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Chapter twenty five

‘I suppose it was always sure to cause trouble,’ said Lucy, walking up and down the room. ‘A will leaving money to several people, but saying that if, when the time came for it to be handed out, there was only one person left, he would get the lot. And yet - there was such a lot of money, you would think it would be enough…’

‘The trouble is,’ said Miss Marple, ‘that people always want more money. Some people. They don’t start with wanting to commit murder, they just start by wanting more than they’re going to have.’

‘But we’ve now had three murders and that only leaves two to inherit the money, doesn’t it?’

‘You mean Cedric and Emma,’ said Miss Marple.

‘Not Emma. Emma isn’t a tall dark man. No. I mean Cedric and Bryan Eastley. I never thought of Bryan because he’s fair, but the other day…’ She paused.

‘Go on,’ said Miss Marple.

‘It was when Lady Stoddart-West was leaving. She was getting into the car when she suddenly asked, “Who was that tall, dark man who was standing on the lawn as I came in?”

‘I didn’t know who she meant at first, because Cedric was still in bed. So I said, “You don’t mean Bryan Eastley?” and she said, “Of course, Squadron Leader Eastley. He was hidden in our house in France once during the war. I remembered the way he stood”.’

Miss Marple said nothing.

And then, later I looked at him… He was standing with his back to me and I saw that even when a man is fair, his hair can look dark if he smooths it down with cream. So you see, it might have been Bryan that your friend saw in the train. It might…’

‘Yes,’ said Miss Marple. ‘I had thought of that.’

‘But the money would go to Alexander, not to him.’

‘If anything happened to Alexander before he was twenty- one, then Bryan would get the money,’ Miss Marple said.

Lucy looked shocked. ‘He would never do that. No father would ever do that.’

Miss Marple shook her head. ‘People do, my dear. It’s very sad and very awful, but they do.’ She added gently, ‘But you mustn’t worry. Elspeth McGillicuddy will be here very soon now.’

‘I don’t see how that will help.’

‘No, dear, perhaps not. But I think it’s important.’ Then, with a quick look at Lucy, she said, ‘There’s something else that’s worrying you.’

‘Yes. Something that I didn’t understand until two days ago. Bryan could in fact have been on that train.’

‘On the 4.33 from Paddington?’

‘Yes. You see, Emma, when talking about her movements on 20th December, said she went to meet Bryan at the station. The train she met was the 4.50 from Paddington, but he could have been on the earlier train and pretended to come on the later one. It doesn’t really prove anything. The awful thing is not knowing what happened. And perhaps we never will know!’

‘Of course we will know, dear,’ said Miss Marple. ‘The one thing I do know about murderers is that they can never leave things alone. Particularly after they’ve committed a second murder. And the great thing is that Elspeth McGillicuddy will be here very soon now!’

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