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SCAMS, business ideas, money pits, opportunities... Then there's
the spoilt rich-kid with his life-size 3d printer. He's scanned Rosa's
face. They are alone in the big house. What could possibly go
Download the Cinema Detectives Ten-Minute Play here.
Three actors, minimal staging!
Truth About Rosa
Pleck and the Cinema Detectives
Pleck won the
certificate for ‘Most Gifted Girl’ at Winson
Green Primary School.
But this slightly went to her head so
that when at Secondary she
didn’t do quite so well she got a bit of
teasing, although she was still clever and always had a wild
school at 16 – early – before taking her exams – because she wanted to
take a job
like her best friend
Jane, in a busy office. She realised her mistake after just a few weeks
but felt unable to correct it by returning ignominiously to school.
Prime was looking for a girl to handle the
office work at his new detective agency...”
later on, aware of Rosa’s unhappiness, her mother urged her to reply to
unusual job advertisement she had seen in the Birmingham
Someone called Kenneth Prime was looking for a girl to handle the
office work at his new detective agency. Rosa followed her mother’s
advice and was hired.
quickly for Ken, Rosa rapidly moved across from
office work to become Assistant Detective
and soon she was working away from the office more often
than Ken did.
sparse writing style, unique drawings
and touch of the absurd which
make up the work of Chris Reynolds have led to his being heralded as
perhaps the most exciting British talent in comics.’ -Northern
Ken and Rosa
Detectives: The Play
Download the Cinema Detectives Ten-Minute Play here.
Three actors, minimal staging!
Secret Behind Ken
Prime’s Business Success
working in the field for Xerox Copiers, Ken was promoted to a job
at head office.
But after a few months of this he began
to feel that
life was passing him by. He missed the thrill of going out on the road
and meeting people.
The death of his brother on Ken’s
thirtieth birthday shocked him into
realising that time was pressing and so he quit his job and set
himself up as a kind of free-lance salesman representing a wide range
of products. This, like his original job at Xerox, enabled him to get
out of the office and drive around the MidFs meeting people.
was while watching a film that he had the idea to use his ‘people
to become a detective...”
always been a film buff and it was while watching a film (Blade Runner!)
that he eventually had the idea to use his ‘people skills’ to
become a detective.
At first his detective agency was called
‘Prime Services’, the same as
his sales business.
Then his friendship with Rudolf Brex, a
film-maker and a major film
distributor in the Midlands, led to an interesting project. Brex
offered to make a series of ‘B-movies’ based on Prime’s cases, to run
before the main features in Brex’s chain of cinemas. These films were
surprisingly popular although they always struggled to be a success
financially. Brex’s enjoyment of the film-making was wonderful though.
It always made him laugh!
The films brought a lot of
business to the detective agency and led to ‘Prime Services’
becoming more generally known as the Cinema Detectives.
Detectives: BY THE BOOK
an interesting case even if it wasn’t one that Rudolf Brex
could easily make into one of his films about us. It was the year
they knocked down the old Hippodrome and Rudolf was angry because
he’d wanted to buy it.
I’m getting ahead of the story. My name is Ken Prime and I run
a detective agency in Birmingham, UK. My assistant is a girl called
Rosa Pleck. At the time of this adventure she had just moved into a
new flat with her friend Anne, and that day she was late for work
because she was still getting used to her new route.
got a new case,’ I said. ‘The owner of some bookshop has
just died and there are two lots of heirs. They can’t find the
old man’s money and they don’t trust each other so they
want someone impartial to go and search the shop, so I’m off
there to look.’
think the money’s in the shop?’
they were here just before you came, Mr. & Mrs. Moore and Mr.
Mrs. Lovell. They discovered that about six months ago the old man
cashed-in practically all his savings but now there’s no sign
I come and help?’
you really be interested in searching through piles of old books?’
I love old books! I just love that bookshop smell. Mouldy but kind of
“holy”. I’ll come too.’
drove there in one of the Land Rovers. It was a sunny morning at the
end of the winter. I even caught a glimpse of blossom on a tree
somewhere. We found the shop in a row of old buildings that didn’t
look as if they had much of a future but Rosa seemed very interested
in the street, looking around her slowly as if she could see things
that I couldn’t.
much of this part of Birmingham has been knocked down,’ I said,
trying to catch her mood. ‘Soulless buildings they’re
putting up now.’
only because there hasn’t been enough time for things to happen
was trying to empathise with you, Rosa,’ I said testily, but
she wasn’t listening to me.
wonder who bust the window?’
I said. ‘Ball-bearing guns. It’s a craze.’
let ourselves in. I tried the phone on the wall, which was still
working. I nodded towards the broken window pane. ‘I’ll
ring for the boarder-uppers.’
was standing in the middle of the shop.
hadn’t imagined we’d have to check this many books.’
was the main area of the shop and a stock room, also full of
bookshelves but in a mess, and a tiny office with a kettle, sink and
toilet and a lot of ‘booky’ clothes that
belonged to the owner. We’d probably have to go through those
began taking books down from the shelves nearest the window, flipping
through the pages and then placing the books in a neat row on the
floor. I started on the shelf opposite.
