“Welcome one and all to this spooky tour of Bendaton Cemetery” began Melba once his crowd of twenty or so five pound notes (let’s be honest, that’s all they were to me – dreadful oiks the lot of them but a valuable contribution to our fund raising effort and deserving of at least fiscal respect) had assembled around him. “The great and the good from Bendaton’s past, present and future are buried here.”

“Erm, I don’t think the great and the good from the present or future are going to be in a cemetery” said a voice from the back. My heart sank when I saw Miles Saragh-Jayne had joined the party. I’ve mentioned before that I find pedantry an enormously attractive quality in a person but his wilful brand of deconstructivism wasn’t welcome when he reviewed my monograph about jabolite boulders (under a pseudonym but I knew it was him and the forensic proof readers I hired to track the culprit down came to the same conclusion in exchange for £150 in cash) and it wasn’t welcome here. I couldn’t remonstrate with him though as it would mean breaking my cover so I bit my lip and continued to crouch expectantly like a native woman giving birth somewhere primitive. That is where the comparison ends.

“Ah… well… good point” said Melba, a man who clearly isn’t used to being knocked out of his stride so early. That’s why my training at the telehistorical hustings has stood me in such good stead. Many is the opening remark that would be interrupted by a verbal or physical volley and I became pretty adept at ignoring anything up to and including hard boiled eggs. Sticks, stones and words will never hurt me but hard boiled eggs will come pretty close. Especially when thrown by short people who can’t get any higher than a gentleman’s utterly unmentionable area.

“Carry on” said Saragh-Jayne just as Melba seemed to be getting his wits back about him. This second, cunningly timed, interruption only served to throw him even further off his stride.

“Um… past… probably… like… um…”

He buried his face in his notes, lit by a small torch which he held in his mouth to get him off having to speak which was probably the best idea he’d had all day.

“Over there” he pointed once the torch was removed, “is the grave of one of Bendaton’s most famous sons – the Earl of Babbingfield who was playing cards one night and asked his footman to make him a light snack of two slices of beef between four slices of bread. The Babbingfield Bap was neck and neck with the Earl of Sandwich’s sandwich on the lunch plates of England until well into the 18th century before it fell into disuse when people realised they could just have two sandwiches and save themselves the bother of maintaining two sets of luncheon plates.”

The party murmured a light, collective murmur of mild interest.

“And over there is the grave of Simon Phipps – the notorious murderer who is believed to have killed eight people and eaten their heads before he was hanged.”

The collective mood brightened.

“Over there is the last resting place of Torbert Satchell, the infamous murderer who, legend has it, killed six people and ate their feet before he was hanged.”

The mood was definitely getting better. Everyone except the victims loves a good serial killer.

“Over yonder is the grave of Timothy Hutch-Hutchinson, the famous murderer who, so the prosecution had it, killed nine people and ate their livers, lungs and knee cartilage before he was hanged.”

The mood peaked just before the sticky matter of eating knee cartilage came up. I could’ve told him there are some details that are best left off – a lesson I learned when I let Dr Flapjack insert a medical summary into my CV and I failed to get on the BBC board of directors.

“That way you’ll find the grave of Sir Maxwell Dome, the man known as “The Black Phantom of Death Shadow” who killed thirteen people and used their skulls for macabre games of croquet before he was hanged.”

The mood rose – unusual use of body parts is popular amongst the scum.

“On the other side you’ll find the grave of Hammy Hammond who hit the headlines for killing five people and eating the whole left sides of their bodies before he was hanged.”

“Is there anyone here who isn’t a serial killer?” asked Saragh-Jayne.

“Um… I’ve mentioned the Earl of Babbingfield… erm…. Ah yes – there’s the grave of Donald Brent, the famous Star Trek cataloguer.”

There was a groan of disappointment from the proles.

“He was murdered by a serial killer – the infamous Alan, better known as his father, Wollaston Brent.”

The mood perked up.

“So is that the Brent family plot?” asked a prole.

“It is – ten generations of Brents lie beneath that sacred ground” eulogised Melba. I hadn’t realised the significance of where I stood – they’d never told me where they were buried as they didn’t want me to feel like I had to join them given my growing international reputation. I was near the back – Donald being the black sheep of the family owning to his crippling dullness – and was able to witness the horrifying sight of two thirds of the tour party coming over to the Brent family plot, unzipping themselves and relieving their bladders all over the headstones. I was sorely tempted to take them to task for this but couldn’t bring myself to pop up while there were body parts flapping around in the chilly night air. One might point at me or – god help me – brush against me in the dark. Even if it didn’t, I might imagine it had and never get the thought out of my head.

“Um…” said Melba as he realised how badly he was losing control of his group, “could you gather round – I’ve got some more serial killers to tell you about.” But they weren’t listening. The ones that weren’t relieving themselves were dancing on the graves.

“I think I can see a ghost” cried Melba in a last ditch attempt to get their attention. That sounded like a cue to me. I looked over to Francois Devine and, as if god intended to give us the best possible chance of making an impression, the church clock chimed the hour as we rose to our feet to terrify the proles.