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The Very First Detective: The Killing Stone

by Nik Morton

About the Author: Nik served in the Royal Navy. He has been writing for over 40 years; he sold his first short story in 1971 and over 100 since, plus many articles, cartoons and illustrations. He sold his first book in 2007. His latest books are Continuity Girl and Mission: Khyber. Many of his short stories have been collected in a series of themed books. He lives in Spain with his wife Jennifer.


Being a translation of a series of controversial prehistoric paintings on stone tablets recently discovered in a secret cave complex in the Pyrenees.1

Wailing and the gnashing of teeth went out from the side of the river as I strolled the bankside with my old friend. In a trice, Olmes took in the scene and shouted, “Do not touch a thing!”

Although eight or nine summers older than I, he was decidedly sprightly, his deerskin robe billowing out behind him. My bones ached as I lumbered down the earthy slope in his wake, aggravated by my battle-wounded leg. I found it quite difficult to negotiate the jumble of large pebbles in my thin hide sandals.

The washerwomen stepped back to let us both pass.

Sprawled on the ground was Mus, a young man of our clan. I knelt down by his head, which had been bashed repeatedly with something heavy and blunt. “He’s dead,” I said. I should know, as I was the clan’s medicine man. Beside him were the remains of a fire encircled by blackened stones. I recalled that Mus was on watch duty last night. Not so long ago in the counting of our ancestors’ days, it would have been a great sin to let a fire go out. But that was before Festus brought firemaking to our clan with the aid of my lifelong friend. Now, at least two clansmen are entrusted with the special stone that creates sparks on flint.2

“There’s the weapon,” Olmes said, pointing.

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