فصل 08

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter eight

As he entered the library Mr Wimborne looked past Inspector Bacon whom he had already met, to the fair-haired, good- looking man behind him.

‘This is Detective Inspector Craddock of Scotland Yard,’ Inspector Bacon said.

Dermot Craddock smiled at Mr Wimborne. ‘As you are representing the Crackenthorpe family, I think that we should give you some confidential information. We believe that the dead woman travelled down here from London and that she had recently come from abroad. Probably from France. Now I would like to have a quick talk with each member of the family…’

‘I really cannot see…’

‘What they can tell me? Probably nothing. I expect I can get most of the information I want from you. Information about this house and the family.’

‘And how can that possibly be connected with an unknown woman coming from abroad and being killed here?’

‘Well, that’s the question,’ said Craddock. ‘Why did she come here? Had she once had some connection with this house? Had she been, perhaps, a servant here? Or did she come to meet someone else who had lived at Rutherford Hall? Can you give me a short history of the family?’

‘There is very little to tell,’ said Wimborne. ‘Josiah Crackenthorpe made sweet and savoury biscuits. He became very rich. He built this house. Luther Crackenthorpe, his eldest son, lives here now.’

‘And the present Mr Crackenthorpe has never thought of selling the house?’

‘He is unable to do so,’ said the lawyer. ‘Because of his father’s will.’

‘Perhaps you’ll tell me about the will?’

‘Josiah Crackenthorpe left his great fortune in trust, the income from it to be paid to his son Luther for life, and after Luther’s death, the capital to be divided equally between Luther’s children, Edmund, Cedric, Harold, Alfred, Emma and Edith. Edmund was killed in the war, and Edith died four years ago, so that on Luther Crackenthorpe’s death, the money will be divided between Cedric, Harold, Alfred, Emma and Edith’s son Alexander Eastley.’

‘And the house?’

‘That will go to Luther Crackenthorpe’s eldest living son or his children.’

‘Was Edmund Crackenthorpe married?’

‘No.’

‘So the property will actually go-?’

‘To the next son - Cedric,’ said Mr Wimborne.

‘So at present the next generation have no income except what they make or what their father gives them, and their father has a large income but no control of the capital.’

‘Exactly.’ Mr Wimborne stood up. ‘I am now going back to London. Unless there is anything more you wish to know.’

Lucy had gone straight to the kitchen when she got back from the inquest, and was busy preparing lunch when Bryan Eastley came in.

‘Can I help in any way?’ he asked.

Lucy gave him a quick look. Bryan had arrived alone at the inquest in his small M.G. sports car, and she had not had much time to study him. She now saw a friendly-looking man, about thirty years old, with fair hair and blue eyes.

‘The boys aren’t back yet,’ he said, sitting on the end of the kitchen table.

Lucy smiled. ‘They were determined not to miss anything. Do you mind getting off the table, Mr Eastley? I want to put this hot dish down there.’

Bryan obeyed. ‘Do you mind me talking to you?’

‘If you came in to help, I’d rather you helped.’ Lucy took another dish from the oven. ‘Here - turn all these potatoes over so that they will get brown on the other side.’

Bryan did as he was told. Then he watched Lucy pour the Yorkshire pudding mixture into the dish. ‘This is fun. It reminds me of being in our kitchen at home - when I was a boy.’

There was something strangely sad about Bryan Eastley, Lucy thought. Looking closely at him, she realized that he must be nearer forty than thirty. He reminded her of the many young pilots she had known during the war when she had been only fourteen. She had gone on and grown up into a post-war world - but she felt that Bryan had not gone on, but had been left behind. She remembered what Emma had told her. ‘You were a fighter pilot, weren’t you? You’ve got a medal.’

‘Yes, and if you’ve got a medal, people try to make things easy for you. They give you a job, which is very good of them. But they’re all office jobs, and I’m just not any good at that sort of thing. I’ve had ideas of my own but… if I had a bit of capital…’ He paused.

At that moment Alexander and Stoddart-West arrived.

‘Hello, Bryan,’ said Alexander to his father. ‘Oh, what a good piece of meat. Is there Yorkshire pudding?’

‘Yes, there is,’ said Lucy.

‘She’s an excellent cook.’ Alexander spoke to Bryan like a kindly father to his son.

‘Can we help you, Miss Eyelesbarrow?’ asked Stoddart-West.

‘Yes, you can. Alexander, go and ring the bell. James, will you carry this dish into the dining room? And will you take the meat in, Mr Eastley? I’ll bring the potatoes and the Yorkshire pudding.’

When Lucy came out into the hall, Mr Wimborne was standing there putting on his coat, Emma was coming down the stairs, and two police officers were coming out of the library.

Mr Wimborne took Emma’s hand in his. ‘Now this is Detective Inspector Craddock from Scotland Yard who has come to take charge of the case. And he has just told me that this almost certainly was not a local crime. They think she came from London and was probably foreign.’

Emma Crackenthorpe said sharply, ‘Was she French?’

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