“Are you sure he went this way?” asked Inspector Parton exasperated. It certainly looked like a dead end to him.

“Positive,” answered Liz scanning the alleyway. “I distinctly remember those two barrels at the end of the ally.”

Parton crossed  over to the barrels and gave them an experimental push. Whatever they contained, they were full and couldn’t have been moved to throw them off the scent. “I supposed it’s probably just a story trope,” he said loudly and thumping the brick wall at the end of the alley.

“Any joy?” queried Liz though she already knew the answer. Parton shock his head as confirmation and they both scoured the alley way, tapping the walls as they did so. “Just a second,” said Liz crossing to the barrels and attempted to lift herself on top.

“I’m no fashion expert but I don’t think your dress is really designed for climbing,” said Parton . “I’ll have a look.”  He crossed over to the Barrels, gently pulled Liz aside and climbed with some considerable effort on to the barrels.

“I think your in need of one our fitness programmes,” laughed Liz as Parton drew his breath back. “Can you see anything?”

“You…might be…right,” he gasped. Once he got his breath back he had a look around, he couldn’t see anything on that would indicate  a way out. The pavement didn’t even have a manhole and the road was so narrow it could barely have two cars adjacent to one another, he jumped down from the barrel. “Stumped.”

“Maybe I was mistaken or he slipped away while I called you over,” mused Liz.

“Perhaps, happens to the best of us Liz.”

“I guess,” Liz conceded and they walked out of the ally. She sighed deeply, “I’ll have to file the details with Arthur when I get back.”

“If it is an consolation I thought I saw him disappear down this alley as well,” said Parton as he kicked a small plastic lid across the pavement. “I’ll get some of the local bobbies to patrol this beat tonight, just in case.”

Liz noted a nearby bus stop, “anyway  I’ll catch a bus back to my flat and see if I can solved the mystery of where his hideout was. If not, I’m sure Arthur will turn into a six sock problem.”

“I’ll see you later,” answered Parton and he disappeared round a corner and into a nearby newsagent.”




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