Bloody Scotland, the first international festival of crime writing held in Stirling last weekend, was hailed as a success.
But the event, we can reveal, was marked by mysterious disappearances, terrible murders and a general of air of danger and deception.
First inkling of dark forces at work came when Inspector Jim Taggart of Strathclyde polis failed to turn up at a workshop on the proliferation of battered corpses discovered in the Maryhill area of Glasgow. Inspector Taggart had been last seen conducting inquiries at a butcher's shop in Partick. A quantity of black pudding was later removed from the premises for forensic examination.
Inspector John Rebus set off for the conference in Stirling but was fatally run down by a tram near Haymarket. This has puzzled investigating officers since the system is not yet operational. It is thought he may have been drinking before the incident.
There were fears for the safety of Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The mystery was solved when her hotel night porter explained that Ramotswe had been dawn-raided by the UK Border Agency and put on a flight to Botswana.
Sherlock Holmes, who used the crime writing gathering as an opportunity to investigate the case of the Hound of the Raploch, was found dead in suspicious circumstances. Dodgy drugs were ruled out after his companion Dr Watson deduced from the remnants of a deep-fried pizza and a can of full fat Irn-Bru that Holmes had succumbed to a Scottish heart attack.
Riddles remain about certain authors. Kirkcaldy-born Val McDermid went AWOL and was eventually found dancing in the streets of Raith after a football match. No-one will ever know what happened to Quintin Jardine, the former press officer turned detective author. A spokesperson said they did not discuss the cases of individual crime writers.
Most gruesome find was the bound and tortured body of PC Murdoch of Blairgowrie police. A guddled trout had been forced into his mouth, thought to be a mafia reference to swimming with the fishes. Cause of death was a series of vicious catapult wounds.
Police want to trace a youth with spiky fair hair and wearing dungarees who made a getaway from the scene in a cairtie. Police suspect his gang may have been conducting a vendetta against PC Murdoch.
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