No one’s ever going to read many of these again,’ Rosa
said, putting some of the books back. ‘Hey, look at this!’
thought she had found something relevant but it was just another old
book, some kind of dull novel from years ago.
a girl detective,’ Rosa said, grinning, ‘Gail Storey –
someone came into the shop. It was Mrs. Moore, one of the heirs.
thought it was agreed with you and the Lovells that we would be doing
the checking of the shop,’ I said.
Moore looked at my stack of books on the floor.
come in case you two find the money and decide to keep it for
yourselves. Not working very quickly are you?’
was still grinning. I supposed it was OK that Mrs. Moore had come.
She couldn’t gain any unfair advantage over the Lovells while
we were there too.
uncle was a tricky old man,’ Mrs. Moore said. ‘I wouldn’t
have put it past him to hide his money deliberately just to annoy us
went across to the desk. I followed her to be sure of what she was
at this,’ she said, jabbing a finger at the blotter on the
desk, ‘And I thought you were meant to be the
words were written there in large block capitals, ‘SEWER
a clue, isn’t it?’ said Mrs. Moore. ‘It’s
like I said. The old fool’s left us a clue. A manhole or
something. Is there one of those around here? There must be.’
gave the desk a quick once-over because Mrs. Moore was right, we
should have checked the desk first. There were some rather more
valuable-looking books lying flat in one of the drawers. I thought
I’d flip through those but Mrs. Moore was already making her
way out into the yard behind the shop. I followed and saw her staring
back at me in triumph. She had found her manhole cover.
it up!’ said Mrs. Moore.
fetched tools from the land-rover and got the manhole open. There was
no sign of any money in the dark hole or of anything else either.
down and see!’ said Mrs. Moore.
didn’t like the look of it.
you won’t go down then I will,’ said Mrs. Moore
and stormed back out through the shop.
do you suppose she’s gone?’ I wondered.
her clothes, I expect,’ said Rosa.
let’s stop work for a bit. What do you want to
left Rosa in the shop and drove round to a burger place I knew on the
Bordesley Road but on the way I got a mobile call about some trouble
that had come up in the Clearwater case. The trouble was unavoidable
so I rang Rosa to tell her she wouldn’t be getting her promised
and guard the shop in case Mrs. Moore shows up again. I’ll be
back as soon as I can,’ I said. I knew that Rosa wouldn’t
mind too much. She hardly ate anything anyway.
Clearwater case took me all the way across to Wolverhampton and I
didn’t get back to the bookshop until six. I made sure I had
some food with me then. The lights of the bookshop were on when I
went in but Rosa didn’t seem to have gone through many more
books. She was just sitting at the desk reading her ‘Gail
Storey – Detective’ book.
we be carrying on?’ I said. ‘Did Mrs. Moore come back?’
did, and she went down the hole, got really filthy and got into a
foul temper, and she told me that I’m “useless” and
that a woman working as a detective is “little better than
being a prostitute”, but I didn’t care because I knew she
wasn’t going to find anything.’
do you mean?’
I found it first, and I put it in my bag.’
found … what? Are you sure?’
held out a piece of folded paper. Inside was a large, flawless, diamond.
after you’d gone; I worked out where it must be. There was a
receipt with it dated six months ago saying how much it cost –
no wonder Mrs. Moore was jumping. Look at the size of it. It would
only just fit under a thimble.’
“Sewer Cover”, a cover for a someone who’s sewing.
Like a crossword clue. I found it in a sewing kit by those old
clothes in the back.’
Grief! Clever … clever girl! Let’s get it back to the
office and into the safe! We’ll get it checked and then …
then we can get the Moores and the Lovells round tomorrow so they can
sort out what they’re going to do. Come on …’
I just want to finish this book.’
it home with you! I’m sure they’ll let you keep it as a
reward. Take it. No one else is ever going to be interested in it.’
don’t like to … ’
diamond was sold and the money from it was split between the heirs.
Rosa did keep the Gail Storey book, she kept it on her desk. But then
one day I noticed it was gone. I thought Rosa had taken it home as
was driving along the Bordesley Road about a month later when I
decided to do a little detour to see what had happened to the old
shop. It was sunny again so I thought I’d have another try at
capturing Rosa’s ‘feel’ for that street. I never
found out what Rosa had felt but I did find something else. The
boarder-uppers had secured the broken pane and now there was a ‘For
Sale’ sign up. I peered in through the door. The bookshelves
were empty, the shop had been cleared. But just sticking out from
under the pile of junk mail I saw a corner of the book, ‘Gail
Storey – Detective’. Rosa had been there and even though
the heirs were probably never going to visit again, she had given the