Fishy business

We found Silver dead underneath the table on which her aquarium sits today. Heeding the advice from Richard (that a dead fish isn’t always a dead fish), I put her back in the aquarium. She floated to the top and I don’t think any number of peas are going to revive her.

If you don’t understand the opening paragraph, you will need to read my earlier blog from 2 days ago first (Goldie – an apology).

I didn’t expect to return to the subject of goldfish so soon, but Silver’s demise has forced me to do this. It was shocking and unexpected. I have therefore decided to do my very best Herring Poirot and investigate how she was killed. The suspects:

1. Suicide or misadventure – the aquarium has a lid on it. This lid was undisturbed. There is however a small opening on the rear left-hand side (to allow access for the filter) through which a goldfish could conceivably escape. I can’t work out how it could find its way underneath the table. It’s the wrong plaice. (Also, suicide is very shellfish).

2. Lorna – she has the motive. She’s always carping on about ridding the house of excess pets for some time. However, she has already procured a replacement goldfish for Goldie from an emigrating family (so it would make no sense)

3. Nancy – along with misadventure, this appears to be the most likely option. She doesn’t appear to be too upset (unlike Silver). A bit too disturbing for me to contemplate further (reminds me of a boy at my school who used to torture cray flies by taking off a limb at a time).

4. Me – it wasn’t me

5. Tilly – surely not. Very nice girl in whose mouth butter would not even soften.

6. Broccoli the cat – she has the motive and the opportunity. However, she’s had 4 years of both and we’ve never seen her as much as try to reach the fish. Also, I suspect she would have eaten it.

7. Bluebell the dog – she never goes upstairs, though she does have form for murdering the gerbil.

8. Goldie – a bit unlikely maybe, but as Sherlock Holmes would say “When you eliminate all other possibilities, what remains, no matter how improbable, must be the solution”. So here’s the hypothesis. Goldie extricates herself from the compost bin, flips her way along the corridor and then upstairs, opens Nancy’s door, jumps up on the table, slides up the aquarium and squeezes through the gap in the top, does the deed, drags the corpse out of the tank and then repeats the aforementioned in reverse order. Ok, perhaps we can exclude that one too.

9. Contract killing – by whom I don’t know. And for what reason? Was Silver a prawn in a much wider mystery? If it is an undersea killing, I doubt we’ll ever find out more. Everyone will just clam up. Also, who could afford to pay? Possibly twice the cost of Silver herself (six squid***)

10. Evolution – we are all descended from sea creatures. Maybe Silver was (belatedly) trying to evolve?

11. Act of Cod – too good a joke to pass

As you can see, I’m floundering. A reconstruction may not be entirely ethical (they make you leave your address and sign when you buy livestock these days). An autopsy would be useful; time of death would be very useful in excluding a number of suspects.

Can anyone help? I attach two pictures as evidence. The first captures the gap in the top of the tank. Is it possible that the fish escaped? (Incidentally, Richard, could you confirm whether the fish is dead?). The second picture shows where she was found

I am a little worried about writing this down. I fear the RSPCF* seeing this blog and preventing us from owning fish again.

*I understand that this joke can only be understood by British readers** The equivalent joke for Americans would be ASPCF, for French probably FCPSR and there’s probably little point in translating the joke into German.
**RSPCA stands for Royal Society for Protection from Cruelty to Animals
***Another British joke


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melville on September 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Brilliant. Nothing to carp about with this one, although I think some of the reviews of the suspects are red herrings. I hope that you found the fish quite early ofter its demise since it could have given of quite a s-trench. I think that this goes deeper and that somehow Silver was a prawn in a much bigger game, in fact he/she is a mere sprat – indeed there are much bigger fish to fry.

    I can hear you whaling from here.


  2. I did consider many of the above puns (….before rejecting them). I do like the s-tench pun though. Wish I had thought of that one.


  3. […] a Comment We adopted 2 new fish last weekend. After the tragic but separate demises of Goldie and Silver (click links for details), some readers may find it concerning that we should be allowed any […]


  4. Posted by Jim Rees on February 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Hi Julian,

    This reminds me of the finding Nemo movie where the fish are attempting to escape from the fish tank. Great movie and I’m sure there are a loads of puns in there for you to use on future posts if you have trouble with other fish.


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