فصل 08

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter eight

Murder

One night the telephone rang at the local police station. The Sergeant who answered quickly wrote down some details, and then hurried off to find his colleagues.

‘A murder at Meadowbank school?’ said Detective Inspector Kelsey, greatly surprised. ‘Who’s been murdered?’

‘The Games teacher, sir,’ said the Sergeant. ‘Her name’s Miss Springer. She’s been found shot dead in the school’s Sports Pavilion.’

‘Did they find the gun?’ asked Kelsey.

‘No, sir.’

‘Interesting,’ said Detective Inspector Kelsey. He called his team together, and they left quickly to do their job.

At Meadowbank Inspector Kelsey was met by Miss Bulstrode. ‘What would you like to do first, Inspector,’ she asked, ‘visit the Sports Pavilion or hear the full details?’

‘If someone could show the doctor and my two Sergeants where the body is,’ replied Kelsey, ‘I’d like a few words with you first.’

‘Certainly.’ Miss Bulstrode arranged everything without fuss. ‘Come with me.’

‘Who found the body?’ asked Kelsey, as he followed Miss Bulstrode into her sitting room.

‘Miss Johnson, the matron,’ said Miss Bulstrode.

‘I’ll talk to her in a minute,’ Kelsey said. ‘First, can you tell me about the murdered woman?’

‘Her name is Grace Springer - she was new this term.’

And what do you know about her?’

‘I hadn’t met her before this term, but her references were excellent,’ said Miss Bulstrode.

‘Have you got any idea at all why this happened? Was she unhappy? Was she seeing anyone - a man, perhaps?’

Miss Bulstrode shook her head. ‘Not that I know of,’ she replied. ‘And it seems very unlikely. She was not that kind of woman.’

‘Was there any reason why Miss Springer should be in the Sports Pavilion at night?’ continued Kelsey.

‘No reason at all,’ said Miss Bulstrode.

‘Very well, Miss Bulstrode. I’ll talk to Miss Johnson now.’ Miss Johnson had been given a lot of brandy to drink after her discovery of the body, which made her very talkative. ‘Such an awful thing to happen,’ she said to Inspector Kelsey. ‘I can’t believe it. Miss Springer was so - well, so sure of herself. The sort of woman who could deal with a burglar all by herself.’

‘A burglar?’ said Inspector Kelsey. ‘Was there anything to steal in the Sports Pavilion?’

‘Well, no, not really - just swimsuits and sports equipment.’

‘Were there any signs of a break-in?’ asked the Inspector.

‘I don’t really know,’ said Miss Johnson. ‘The door was open when we got there and -‘

‘There were no signs of a break-in,’ interrupted Miss Bulstrode. ‘I see,’ said Kelsey. ‘Someone used a key.’ He looked at Miss Johnson. ‘Did people like Miss Springer?’ he asked.

‘I don’t think so,’ said Miss Johnson slowly. ‘She was very sure of herself - sometimes quite rude - and was quite nosey.’

‘Now, Miss Johnson,’ said Kelsey. ‘Tell me exactly what happened.’

‘It was late, and I was up with one of our pupils, who was ill. I looked out of the window and saw a light in the Sports Pavilion. It was moving about.’

‘So it was a torch?’

‘Yes, it must have been. I didn’t think of burglars. I thought it was one of our pupils - meeting a boy, perhaps. I didn’t want to disturb Miss Bulstrode, so I went to ask Miss Chadwick to come with me and see what was going on. We went out by the side door and were standing on the path, when we heard a shot from the Sports Pavilion. We ran there as fast as we could. The door was open, and we switched on the light and -‘

Kelsey interrupted. ‘So the Sports Pavilion was dark when you got there?’

‘Yes. We switched on the light and there she was. She -‘

‘That’s all right,’ said Inspector Kelsey kindly, ‘I’ll go and see for myself. Did you meet anyone, or hear anyone running away?’

‘No, we didn’t,’ said Miss Johnson.

‘Well, thank you,’ said Inspector Kelsey. ‘That’s very clear. I’ll go out to the Sports Pavilion now.’

‘I’ll come with you,’ said Miss Bulstrode, and led Inspector Kelsey out to the Sports Pavilion, where the police were busy.

As the Inspector entered the Pavilion, he could see the girls’ lockers, a stand for tennis racquets and hockey sticks, and a door that led off to the showers and changing rooms. The police photographer and the officer testing for fingerprints had just finished.

The police doctor was kneeling by the body, and looked up as Kelsey approached. ‘She was shot from about four feet away,’ said the doctor. ‘The bullet went through the heart and killed her immediately.’

‘How long ago?’

‘About an hour ago,’ replied the doctor.

Kelsey nodded, and went to talk to Miss Chadwick, who was standing against the wall. She was very calm.

‘Miss Chadwick?’ he said. ‘You and Miss Johnson discovered the body. Do you know what time it was?’

‘It was ten minutes to one when Miss Johnson woke me.’ Kelsey nodded. He looked down at the dead woman. Her bright red hair was short and she had a thin, athletic body. She was wearing a dark heavy skirt and sweater.

‘Have you found the gun?’ asked Kelsey.

‘No, sir,’ said one of his men. ‘But there is a torch with the dead woman’s fingerprints on it.’

‘So Miss Springer had the torch,’ said Kelsey thoughtfully. ‘Any idea why she was here?’ he asked Miss Chadwick.

‘No,’ replied Miss Chadwick, shaking her head. ‘No idea at all. Perhaps she came to find something she’d forgotten - though it seems rather late to do that.’

Kelsey looked around him. Nothing seemed disturbed except the stand of tennis racquets, several of which were lying around on the floor.

‘Perhaps,’ continued Miss Chadwick, ‘Miss Springer saw a light and came to investigate, like we did. She was confident enough to do that on her own.’

‘Was the side door of the house unlocked?’

‘Yes,’ said Miss Chadwick. ‘Miss Springer probably unlocked it.’ Inspector Kelsey turned back to Miss Bulstrode, who was standing by the door. ‘So, Miss Springer saw a light in the Sports Pavilion and came to investigate. And then she was shot.’

‘But why would someone shoot her?’ said Miss Bulstrode. ‘Surely they would just run away? There’s nothing here worth stealing, and certainly nothing worth murdering for.’

‘So do you think that Miss Springer interrupted a meeting of some kind? A local boy, perhaps?’

‘That seems more likely,’ said Miss Bulstrode. ‘Except local boys - and the girls in my school - don’t have guns…’

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