Celebrated Belgian detective Hercule Poirot has slammed the increasing use of closed circuit television cameras by rural police forces investigating killings in English country houses. DNA fingerprinting CCTV, he claimed, makes it increasingly difficult for eccentric amateurs to track down posh murderers, is preventing them from giving themselves away by killing again and not leaving enough time for anything else interesting to happen.
‘Eh bien, mes amis, it is no longer sufficient to use the little grey cells to sift through the red herrings and trap a murderer weeks later after they lurk around in the background with no obvious motive and/or a firm alibi,’ he lamented. ‘I thought the English were, ‘ow you say, ‘sporting’ about such matters.'
Poirot’s comments came in the wake of the arrest of Chief Superintendent William Sugden for the murder of 82-year-old Simeon Lee at his mansion in Hampshire last week.
Sugden, who was Lee’s unknown illegitimate son, had called in on a pretext, slit Lee's throat in his office, locked the door and rigged up the room so that he could pull on a rope outside and make it sound that a violent struggle was going on. This was all captured on the CCTV cameras Lee had installed outside after a burglary last year.
However, others who were in the house at the time have attacked Poirot’s comments. Many had reasons to dislike the cantankerous multi-millionaire, who had made his fortune in diamond mining in South Africa, and feared being suspected of the murder.
‘I’m relieved they caught Sugden so quickly, when I had such an obvious motive,’ said Stephen Grant, who posed as the son of Lee’s long-dead business partner to gain access to the house, when he was in fact Lee’s other illegitimate son.
‘Admittedly, it does mean that I’ll have to go home now and won’t have the time to fall in love with Teresa Munoz, who was posing as his long-lost Spanish grand-daughter Pilar Estravados, who died last year. But swings and roundabouts, eh? Can I make a borderline anti-Semitic comment now?’
For one famous Belgian detective, however, it all means will have to find another way to occupy himself in retirement. ‘Excuse me, monsieur, I must return to my apartment furiously to think about my role in today’s world,’ he said. ‘George, if you would be so kind as to bring me another sirop de cassis, right fuckin’ now.’