فصل 09

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER NINE

Inspector Curry and his Sergeant found Miss Believer alone in the Great Hall when they arrived.

She came forward. ‘I am Juliet Believer, companion and secretary to Mrs Serrocold. Most of the household are in the library. Mr Serrocold remained in Mr Gulbrandsen’s room to see that nothing was touched. Dr Maverick, who first examined the body, will be here soon. He had to take a - case over to the Institute. Shall I lead the way?’

‘Please.’

For the next twenty minutes it was the routine of police procedure that was most important. The photographer took pictures. The police surgeon arrived and was joined by Dr Maverick. Half an hour later, the ambulance took away Christian Gulbrandsen, and Inspector Curry started his official inquiry.

He looked carefully round the people gathered there, making notes in his mind. An old lady with white hair, a middle-aged lady, the good-looking girl he had seen driving her car round the countryside, that American husband of hers. A couple of young men, the capable Miss Believer, and Lewis Serrocold.

‘I’m afraid this is all very upsetting to you,’ he said, ‘and I hope I will not keep you too long this evening. We can look at everything more thoroughly tomorrow. It was Miss Believer who found Mr Gulbrandsen dead, so I’ll ask her to give me a description of the general situation. Mr Serrocold, if you want to go up to your wife, please do.’

Miss Believer arranged Inspector Curry, his Sergeant and herself in Lewis Serrocold’s study. Inspector Curry had a pleasant voice and manner. He looked quiet and serious. ‘I’ve had the main facts from Mr Serrocold. Mr Christian Gulbrandsen was one of the trustees here and he arrived unexpectedly yesterday. That is correct?’

‘Yes.’

Inspector Curry was pleased by her short answer. He continued, ‘Mr Serrocold was away in Liverpool. He returned this evening by the 6.30 train.’

‘Yes.’

‘After dinner, Mr Gulbrandsen went to work in his own room, leaving the rest of the group here. Correct?’

‘Yes.’

‘Now, Miss Believer, please explain how you found him dead.’

‘Something unpleasant happened this evening. A young man became very unbalanced and threatened Mr Serrocold with a gun. They were locked in this room and you can see the bullet holes in the wall there. Fortunately Mr Serrocold was unhurt. After firing the shots, this young man was in such a bad condition that Mr Serrocold sent me to find Dr Maverick. As I was coming back, I went to Mr Gulbrandsen’s room to ask if there was anything he would like before he went to bed. When I saw that Mr Gulbrandsen was dead, I rang you.’

‘Could anyone have come into the house from outside without being heard or seen?’

‘Certainly - by the side door to the terrace. People come in and out that way to go to the College buildings.’

‘And you have, I believe, two hundred and fifty juvenile delinquents in the College?’

‘Yes. But the College buildings are locked and guarded. It is most unlikely that anyone could leave the College without permission.’

‘We shall check that, of course. What was the purpose of Mr Gulbrandsen’s visit?’

‘I have no idea. His business here was with Mr Serrocold.’

‘Did he have a meeting with Mr Serrocold?’

‘No, there was no time. Mr Serrocold arrived just before dinner. And after dinner, Mr Gulbrandsen said he had an important letter to write and went away to do so.’

‘He didn’t suggest a meeting with Mr Serrocold?’

‘No.’

‘Mr Serrocold did not go with him to his room?’

‘No. Mr Serrocold stayed in the Hall.’

‘And you have no idea at what time Mr Gulbrandsen was killed?’

‘I think it is possible that we heard the shot. If so, it was at twenty-three minutes past nine. Naturally I looked at the clock.’

‘You heard a shot? And it did not frighten you?’

‘The circumstances were already very frightening.’ Miss Believer explained in more detail the scene between Lewis Serrocold and Edgar Lawson. Then added grimly, ‘You don’t expect murder and attempted murder in the same house on the same night.’

Inspector Curry agreed to the truth of that.

‘All the same,’ said Miss Believer, suddenly, ‘You know, I believe that’s what made me go along to Mr Gulbrandsen’s room later. To reassure myself that everything was all right.’

Inspector Curry stared at her for a moment. ‘What made you think it might not be all right?’

‘The shot outside. It didn’t mean anything at the time. And afterwards I told myself that it was only a backfire from Mr Restarick’s car. But…’

‘Mr Restarick’s car?’

‘Yes. Alex Restarick arrived this evening - just after all this happened.’

‘I see. When you discovered Mr Gulbrandsen’s body, did you touch anything?’

‘Of course not. Mr Gulbrandsen had been shot through the head but there was no gun to be seen, so I knew it was murder and not suicide.’

‘And just now, when you took us into the room, everything was the same as when you found the body?’

