فصل 06

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter six

A few minutes later she left the barn, locked the door, put the key back on the nail, then drove down to the telephone box.

‘I want to speak to Miss Marple.’

‘She’s resting, and I’m not going to wake her.’

‘You must wake her. It’s urgent.’

Florence did not argue any more. Soon Miss Marple’s voice spoke. ‘Yes, Lucy?’

‘I’ve found it.’

‘A woman’s body?’

‘Yes. A woman in a fur coat. It’s in a sarcophagus in a barn near the house. I think I ought to inform the police.’

‘Yes. You must inform the police.’

‘But the first thing they’ll want to know is why I was lifting up that great heavy lid. Do you want me to invent a reason?’

‘No,’ said Miss Marple, you must tell the truth.’

‘About you?’

‘About everything.’

Lucy suddenly smiled. ‘That will be easy for me!’ She said goodbye and rang the police station. Then she drove back to Rutherford Hall and went to the library, where Miss Crackenthorpe was reading to her father.

‘Can I speak to you Miss Crackenthorpe?’

Emma looked up, a little nervously.

‘Well, speak up, girl, speak up,’ said old Mr Crackenthorpe. Lucy said to Emma, ‘I’d like to speak to you alone, please.’

‘Just a moment, Father.’ Emma got up and went out into the hall. Lucy followed her and shut the door behind them.

Emma said, ‘If you think there’s too much work with the boys here, I can help you and-‘

‘It’s not that,’ said Lucy. ‘But I didn’t want to speak before your father because it might give him a shock. You see, I’ve just discovered the body of a murdered woman in that sarcophagus in the Long Barn.’

‘In the sarcophagus? A murdered woman? It’s impossible!’

‘I’m afraid it’s true. I’ve told the police. They will be here very soon.’

Emma’s face went a little red. ‘You should have told me first - before telling the police.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Lucy, as they heard the sound of a car outside and the doorbell rang through the house.

‘I’m very sorry to have asked you to do this,’ said Inspector Bacon as he led Emma Crackenthorpe out of the barn.

Emma’s face was pale, but she walked steadily. ‘I have never seen the woman before.’

‘Thank you, Miss Crackenthorpe. That’s all I wanted to know.’

‘I must go to my father. I telephoned Dr Quimper as soon as I heard about this.’

Dr Quimper came out of the library as they crossed the hall. He was a tall friendly-looking man. ‘You were right to call me, Emma,’ he said. ‘Your father’s all right. Just go in and see him, then get yourself a glass of brandy. That’s doctor’s orders.’

Emma smiled at him gratefully and went into the library.

‘She’s one of the best,’ he said, looking after her. ‘A pity she never married.’

‘She cares too much for her father, I suppose,’ said Inspector Bacon.

‘She doesn’t care that much - but her father likes being an invalid, so she lets him be an invalid. She’s the same with her brothers. Cedric thinks he’s a good painter, Harold believes he is good with money, and Alfred enjoys shocking her with his stories of his clever deals. Well, do you want me to have a look at the body now the police doctor has finished?’

‘I’d like you to have a look, yes, Doctor. We want to get her identified. I suppose it’s impossible for old Mr Crackenthorpe? It would upset him too much?’

‘Upset him? Nonsense. He’d never forgive you if you didn’t let him have a look. It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to him for years - and it won’t cost him anything!’

‘There’s nothing really wrong with him then?’

‘He’s seventy-two. That’s all that’s wrong with him. Come on, let’s go and see this body of yours. Unpleasant, I suppose?’

‘The police doctor says she’s been dead for two or three weeks.’

‘Very unpleasant, then.’

Dr Quimper stood by the sarcophagus and looked down at the body. ‘I’ve never seen her before. She must have been quite good looking once. Who found her?’

‘Miss Lucy Eyelesbarrow.’

They went out again into the fresh air.

‘What was she doing, looking inside a sarcophagus?’

‘That,’ said Inspector Bacon, ‘is just what I am going to ask her. Now, about Mr Crackenthorpe. Will you-?’

‘Disgusting!’ Mr Crackenthorpe came out of the house. ‘I brought back that sarcophagus from Rome in 1908 - or was it 1909?’

‘Calm yourself,’ the doctor said. ‘This isn’t going to be nice, you know.’

‘I may be ill, but I’ve got to do my duty, haven’t I?’

A very short visit inside the Long Barn was, however, long enough. Mr Crackenthorpe came out into the air again with surprising speed. ‘I’ve never seen her before! It wasn’t Rome - I remember now - it was Naples. A very fine example. And some stupid woman is found dead in it!’ He put a hand on his chest. ‘Oh, my heart… Doctor…’

Doctor Quimper took his arm. ‘You’ll be all right after you have had a small brandy.’ They went back together towards the house.

‘And now,’ Bacon said to himself, ‘for Miss Lucy Eyelesbarrow!’

Lucy had just finished preparing potatoes for dinner when she was informed that Inspector Bacon wanted to see her. So she followed the policeman to a room where he was waiting.

‘Now, Miss Eyelesbarrow,’ Inspector Bacon said. ‘You went into the Long Barn to find some paint. Is that right? And after you found the paint you forced up the lid of this sarcophagus and found the body. What were you looking for in the sarcophagus?’

‘I was looking for a body,’ said Lucy.

‘You were looking for a body - and you found one! Doesn’t that seem to you a very extraordinary story?’

‘Oh, yes, it is an extraordinary story.’ And Lucy told it to him.

The Inspector was shocked. ‘Are you telling me that you were asked by an old lady to get a job here and to search the house and grounds for a dead body?’

‘Yes.’

‘Who is this old lady?’

‘Miss Jane Marple. She is at the moment living at 4 Madison Road.’

The Inspector wrote it down. ‘Do you really expect me to believe this?’

Lucy said, ‘Not, perhaps, until after you have spoken to Miss Marple.’

‘I shall speak to her all right. She must be mad.’

Lucy did not reply to this. Instead she said, ‘What are you going to tell Miss Crackenthorpe? About me?’

‘Why do you ask?’

‘Well, I’ve done what I came here for. But I’m still supposed to be working for Miss Crackenthorpe, and there are two hungry boys in the house and probably some more of the family will arrive after all this upset. She needs help, but if you tell her that I only took this job in order to hunt for dead bodies, she’ll probably tell me to leave.’

The Inspector looked hard at her. ‘I’m not saying anything to anyone at present, because I don’t yet know whether your statement is true.’

Lucy got up. ‘Thank you. Then I’ll go back to the kitchen and get on with things.’

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