Crawford focused on the message to distract him from the swell. ‘Two bodies, males. One poisoned, the other to be determined. Both look suspicious. Going to be a real laugh.’
He sighed. Meldrew was a pain, as if suspicious deaths at the Comedy festival were funny. Ho-ho. Why they had to hold it on an island though. He hated boats.
The constable stood on the temporary dock with a man in red tartan, wringing his hands. Don’t let it be a clown, he prayed. I can’t do this with a bloody clown.
‘What do we have, constable?’
‘Martin Deep. Doing a set. Takes a drink, and seconds later, he’s clutching his throat. Last words apparently ‘I could murder a decent scotch.’ Looks like the scotch got in first.’ Meldrew looked around. No one laughed.
‘Bit quick to be poisoned?’ Crawford knelt by the corpse.
‘Doc says it was a strong emetic. Drowned in his own vomit.’ Meldrew grinned at the clown. ‘He must have gagged on his gag.’ This time the clown frowned and sniffed. A tear slide across his cheek smudging his make up.
Crawford dropped the sheet over the dead man’s face. ‘The other one?’
‘Next door. Newcomer, Piers Tripe. Seems he’s set was bombing.’ Meldrew sniggered.
Crawford grabbed the constable’s arm. ‘If you say he corpsed, so help me…’
‘Sir. As if. That would be tasteless. Seems he was terrible so no one was going to die of laughter in his tent. Sorry. Doc thinks he was also poisoned.’
‘Any link?’ He looked at the clown.
‘They were both New Right comics. Mindless bigots if you ask me.’
Crawford looked at the bodies. ‘Why poison them, though?’
Meldrew stood back. ‘Probably because they’re an acquired taste, sir.’
‘Meldrew. Have you ever thought you might try another career?’
Crawford’s hands circled the constable’s throat. ‘I was thinking something more horizontal. Like a professional cadaver