I had never realised that the famous crime writer Dorothy L Sayers was one of us - VS.
The morning sunshine, filtered, as it were, through London's Green Park, shone in on the second floor flat at 110A Piccadilly. It bounced playfully off the open, over-polished lid of the baby grand piano, scattered the too-blue hues of a cut glass bowl of centaurea cyanus in a dancing pattern across the ceiling, and fell on the protective glass doors of the large, crammed bookcases on the far wall, providing glimpses of the treasures inside: a Second Folio, the Beardsley-illustrated edition of Malory's Arthur You Legend, and, best of all, the serried ranks of Knuth's L'art de la programmaçion informatiq in their original Norman French.
A young man, resplendent in a silk dress-gown with a peacock motif, was perched delicately on the end of the Chesterfield, his flaxen head bent over a strange musical instrument. A tray of crumby breakfast plates lay on an occasional table at his elbow.
Suddenly, the room was filled with melody: one of the less well-known sonatas by Alexander Scriabin in the fiendish key of seven sharps. The young man sighed, and put down the vuvuzela - an original by Robert Reid of Newcastle, with a mother-of-pearl mouthpiece and exquisite detailing on the bell.
'Damn this thing! I can't squeeze a single note out of it. I take it, Bunter, that terrible row means you have in your inimitable way successfully fixed the doings of the thingumajig? If so, I suppose you had better answer it, fun though it is to play Peter-the-Hermit.'
'Very good, my lord', replied the man called Bunter, raising his voice so as to be heard from the pantry. He switched off his soldering iron and picked up the source of the offending noise, deftly closing its case over its freshly-replaced aerial and answering it in a single movement.
'Hello. Hello caller! This is Mayfair 15. You have reached the currently stationary but theoretically mobile telephone of Lord Peter Wimsey. This is Mervyn Bunter speaking. How may I be of assistance?' He listened intently for a few moments. 'Yes, sir. I am sure his lordship would be delighted to oblige. His lordship will meet you as suggested. Goodbye.'
'What's that, Bunter? Who was it on the blower at eight ack emma of the day? What did he want?'
'It was Chief Inspector Parker, my lord, wishing to know if you could see your way to meeting him at the Yard this morning. He says he has a lost murderer that will interest you. I took the liberty of saying that your lordship will be with him in 90 minutes.'
'Did you, by Jove? Well, quite right too. Can't waste away the morning tootlin' my vuvuzela. I had better have my bath and toddle along.'
'Yes, my lord. Shall I put out the malacca cane with the heavy silver top and concealed sword?'
'Actually Bunter, I better have the gent's folding brolly with 2TB memory stick concealed in the handle. One has to move with the times, what?'
'Yes, my lord,' said Mr Bunter stolidly.
* * *
'Charles, there you are! What's going on?' Wimsey had been escorted to a development room on the third floor and abruptly abandoned by the whiteboard. 'This doesn't look like a murder.'
'Thanks awfully for coming, Peter,' said Parker. 'This is Miss Kimberly. She will explain everything.'
Miss Kimberly was a severe looking woman in her fifties, dressed sensibly and unostentatiously, topped off with grim, grey bun of hair and a pair of spectacles of the 'severe brow' type that make it appear that the wearer is always frowning.