فصل 10 - 02

مجموعه: کارآگاه مارپل / کتاب: انگشت محرک / فصل 32

فصل 10 - 02

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II

It was two nights later that I was driving back from having dinner with an old friend, and it was already dark before I got into Lymstock. Something was wrong with the car lights, so I got out and managed to fix them.

The road was empty. The first few houses were just ahead, and amongst them was the Women’s Institute building. Something made me want to go and have a look at it. A short path led up to the door. I stood for a moment wondering what I was doing there. Then suddenly I heard a slight sound, like the movement of a woman’s skirt, so I turned and went round the corner of the building towards where the sound had come from.

I couldn’t see anybody, so I went on and round the back of the house where there was an open window. I moved nearer to it and listened. I could hear nothing, but I felt sure that there was someone there.

My back still wasn’t very good, but I managed to climb up and drop down inside. Then I moved forward, until I heard a faint sound ahead of me. I had a torch in my pocket and switched it on.

At once a low, sharp voice said, ‘Switch that off.’

And I obeyed, for I had immediately recognized the voice. I felt Superintendent Nash take my arm and guide me through a door and into a passage. Here, where there was no window, he switched on a lamp and looked at me more in sadness than in anger.

‘You would have to interrupt just at that minute, Mr Burton.’

‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘But I had a feeling that something was happening.’

‘And it probably was. Somebody came round the house before you. They stopped by the window, then moved on quickly - because they heard you, probably.’

I apologized again. ‘But why are you here?’

Nash said, ‘I believe that the writer of the letters will want to keep them looking the same. She’s got the cut-out pages of that book, and can go on using them. But she’ll want to type the envelopes on the same machine. So, I worked out that she would come to the Institute after dark to get at the typewriter.’

For the third time I apologized for my unwanted presence and went out into the night. Someone was standing beside my car.

‘Hello!’ Megan said. ‘What have you been doing?’

‘What are you doing is much more to the point?’ I said.

‘I’m out for a walk. I like walking at night. Nobody stops you and says silly things, and I like the stars.’

‘All of that is true,’ I said. ‘But only cats and witches walk in the dark. And your family will worry about you.’

‘No, they won’t. They never worry where I am or what I’m doing.’

‘Well, get in the car and I’ll drive you home.’

It was not quite true what Megan had said. Symmington was standing on the doorstep as we drove up. ‘Hello, is Megan there?’ he called.

‘Yes, I’ve brought her home.’

Symmington said sharply, ‘You mustn’t go off like this without telling us, Megan. Miss Holland has been very worried about you.’

Megan said something I couldn’t hear and went past him into the house.

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