Miss Believer thought about it. ‘One thing was different,’ she said. ‘There was nothing in the typewriter. Mr Gulbrandsen had been writing a letter, it must have been removed.’

‘Thank you, Miss Believer. Who else went into that room before we arrived?’

‘Mr Serrocold, of course. And Mrs Serrocold and Miss Marple.’

‘Which is Miss Marple?’ Inspector Curry asked.

‘The old lady with white hair. She was a school friend of Mrs Serrocold’s. She arrived about four days ago.’

‘Well, thank you, Miss Believer. I’ll have a word with Miss Marple next, then she can go off to bed. It’s not kind to keep an old lady like that from her rest,’ said Inspector Curry. ‘This must have been a shock to her.’

‘I’ll tell her, shall I?’

‘Yes, please do.’

Miss Believer went out. Inspector Curry looked at the ceiling. ‘Why Gulbrandsen?’ he said. ‘Two hundred and fifty young delinquents here. Probably one of them did it. But why Gulbrandsen? The stranger.’

Sergeant Lake said, ‘Of course we don’t know everything yet.’

Inspector Curry said, ‘So far, we don’t know anything at all.’ He jumped up when Miss Marple came in and hurried to make her feel comfortable. ‘Now don’t upset yourself, ma’am. This is all very worrying, I know. But we’ve just got to get the facts clear.’

‘Oh yes, I know,’ said Miss Marple. ‘So difficult, isn’t it? To be clear about anything, I mean. Because if you’re looking at one thing, you can’t be looking at another. And one so often looks at the wrong thing, though whether because one happens to do so or because you’re meant to, it’s very hard to say. Misdirection, the magicians call it. So clever, aren’t they?’

Inspector Curry blinked a little. ‘Quite so. Now, ma’am, Miss Believer has told me what happened this evening. A most anxious time for all of you, I’m sure.’

‘Yes, indeed. It was all so dramatic, you know.’

‘First, this argument between Mr Serrocold and Edgar Lawson.’

‘A very strange young man,’ said Miss Marple. ‘I have felt all along that there was something wrong about him.’

‘I’m sure you have,’ said Inspector Curry. ‘And then, after that excitement was over, there came Mr Gulbrandsen’s death. I understand that you went with Mrs Serrocold to see the - er - the body.’

‘Yes, I did. We are very old friends.’

‘Quite so. And did you touch anything while you were in the room, either of you?’

‘Oh no.’

‘Did you happen to notice, ma’am, whether there was paper in the typewriter?’

‘There wasn’t,’ said Miss Marple. ‘I noticed that at once because it seemed strange. Mr Gulbrandsen was sitting at the typewriter so he must have been typing something. Yes, I thought it very strange.’

Inspector Curry looked at her sharply. He said, ‘Did you talk with Mr Gulbrandsen while he was here?’

‘Very little.’ Miss Marple thought. ‘He asked me about Mrs Serrocold’s health. In particular, about her heart.’

‘Her heart? Is there something wrong with her heart?’

‘Nothing whatsoever, I understand.’

Inspector Curry was silent for a moment or two, then he said, ‘Mr Gulbrandsen left the group immediately after dinner, I understand?’

‘Yes, he said he had a letter to write.’

‘He didn’t ask for a business meeting with Mr Serrocold?’

‘No.’ Miss Marple added, ‘You see, they had already had one.’

‘They had? When? I understood that Mr Serrocold only returned home just before dinner.’

‘That’s quite true, but he walked through the gardens, and Mr Gulbrandsen went out to meet him and they walked up and down the terrace together.’

‘Who else knows this?’

‘I don’t think anybody else,’ said Miss Marple. ‘I just happened to be looking out of my window.’

‘You didn’t,’ Inspector Curry said delicately, ‘happen to overhear anything of what they said?’

Innocent blue eyes met his. ‘Only bits, I’m afraid,’ said Miss Marple gently. ‘I do not know the actual subject of their conversation, but they wanted to save Carrie Louise from knowing something. To save her - that was how Mr Gulbrandsen put it, and Mr Serrocold said, “I agree that we must consider her.” They also mentioned a “big responsibility” and that they should, perhaps, “take outside advice”.’

She paused. ‘I think you should ask Mr Serrocold himself about all this.’

‘We will do so, ma’am. Now is there anything else that you thought unusual this evening?’

Miss Marple thought for a moment. ‘It was all so unusual, if you know what I mean. But there was one thing. Mr Serrocold stopped Mrs Serrocold from taking her medicine. Miss Believer was quite annoyed about it.’ She smiled modestly. ‘But that, of course, is such a little thing.’

‘Yes. Well, thank you, Miss Marple.’

As Miss Marple went out of the room, Sergeant Lake said, ‘She’s old, but she’s very observant.’

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