masses of people one sees every day, and wondered who the better
actor was: the colourful Andrew Marshalton or the unobtrusive Glynn.
Finished on 18th