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“I have told Rose that there will be a chauffeur for dinner,” she ended, frowning slightly at the cannibalistic sound of her sentence.
“At any rate,” ended Philippa-Dawn, staring up at the garland of silver monsters gently swaying above them in the evening sky, “at any rate, it’ll be a change of Balloons.”
When I asked the local chemist for lint and disinfectant, he felt it was only fair to allow the first-aid post to claim me. . . . Half a dozen V.A.D.s made a rush at me and treated my small abrasion as though my whole head had been blown off.
Instinctively Frances fumbled in her handbag for a torch before she faced the lights and the certainty of the lifted black-out. For some time now she had taken streetlighting for granted, but in her present sense of withdrawal she had forgotten.
Tom came running up, pulling at his socks, so that there seemed something hiccuping, drunken, in his progress.
“We have been cleaning up,” he said cheerfully.
Mrs. Oxford winced. These poor children in their menial roles—And here came Sarah, with a smut on her cheek.
“It’s awful to think that there are nine of us here to-day at this table and in six months’ time we may all be dead,” said Miss Purbeck. “There were thousands killed last night, so the bus conductor told me.”
“You certainly are our little ray of sunshine,” said Elsie scornfully.
It was curious that the aerial bombardment of London, which had ennobled so much that was normally sordid, should only debase a love affair between two people who had managed for three years to overcome the threat to their relations implicit in all such. To die together would be simple. It would not be so simple to be dug out still alive...
To look at Miss Georgina Carter you would never have suspected that a woman of her age and character would have allowed herself to be so wholeheartedly mixed up with an Ifrit.
I wonder how many women today are back in their pre-war ruts. For how many was the war merely a temporary disarrangement and for how many others has it meant complete re-adjustment, an entirely new set of circumstances? This is a stupid thought for me to have when, even in my own case, I don’t know the answer.
‘Maybe,’ he said guardedly, and then as a kind of afterthought: ‘Just slipping along to Hampstead. Charles Manfrey’s dead.’
Near the right temple was a hole, and down the forehead and along the nose was dried blood.
It was Murder Eve, and I was the last person in Sandbeach to suspect it.
“I have an idea that a certain man is going to commit murder. He told me so—in so many words.”
The murderer was clever and the planning was perfect. There was apparently nothing that had been overlooked and nothing that didn’t go to plan. There was nothing that could be called a slip. Why then was the murderer caught?
“Murder’s my job, not parish politics.”
“At first it may seem an astounding coincidence that two members of a family should have considered it necessary to ask for the services of the same detective agency. I think I can prove otherwise, and even if I can’t, the facts remain. Alice Stonhill and Peter Wesslake did precisely what I have said, and what’s more . . .”
I was thinking of offering Godfrey Prial some sort of partnership. I’m pretty sure now of at least two things—that he liked me, and that he’d have accepted. If he’d lived.
He was deader than last year’s hit-song. At the side of the skull was where the bullet had done its work.
“Famous Spiritualist Dead . . . Gun Found in Flat”
“I want to catch them. To do that we’ve got to lead them on. Now listen to me.”
Together they looked down at the inert sprawling figure of a man fantastically dressed in red-and-white-striped pyjama trousers, with a red sash belt and a white silk shirt open at the neck.
It had been so quickly done that he felt almost as if a little knife had actually flashed by him and stuck, quivering, in the door at his back.
Murder in the poisoned bosom of a genteel, if alarmingly dysfunctional, family in the English countryside.
“We’ve managed to head off the Press men so far. But that won’t last. We can’t escape publicity, and the reading public enjoys murders.”
“Not content with mucking up my front garden with corpses, you dare to suggest that the wretched creature passed out in my house!”
“What earthly grounds are there for believing it to be murder! Great Scott, man! Accidental drowning is tragic enough! And the young lady, Miss Torrington, could swim like a fish too!”
The plot takes Stephen on an amazing journey of subterfuge, secret codes, nightclubs, spies, rural England and romance.
“Murder’s an ugly thing!” Detective Inspector Haig said. “Maybe you’ll not want to attend the funeral.”
As the door closed, Thelma said, “I know one funeral I wouldn’t mind attending.”
“Jiminy! He’s going to fish for him.”
Why should a holidaymaker, sitting to enjoy a game of village cricket, suddenly meet with death in the shape of a flying bullet?
“I think you had better telephone for the police,” he said. “This woman has been poisoned.”
At what point in the life of Edward Packman did the Angel of Death put his finger on him and say “You are mine!”?