The ordeal moved on to the next stage, which consisted of the stewed tea and watery coffee prepared by the Mother’s Union to accompany their pink- and green-iced biscuits. Everyone knew the colonel, everyone came over to talk with him, and everyone glanced sideways at me before being introduced. I was certain that at any minute some acquaintance would recognise me and all would be lost, but I was spared that. I suppose the circle Holmes and I moved in, if it can be described by that term, had little overlap with that particular church population.

I was positively quivering by the time the colonel bade his farewells to the few remaining parishioners in the church hall, though whether my reaction was one of suppressed hysterical laughter or the urge to commit mass ecclesiasticide, I am still unsure.