فصل 08

مجموعه: کارآگاه مارپل / کتاب: یک جیب پر از گندم سیاه / فصل 8

فصل 08

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Back at Scotland Yard, the Assistant Commissioner had been listening to Neele giving his report. ‘It sounds to me as if the wife murdered him,’ said the Assistant Commissioner. ‘What do you think, Neele, eh?’

Inspector Neele said that it looked like the wife to him, too. ‘What about the other people in the house who had the opportunity?’ asked the Assistant Commissioner.

‘The daughter, Elaine, was involved with a young man, Gerald Wright, but her father didn’t want her to marry him. And he definitely wasn’t going to marry her unless she had money. That gives her a motive. As to the daughter-in-law, Jennifer, I don’t know enough about her yet. But any one of the three of them could have poisoned him. The parlour maid, the butler and the cook all handled the breakfast or brought it in, but I don’t see how any of them could have been sure that Fortescue would get the Taxine and nobody else. The butler and the parlour maid both seem nervous, but there’s nothing unusual about that with servants. The cook’s angry and the housemaid was pleased. In fact, all quite natural and normal.’

‘Is there anybody else who might be suspicious in some way?’

‘No, I don’t think so, Sir.’ Inspector Neele’s mind went to Mary Dove, but aloud he said, ‘Now that analysis has shown that it’s definitely Taxine, it should be possible to find some evidence as to how it was prepared.’

‘Well, go ahead, Neele. By the way, Mr Percival Fortescue is waiting to see you. We’ve found the other son, Lance, too. He’s in Paris, leaving today. You’ll arrange for someone to meet him at the airport, won’t you?’

‘Yes, Sir.’

Mr Percival Fortescue was a neat, fair man of about thirty, with pale hair and eyelashes. ‘This has been a terrible shock to me, Inspector Neele, as you can well imagine. I can only say that my father was perfectly well when I left. This food poisoning must have been very sudden?’

‘It was very sudden, yes. But it wasn’t food poisoning. Your father was poisoned by Taxine.’

‘Taxine? I’ve never heard of it.’

‘Very few people have. It is a most unpleasant poison.’

‘That’s terrible!’

‘Yes indeed, Mr Fortescue.’

‘May I ask, do you have any ideas, any suspicions of who could… Really, I…’ He broke off.

‘It’s rather soon for that, Mr Fortescue. It would be helpful if you could give us some idea of your father’s will.’

‘My father made a new will when he got married two years ago,’ said Percival. ‘He left 100,000 pounds to his wife and 50,000 pounds to my sister, Elaine. I inherit everything else. I am already, of course, a partner in the firm.’

‘There was no bequest to your brother, Lance?’

‘No, my father had refused to have any contact with my brother for a long time.’

‘So,’ said Inspector Neele, ‘the three people who inherit your father’s fortune are Mrs Adele Fortescue, Miss Elaine Fortescue and yourself?’

‘I don’t think there will be much of a fortune.’ Percival sighed. ‘There are death duties, and lately my father had been behaving recklessly in some of his financial dealings.’

‘You say your father and brother were not in touch with one another? Then perhaps you can tell me what this means?’ Neele gave him the telephone message Mary Dove had written down.

Percival was surprised and annoyed. ‘I can’t understand it, I really can’t. I can hardly believe it.’

‘Your father said nothing to you about it?’

‘He certainly did not. How outrageous of him. To go behind my back and send for Lance.’

‘You’ve no idea, I suppose, why he did such a thing?’

‘Of course I haven’t. It’s exactly like all his behaviour lately - crazy! It’s got to be stopped. I…’ Percival came to a stop. The colour went from his already pale face. ‘I had forgotten… for a moment I had forgotten that my father was dead…’

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