Perhaps because I picked up, on a whim, Dorothy L. Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon at the library the other day, the early morning sight of the chooks’ umbrella crushed in their run looked like the scene of a crime.

Crime scene: 7:17am

The chooks huddled in behind me muttering their suspicions as I examined and photographed the scene. Their perches had been rendered inaccessible by the collapse of their umbrella roof.

There had been no wind in the night nor anything else of a natural sort I could think of which would explain the catastrophe. After I’d shut the chooks in their run last evening, I did see next door’s cat skulking around as usual, but she’s a slight little thing. The umbrella was practically inverted.

I removed the umbrella, which involved untying the many pieces of string securing it. The chooks immediately reclaimed possession of their living room.

Ownership asserted: 7:20am

With its spokes broken and twisted, whichever way you look at it, the umbrella is past help.

I wouldn’t make a detective – I completely forgot to look for footprints – or paw prints – in the dusty soil. But, looking closely at the photo of the crime scene I can see what looks suspiciously like a chicken bone. This will have emerged from the chooks’ recent excavations where compost had been dug in before the area was a chicken run. I quickly palm any such evidence of my carnivorous lapses (which now rarely include chicken) to conceal my crime, but I must have missed this one. Is it a clue? Was it an inside job?

Scarier thought: That’s pretty much the spot where my cat Skipper was buried a few years ago… Should my inspiration be further from the diverting Dorothy L. Sayers and closer to the frightening Edgar Allen Poe?