There were many things that Constable Benhardie liked about being a member of the force in the old port town. He liked the shiny buttons on his smart uniform even if the department issue shoes were clunky old-fashioned brogues. He enjoyed the respect of most of the community. He took particular pleasure in knowing that he’d succeeded in establishing himself in a good solid career, in direct opposition to the predictions voiced by many of the residents of East Dudleystoke Hastings who believed he would never amount to anything. He even enjoyed the company of the partner to whom he’d been assigned; Corporal Wilburton was wise in the ways of things and often his wisdom had meant the solving of a difficult case.
But one thing that Corporal Benhardie did not like was his current assignment. The McTavitt clan was in town, causing no little confusion, and the DeFiorini girl was still missing. Corporal Wilburton was pursuing some leads and tending to crowd control issues, leaving Corporal Benhardie the task of interviewing the “come hither, go lightly girls” who loitered down near the old war memorial. Their knowing eyes and louche manner unnerved him. He was sure they were teasing him most of the time, but in ways he was unsure of. He also thought that it was unlikely that they had, coincidentally, the same last name of “Smith.” He frequently wondered if their first names actually were Jane, Jan, and Joan. One thing – and one thing only – of which he was sure: they knew more than they told.