Jim Gerrard is a middle aged out of work standup comedian. Still living in hope of getting back onstage, he reluctantly takes on part-time work for Derek’s Detective agency and Star Bingo. A phone call from entertainment agent Joe Bastillo offering him a series of cabaret bookings lifts his spirits. However, in return Joe wants him to find six missing relatives. Jim, desperate to get back to his show business career reluctantly agrees. His first booking takes him to the Lancashire holiday resorts of Southport and Blackpool. There he meets, then teams up with Wanda, a cabaret singer and Zodiac fanatic. Together they begin to seek out the missing relatives, but with disastrous consequences:
Sunrise over Southport, the sound of seagulls, and the geriatrics of Lord Street, I was just about to leave them all behind. Wanda had gone back to her chalet to pack, and I was just putting my own case in the car.
“Mr. Gerrard I presume?”
The voice was sombre, and deep enough to use as a double bass. I knew before turning, it was either an undertaker or a policeman.
“Detective Inspector Carlisle.”
“Well! Well! To what do I owe the honour of this visit Inspector? It must be something important to get you out of bed before nine o’clock.”
I always found a little bit of sarcasm when dealing with the police ruffled the feathers and brought them to the point a little bit quicker.
“You were the last person to see Marian Bennett alive.”
Coming to the point a little bit quicker is one thing but this was ridiculous. It caught me completely unawares and I stupidly answered
“Is she dead then?”
“Marian Bennett was killed last night by a hit and run driver. A witness’s description fits your car perfectly. That, coupled with the fact you were the last person to speak to her, puts you in an uncomfortable position, and makes it a pleasure for me to get up before nine o’clock to see you squirm out of it.” one nil to Detective Inspector Carlisle.
The smile on the big oval face made me feel like punching it. However, as it rested on a six foot three body that seemed well capable of holding up a mountain I dismissed the possibility immediately.
“I was here last night doing a show. I don’t have one witness Sherlock, I have five hundred.”
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