فصل 20

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فصل 20

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER TWENTY

Lance and Pat walked around the grounds of Yewtree Lodge. ‘There’s something extremely frightening about a poisoner,’ said Pat. ‘I mean they must have a terrible mind, filled with thoughts of revenge.’

‘Funny! I just think of it as business-like and cold-blooded.’

‘To do three murders… Whoever did it must be mad,’ Pat said.

‘Yes,’ said Lance, in a low voice. ‘I’m afraid so. Please, Pat, go back to London - it worries me to death to have you here.’

Pat said quietly, ‘You know who it is, don’t you?’

‘No, I don’t.’

‘But you think you know… That’s why you’re frightened for me. I wish you would tell me. But I’m staying here. Lance, you’re my husband and my place is here with you.’ She added, ‘Although maybe you would be better without me - because I always bring bad luck to the men I love.’

‘My dearest, you haven’t brought bad luck to me. Look how after I married you, Father sent for me to come home and make friends with him.’

‘Yes, and what happened when you did come home? I tell you, I’m unlucky to people.’

Lance took her by the shoulders and shook her. ‘You’re my Pat and to be married to you is the greatest luck in the world. But Pat, I just wish you’d go away from here.’

‘Darling,’ said Pat. ‘I’m not going.’

‘Then when I’m not around, stay close to that old lady. What’s-her-name? Marple. Why do you think Aunt Effie asked her to stay here?’

‘Goodness knows why Aunt Effie does anything. Lance, how long are we going to stay here? The house belongs to your brother now and he doesn’t really want us here, does he? Are we going back to East Africa or what?’

‘Is that what you’d like to do, Pat?’ She nodded.

‘That’s lucky,’ said Lance, ‘because it’s what I’d like to do, too.’ Pat’s face brightened. ‘From what you said the other day, I was afraid you might want to stay here.’

‘You mustn’t say anything about our plans, Pat,’ Lance said. ‘I want to worry Percival a little longer.’

‘Oh, Lance, do be careful.’

‘I’ll be careful, my sweet, but I don’t see why he should always get what he wants!’

With her head a little on one side, Miss Marple sat in the large drawing-room listening to Jennifer Fortescue. Jennifer had a lot of complaints and the relief of telling them to a stranger was huge.

‘Of course I never want to complain,’ said Jennifer. ‘What I always say is that I must put up with things and I’m sure I’ve never said a word to anyone, but in some ways I feel very lonely here. Fortunately our new house is almost ready to move into. My husband, of course, has been quite satisfied living here. But then it’s different for a man. Don’t you agree?’

Miss Marple agreed, and it was what she really believed. Men needed two eggs plus bacon for breakfast, three good meals a day and were never to be argued with before dinner. Jennifer continued. ‘My husband, you see, is away all day in the city. But I am alone here with no pleasant company at all. The people round here are really not my kind. They’re all very rich down here. They play cards for money, and there’s a great deal of drinking. And I don’t want to say anything against the dead, but my mother-in-law was absolutely man-mad. And the way she spent money! It troubled Percival very much, very much indeed. And then what with Mr Fortescue being so terribly angry some days and spending huge amounts of money. Well - it wasn’t at all nice.’

‘That must have worried your husband, too?’ asked Miss Marple.

‘Oh, yes, it did. For the last year he’s been very worried indeed. He changed, even towards me. Then Elaine, my sister- in-law, she’s a very strange sort of girl. She never wants to go to London and shop, or go to a play. She isn’t even interested in clothes.’ Jennifer sighed. ‘You must think it most strange, talking to you like this when we really don’t know one another…’

‘Not at all strange, my dear, I know just how you feel,’ said Miss Marple. And this again was true. Jennifer’s husband was obviously bored by her and the poor woman hadn’t made any local friends. ‘I hope it’s not rude of me to say so,’ said Miss Marple in a gentle old lady’s voice, ‘but I really feel that Mr Rex Fortescue cannot have been a very nice man.’

‘He wasn’t,’ said his daughter-in-law. ‘He was a horrible old man. It’s not surprising that someone murdered him.’

‘You’ve no idea at all who…’ began Miss Marple and broke off. ‘Oh dear, perhaps this is a question I should not ask - not even an idea who - who - well, who it might have been?’

‘Oh, I think it was that horrible man Crump,’ said Jennifer. ‘I’ve always disliked him very much.’

‘Still, there would have to be a motive.’

‘I really don’t know if that sort of person needs much motive. Of course, I did suspect that it was Adele who poisoned Mr Fortescue. But now we can’t suspect that as she’s been poisoned herself. Oh dear, sometimes I feel I must get away - that if it doesn’t all stop soon, I shall - I shall actually run away.’ She leant back, studying Miss Marple’s face. ‘But perhaps - that wouldn’t be wise?’

‘No - I don’t think it would be very wise - the police could soon find you, you know.’

‘You think they’re clever enough for that?’

‘It is very foolish to underestimate the police. Inspector Neele seems to be a particularly intelligent man,’ said Miss Marple.

‘I can’t help feeling…’ Jennifer Fortescue hesitated, ‘that it’s dangerous to stay here.’

‘Dangerous for you, you mean? Because of something you - know?’

‘Oh no - of course I don’t know anything. What should I know? It’s just - just that I’m nervous. That man Crump…’

But it was not, Miss Marple thought, of Crump that Mrs Jennifer Fortescue was thinking. And for some reason Jennifer Fortescue was very badly frightened indeed.

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