Advent Episode 22: Working the Phones

D I Bones was in no hurry to get back to work. He didn’t expect anything new to turn up on the investigation, and the only excitement he was likely to get all day was handing his weekly money to the lottery syndicate co-ordinator. And writing up some final reports from the last three cases, which the DCI had been mithering him for. He booted up the computer.

To: D I Bones

From: E Choudhari

Subject: G Jones, Deceased, Tox

Nothing in the tox results. Wondering about sads? Def. no foul play. Send you more later.

Sent from mobile

Even for the pathologist, this was cryptic. There was nothing more he could do until IT got back to him. He really hoped there was something of use on the computer, or the phone.

He sighed and opened up the file about Mrs J Alcock, deceased 24 October. At least that one had been straightforward.

The DCI was going to be pleased with him. He was up to date. With one case, at least. The phone rang.

“Kit here, IT Services.”

“Great, what have you got for me?”

“I’ve charged the phone and unlocked it. Do you want to come and get it, so you can check the directory? I can maybe do the browser stuff later. I know you wanted to find the contacts first.”

“Brilliant, thanks. I’ll be down in five minutes. Bye”

D I Bones came back up the stairs with the phone. It felt a bit like a hot potato. Either the phone would have contacts in it, which meant he would have to break the news of Gareth’s death to someone over the phone. Or it wouldn’t, and he would be no further on with the enquiry. He almost didn’t want to look.

He got back to his desk and opened his notebook. OK.

The phone was a fairly primitive smartphone. There was a photo background, a fairly generic landscape. D I Bones made a note. Might be somewhere important. Or he might have downloaded it from the internet just because he liked it. He realised that he was trying to avoid opening the contacts folder. He sighed. Come on.

There were six names in the list.

  • Alison Fraser
  • Chip
  • Mam
  • Nasreen
  • Pizza Planet
  • Sereena

Did he really only need to save six numbers? God. He checked his notebook. Alison – that was Alison Fraser. She didn’t know him. Sereena – that was Sereena Khan. She didn’t know much. Nasreen – that was Professor Birch. Still out of the country. That left ‘Mam’ and ‘Chip’. He really did not want to phone ‘Mam’ first. He didn’t really expect to find anything, because it was a mobile number, but he did a reverse lookup on Chip’s number, just in case. He hoped that wasn’t a takeaway too.  Nothing came up. For once, absence was a goHe dialled.

“Hello! You’re through to Charles Grosvenor. I can’t take your call right now, but leave a message and I’ll call you back!”. D I Bones followed the instruction and hung up. He still didn’t want to cal ‘Mam’. He had another idea.

“Mrs Garvill, this is DI Bones from Burston Met.”

“Fine, thanks. And you? ”

“Well not too great, to be honest with you. But that’s why I called you. It’s a bit of a long shot, but I was wondering if you knew anyone called Charles Grosvenor?”

“Oh that’s great. Any contact details?”

D I Bones scribbled down a number.

“Do you know when he’s due back?”

“Does he? OK. Fine. I’ll give it a go.”

“That’s really helpful, Mrs Garvill. No, Mr Grosvenor isn’t helping me with my enquiries. I just have reason to believe that he may be able to give me some information.”

“Well, I realise that it sounds like the same thing as helping with enquiries, but it really isn’t.”

“I’m afraid I need to get on, Mrs Garvill. Thank you so much for your help. Good bye.”

He pressed down and released the button and then dialled the number she’d given him. “Dr Charles Grosvenor, University of Burston. Please leave a message.”

“Dr Grosvenor. It’s Detective Inspector Bones from Burston Metropolitan Police. Could you call me back on 0208 654 2304. It’s rather urgent.”

He hung up. Fingers crossed.

Five minutes later, his phone rang.

“D I Bones, Burston Metropolitan Police.”

“Dr Grosvenor. Thanks for calling back so quickly.”

“Yes, Mrs Garvill told me you were at a conference, but that you’d be keeping an eye on your mail.”

“Yes, I’m sure. Well, I hope some of the sessions are interesting.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know much about adenoviruses, sir. But I expect you’re wondering why I’ve called.”

“Would I be right in thinking that you know a Dr Gareth Jones?”

“He hasn’t done anything, sir. At least, not that we know of.”

“Ha ha. I’m sure. Well, as I was saying, I did want to ask you about Dr Jones, sir. Were you friends with him?”

“Did I say were? I do apologise. But yes, Dr Jones is unfortunately deceased, sir.”

“I was hoping you might be able to help me find out, sir. Dr Jones’ death is currently unexplained. But I am more concerned at the moment with tracing his next of kin. Are you, er, familiar, with anybody in Dr Jones’ family, sir?”

“Gaga? Do you mean that Mrs Jones suffers from dementia, sir?”

“Fairies? I see. Is she in some kind of care home, then?”

“Oh. Well, that’s helpful. Do you have a first name, by any chance?”

“Any idea of where it might be?”

“OK. Thanks. Now, I do have some further questions for you about Dr Jones. Would it be possible for me to come and see you when you’re back in Burston? I’d rather do this face to face.”

“Tomorrow afternoon would actually be fine. Will you be back at the University?”

“Is that the main campus?”

“OK, I’ll come to Reception of Burley building. Does it have a door?”

“Just my little joke, sir. These university buildings can be different from places I’m used to.”

“Indeed, sir. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, 2pm. Oh, and of course you can ignore the message I’ve left on your mobile phone. Good bye, sir.”

D I Bones rang off. His notebook hadn’t acquired much more. Mam Jones was demented and lived in a nursing home.  Chip hadn’t known where exactly, but he was pretty sure that  Gareth came from Prestatyn.  There was no point in trying ‘Mam’s’ mobile number in the contacts folder – it was a mobile, and she was ‘too far gone’ to answer, if Chip really knew about it.

D I Bones pulled up the directory enquiries website. Nursing homes in Prestatyn. How many could there be?


Second question. How many could have a resident called Mrs Jones?


Second question. How many could have a resident called Mrs Jones who might have a son called Gareth?


He went down to the canteen for a coffee and wandered back up to his desk. He’d have to get a bit smarter about it. He thought for a while, doodling on a bit of scrap paper. Then he realised the missing link.

Gareth was in his mid-twenties. Mrs Jones couldn’t be very old, so she must have quite early-onset dementia.  She couldn’t be older than in her late sixties. That should narrow things down. He started phoning the nursing homes again.

Follow @wadingtreacle on Twitter, or like the Wading Through Treacle page on Facebook to be informed of updates, or click on ‘follow’ at the bottom of this screen to register for new episodes by email. Tomorrow’s episode: A Decent Proposal.

One thought on “Advent Episode 22: Working the Phones

  1. Pingback: Advent Episode 21: Flat Inspection and Squatter | Wading through Treacle

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