Looking for the first 3 Chapters of The Case of the Sapphire Collar http://twolittlecavaliers.com/category/dogs/the-case-of-the-sapphire-collar
I turned right once I was through Bumble’s gate. I figured I’d try talking to the neighbours, see what I could learn.
First thing I learnt is that I should have turned left. There was no-one at home, and this was a person who clearly took their privacy seriously. The gate was securely locked, and not even an undernourished rat would have been able to squeeze through those bars. The walls were also high, and topped with wicked little devices intended to seriously ruin the day, and chances of fatherhood, of anyone trying to scramble over.
I tried the neighbours on the other side, bidding Saracen a jaunty Good-morning as I passed.
The bars on the other neighbour’s gate were so widely spaced as to make the term “squeezing through” irrelevant. Even an overweight Lhasa could have sauntered through without getting their fur dirty.
Not that that actually mattered, the gates were wide open anyway.
I strolled up to the door and knocked politely.
It was answered by a very smartly dressed lady, ‘of a certain age’ as they say in polite circles.
“Good morning Ma’am, my name’s Barkalot. I was wondering if I might trouble you for a few minutes of your time?”
The lady opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by a voice from inside the house.
“Who is it ZuZu?”
“It’s a gentleman, Dora.”
“What does he want, dear?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to ask him yet.”, she turned to me with a word of explanation, “My sister, Dora, Mr Barkalot. How can we help you?”
“I’ve been asked to look into events at the Bumble House…”
“Aren’t you going to ask him in, then, ZuZu?”
“I was going to, Dora, I was just finding out what he wanted. I’m sorry Mr Barkalot, won’t you come through to the parlour.”
ZuZu opened the door and ushered me inside as Dora’s voice came down the hall again.
“Show him into the parlour, dear, don’t keep him stood on the doorstep.”
“I’m showing him through Dora, why don’t you pop the kettle on?”
The parlour was very comfortable and tidy. The furniture was antique; well made, in beautiful condition and exquisite taste. The exact opposite of my furniture, in fact. ZuZu indicated a chair to me, as Dora brought in tea and biscuits. I remained standing until the ladies had seated themselves, there was something about these ladies that brought out the best of my manners.
“Now then Mr Barkalot, what can we do for you.”
“Well Miss ZuZu…”
“…sorry Mrs ZuZu, I’ve been asked to look into events at the Bumble house at the weekend.”
“That must be something to do with all those policemen that were up there. I told you something had gone on that night, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did dear, now do let Mr Barkalot finish.”
“I am sorry. You’re not a policeman are you Mr Barkalot? Are you a private detective?”
“Yes I am Mrs…”
“…sorry, Miss Dora.”
“Ooh that must be terribly exciting.”
I thought of all the cold, wet mornings putting up posters for lost humans:
“You’d be surprised, Miss Dora.”
“So what are you investigating next door then, if I may be so bold?”
“Well Mrs ZuZu, Miss Bumble’s Faberge collar and her maid both disappeared on the night of the party.”
“Oh the poor dear girl, she must be terrified.”
“No not Bumble…”
“No the girl, Charm.”
“Of course. The poor thing is…”, Dora paused, choosing her words delicately, “…not the most sophisticated of girls. Have you any idea what has happened to her?”
“You don’t think she’s been kidnapped do you, Mr Barkalot?”
“To be honest I don’t know at the moment, ladies. At the moment I am still trying to learn all that I can about Charm, and about events that night.” My neck was beginning to ache from constantly turning my attention between Dora and ZuZu. It was like trying to keep your eye on the ball at a ping-pong match.
“Naturally we’ll help you all we can Mr Barkalot…”
“Of course we will.”
“…but I’m not sure how much we’ll be able to help.”
“We didn’t stay to the end you see, my sister had one of her heads…”
“It was most uncomfortable, I had to come home and lay down. Biscuit?”
“Thank you, Miss Dora. May I ask if you noticed anything unusual about Charm’s behaviour on the night of the party?”
“She was as happy as a human with three thumbs that night.”
“Oh she was, her tail didn’t stop wagging all night, did it Dora, dear?”
“Why was that, ladies?”
“It isn’t often a maid gets to meet the likes of Olivia and Cashy Nova, an she did so idolise Olivia, Mr Barkalot.”
ZuZu smiled coyly:
“Not to mention that Cashy Nova, Dora. He did rather perk the ears of a lot of the ladies.”
“Come now, Dora, There were a few jaunty tails that night. He is very much the lady’s man, Mr Barkalot, and young Charm did so love the movies.”
“Oh yes, she was always down at the movie house on her evenings off. We’d often see her at the bus stop on our way home from dancing, and give her a lift.”
“Do you dance, Mr Barkalot?”
“Afraid not, Miss Dora, I’ve got four left paws.”
“Everyone ought to dance, Mr Barkalot, it keeps you young.”
“Then you must dance like an angel, Miss Dora.”
Dora giggled: “You flatterer.”
“So apart from wanting to rub shoulders with the stars, was there anything unusual about Charm’s behaviour that night?”
“Not really. She was a bit… rustic.”
“But very conscientious…”
“Oh, very conscientious: always did her best at the job. She was chatting with the caterers in idle moments, but you can’t criticise her for that.”
“Oh no, she was always ready with a plate of nibbles when the guests wanted them…
“Especially that Cashy Nova…”
“As we said though, Mr Barkalot, we didn’t stay too long, so I’m afraid we aren’t much help.”
“Actually ladies, you’ve been a great help, thank you very much.”
“Oh indeed, a pleasure to help.”
I took my leave of the sisters and headed back downtown.
About the dogs behind the story
Dora is now indeed an old lady; but if anything her real life has been more adventurous than my fictional version.
A true spirited southern lady, Dora was born in Georgia, and has always been quick to punish over familiarity, whether it is from dogs or humans!
Whilst she may have been the runt of her litter, this little hairless girl soon showed she was remarkably rugged, and was always happy to accompany her young owner hiking, on camping trips, and even jet skiing!
Active and agile in her younger days, Dora loved to play fetch and catch, and was adept at walking on her back legs. It was pictures of her doing this that prompted me to make her a dancer in the story.
Zuzu unfortunately got off to a worse start in life than Dora. Her breeders kept their dogs in such terrible conditions that Zuzu’s new owners reported them to the state as soon as they realized just how badly the dogs were treated.
Luckily Zuzu flourished in her loving new home, and soon became even more playful than Dora, though being rather smaller, her attempts at feistiness were just too cute to be taken seriously!
This story The Case of the Sapphire Collar belongs to the original author we are sharing it with our readers with the express permission of the author. Please do not copy it in any form. The manuscript is going to be used to raise money for animal rescue as soon as drawings are completed of each of the characters. If you see this story appear anywhere other then Two Little Cavaliers please contact us so we can remedy the situation.