فصل 06

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER SIX

That day Mrs Blenkensop received a letter from her son Douglas. Mrs Blenkensop was so excited that everybody at Sans Souci heard about it. The letter had not been censored at all, she explained, because one of Douglas’s friends coming on leave had brought it, so Douglas had been able to write quite openly.

‘And it just shows,’ declared Mrs Blenkensop, ‘how little we really know of what is going on.’

After breakfast she went upstairs to her room and put the letter away. Then she went downstairs again. She had already told everyone that she was going up to London for the day to see her lawyer and do a little shopping. And although she had no wish to do so, Mrs Blenkensop had said that she was going to London, and to London she must go.

It was not until the next day that Tuppence was able to have a meeting with Tommy. Mrs Blenkensop met Mr Meadowes as he was taking a walk on the beach.

‘Well?’ said Tuppence. ‘Did you see anyone go into my room?’

Tommy nodded his head. ‘The maids went in to clean the room, of course. And Mrs Perenna went in - but that was when the maids were there. And Betty ran in once and came out with a woollen dog.’

‘Anyone else?’

‘One person,’ said Tommy slowly. ‘Carl von Deinim. At lunchtime. He came out from the dining room early, came up to his room, then went across the passage and into yours. He was there about a quarter of an hour. That settles it, I think.’

Tuppence nodded. Yes, it was quite clear now. Carl von Deinim could have had no reason for going into Mrs Blenkensop’s bedroom and remaining there for a quarter of an hour, except for one.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said slowly.

‘So am I,’ said Tommy. ‘He’s a nice boy.’

‘Well, I think we can agree that Carl von Deinim is working with Sheila and her mother,’ said Tuppence. ‘Probably Mrs Perenna is in charge and that foreign woman who was talking to Carl yesterday must be involved somehow.’

‘What do we do now?’ Tommy asked.

We must search Mrs Perenna’s room. And we must follow her and see where she goes and who she meets. Tommy, let’s get Albert down here.’

Many years ago Albert, who had worked in a hotel, had helped the young Beresfords. Afterwards he had gone to work for them as a general servant. Six years ago he had married and was now the proud owner of The Duck and Dog, a pub in South London.

Tuppence continued quickly, ‘Albert will be really excited. He can stay at the pub near the station and he can follow the Perennas for us - or anyone else.’

‘What about Mrs Albert?’

‘She has gone to her mother’s in Wales with the children because of possible air raids on London. It all fits in perfectly.’

‘Yes, that’s a good idea, Tuppence. Albert will be perfect. Now another thing - I think we ought to watch out for that so-called Polish woman who was talking to Carl. She probably comes here for orders, or to take messages. Next time we see her, one of us must follow her and find out more about her.’

Tommy continued his walk and entered the post office where he phoned Mr Grant. Then he wrote and sent a letter to Albert and bought himself a newspaper. He was walking back to Sans Souci when Commander Haydock, passing in his car, shouted, ‘Hello, Meadowes, want a lift?’

Tommy got in gratefully.

‘So you read that awful newspaper, do you?’ demanded Haydock, looking at the red cover of the Inside Weekly News.

‘It’s terrible,’ Tommy agreed. ‘But sometimes they do seem to know what’s going on behind the scenes.’

‘The truth of it is,’ said Commander Haydock, just missing a large van, ‘when they’re right, you remember it, and when they’re wrong, you forget it. Do you feel like a game of golf tomorrow? I’ve got to go to a meeting about this Parashot business, getting together a group of local volunteers - good idea if you ask me. So, will we have a round of golf about six?’

‘Thanks very much.’

‘Good. Then that’s agreed.’ The Commander stopped abruptly at the gate of Sans Souci. ‘How’s the fair Sheila?’ he asked.

‘Quite well, I think. I haven’t seen much of her.’

Haydock gave his loud laugh. ‘Not as much as you’d like to, I bet! She’s a good-looking girl but she sees too much of that German fellow. Unpatriotic, I call it.’

Mr Meadowes said, ‘Be careful, he’s just coming up the hill behind us.’

‘I don’t care if he does hear! Any decent German’s fighting for his country - not running over here to avoid it!’

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