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Erasmus Septimus Knight
Erasmus Septimus Knight
Erasmus Septimus Knight
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Erasmus Septimus Knight

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What 12-year-old, would-be detective hasn’t wanted to solve a real crime? The trouble is the market town of Watlington in South Oxfordshire is a relatively peaceful place and there isn’t much criminality to investigate. However events take a turn for the strange when a spate of thefts occur. This mini crime wave is precisely the thing to get Erasmus Septimus Knight all fired up. Take a trip down memory lane – or rather the Author does in this semi autobiographical piece of childhood detective work. A montage of 1973-78, Jennings and contemporary life: apologies to those who may recognise themselves and feel free to get in touch...

Release dateDec 20, 2019
Erasmus Septimus Knight
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Oliver Franklin

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    Erasmus Septimus Knight - Oliver Franklin

    Erasmus Septimus Knight

    by Oliver Franklin

    Copyright © 2018 Oliver Franklin

    The author has asserted his moral rights

    Quotation taken from Cops and Robbers Copyright © Janet & Allan Ahlberg. The character of Grandma Swag is Copyright © Janet & Allan Ahlberg

    First published in 2018 by Buddlewood House

    Cover by P J Truscott – https://pjtruscott.wixsite.com/pjay/

    Typesetting, page design and layout by DocumentsandManuscripts.com

    The right of Oliver Franklin to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the copyright, design and patents acts pertaining. All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this work may be made without written permission from the author.

    Chapter 1

    A Nose For Trouble

    Erasmus Septimus Knight was twelve years old. He had recently decided to try his hand at poetry –

    Autumn in The Wood

    When the leaves start to fall, deciduous trees have none at all.

    With the conifers few leaves drop. Instead they sit up there at the top.

    Squirrels now have a great deal to do, building dreys and gathering food.

    As the shafts of light grow dim, all is quiet the forest within.

    Up and away through the trees, the birds are going to hotter countries.

    The nights are darker, shadows fly. Winter is now very nigh.

    He was very pleased with his effort but had difficulty persuading his parents and big sister to acknowledge his talent. The family lived in a little semi-detached cottage in Brook Street, Watlington. Next door, in Apple Tree Cottage lived elderly Mr and Mrs Humphries whom you may already have heard of, or may not but it doesn’t matter. Erasmus’ parents named him after a famous, fifteenth-century Dutch scholar and also the Latin word for ‘seventh’. However despite its auspicious ancestry Erasmus didn’t much like his first name. So he persuaded all his friends to call him by his middle name, Septimus, and when he had to sign anything, for example when receiving signed-for parcels at the front door or filling out crime reports, he would scrawl – E. Septimus Knight.

    Crime reports? Oh – yes – apart from the usual things that any other boy would get up to, living in a bustling village in South Oxfordshire, like school, violin lessons and finding ingenious ways to avoid playing football and talking to girls, he was also the world’s foremost, ace, crime-fighting hero.

    His most recent case involved solving the mystery of why his old school, Watlington Primary had moved to a new premises, the old site being partly demolished and redeveloped into luxury apartments and parish council offices. After an extensive investigation he discovered that it all boiled down to some Health and Safety regulations and, of course, money.

    After leaving playgroup all his posh friends like Jonathan Ostramoff, Edward Parlight and Tom Slocombe went to private school while others, like him, Christian Hewitt and Paul Maunder went to state school: in most cases Watlington Primary. Sited just around the corner from Erasmus’ house, in Victorian, red-brick buildings with a small quad in front, the school had closed during the summer holidays last year and since reopened at a new, purpose-built, characterless venue next to the community college. Septimus missed the old school. He missed sitting on the bench in the quad, waiting for one of the senior pupils to come and ring the old bell for the end of break.

    On one occasion he and his friend Christian had been daring each other to ring it without authorisation, to see what would happen. But as they sat there arguing about it, a senior girl ran over and clanged it. So they missed their chance and game was up.

    Nowadays he was attending Lord William’s School in Thame, a fifteen-minute drive by car and a bit longer on the bus. Lord William’s was originally a Grammar School but, like so many others it was forced by Government policy to merge and go Comprehensive. In 1971 it was combined with the Wenman School on Towersey Road to form a new school funded by the Local Education Authority. The Lord William’s name was retained and student numbers expanded rapidly with the school’s good reputation and the growth of the town and surrounding villages.

    It was a Friday afternoon in October and Septimus had just hopped off the bus, fifty yards from home. He was fortunate in that the school bus route encompassed Brook Street so he didn’t have far to walk. Now one thing we ought to cover at this point is that Septimus had a very keen sense of smell, which always comes in handy for a detective.

    Yes – so – he arrived home from school, opened the front door and immediately sniffed the air, looking curious.

    ‘Mum, have we had visitors today?’

    ‘Yes, dear,’ she called from the kitchen. ‘Cynthia came over from Bedford and we had lunch.’

    ‘Cynthia, your old nursing colleague?’ he replied, closing the door behind him and dropping his bag in the hall.

    ‘Yes, dear, we only know one Cynthia.’

    ‘She stayed in nursing far longer than you did. Didn’t you quit because you were scared of someone dying on you? Whatever did Grandma and Grandpa say when you turned up at their house and told them you’d walked out of the job?’

    ‘You know the answer to these questions perfectly well. Now stop being a nuisance, go and put your things upstairs and come down for tea!’

    Now the pair of semi-detached cottages on Brook Street were rather small, each being essentially two-up two-down with another room in the loft space. Anthony and Jane Knight had the master bedroom, Coraline the box room and Septimus’ was consigned to the attic. This made sense as he was by far the liveliest and noisiest member of the family.

    Painted in battleship grey at his request, and sporting rows

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