Mr Fred

John Buxton Hilton

09 August 2012
154 pages


“There is nothing that calls back the past so vividly as an old and familiar smell. I knew then what had turned my thoughts to Mr Fred tonight. I am over eighty now, but that aroma would still take me back. When Inspector Brunt tore the door open in front of my face, I caught the tang of a brand of pipe tobacco that I shall recognize to my dying day.

Inspector Brunt, of course, thought it was my father’s.”

The setting of this powerful mystery is Edwardian Derbyshire. The story is told by Kathy in her old age, but the events she describes took place when she was still a child at school, living in abysmal poverty. Kathy secretly encounters the mysterious Mr Fred who is being hidden on her father’s farm. But why? Who is Mr Fred? What is the truth behind the scandalous rumours about him? Surely it cannot be true that this kindly man is a pervert and a murderer? And why does her dull-witted brother finally murder him? If he did . . .