فصل 04

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فصل 04

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Chapter four

A suspicious death

But the following morning, there was an urgent knock on my door. It was Stella Vixon.

‘Nurse! Nurse!’ she cried. ‘Something terrible has happened! Mrs Blakemore’s dead!’

I stared at her. ‘Dead?’

‘Yes. I must go,’ she said. ‘I must go and telephone Mr Blakemore at once. Oh! What am I going to say?’

‘Telephone Doctor Spencer, too,’ I said. Then I ran down the corridor.

Mrs Blakemore was lying with her eyes open. The light beside her bed was still on and the curtains-were closed. The empty milk glass was on the floor. I lifted her arm, but it was already cold. A strange, sweet smell came from her mouth.

Charlotte appeared with the breakfast.

‘Take that away,’ I said. ‘I’m going to call the police.’

‘The police?’ she whispered. ‘Why?’

‘I think that Mrs Blakemore has been murdered.’

I phoned the police and a moment later Doctor Spencer arrived.

‘Oh dear,’ he said. ‘I can’t understand it. Her heart was a little weak, but it was nothing serious. I just can’t understand it. I didn’t think that she would die.’

‘No, Doctor, neither did I,’ I said coldly. ‘But perhaps her heart wasn’t the problem. Can you smell that strange smell? Perhaps she has been poisoned.’

‘Poisoned?’ His hands shook. ‘You’re not serious!’

‘Yes, I am,’ I said. ‘She thought that she was being poisoned. But I didn’t believe her. She said that her legs hurt and that she felt sick. I didn’t do anything. But now I remember. Poison can make people feel like that.’

Doctor Spencer looked at Mrs Blakemore, then at me. Then he looked at the door. Did he want to escape? At last, he said quietly, ‘Perhaps we should telephone the police.’

‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I’ve already done that.’

When the police arrived, Miss Vixon brought them in. The Inspector was wearing a dark suit; the policewoman was in uniform.

‘Inspector Braddock and Police Constable Hemmings,’ she announced.

‘Ah! The police! Good!’ said Doctor Spencer, nervously. He was still looking at the door.

‘Has anyone touched anything or moved anything from the room?’ asked Inspector Braddock.

‘No,’ said Miss Vixon.

Then he turned and looked at me. ‘Are you the nurse who telephoned us?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I’m from the nursing agency. I only arrived here yesterday. Mrs Blakemore thought that someone was poisoning her. But I didn’t believe her. You see, the agency told me that she was a hypochondriac. Everyone said that she wasn’t really ill.’

The policewoman picked up the empty chocolate box.

‘Who gave her these chocolates?’

‘Her nephew,’ said Doctor Spencer. ‘But you needn’t worry. He’s our vicar.’

‘Anyone can be a murderer,’ said the Inspector calmly.

‘We’ll take that away, Constable. We’ll take those bottles of medicine and that bottle of tonic, too.’

‘There’s an empty glass on the floor here, sir,’ PC Hemmings said.

‘OK’, said the Inspector. ‘Pick it up.’

The policewoman put the things into a large plastic bag.

‘What did Mrs Blakemore eat last night?’ the Inspector asked.

‘Scrambled eggs,’ I said. ‘But she only ate about half. Bernard threw the last bit away.’

‘Who’s Bernard?’

‘The cook.’

‘I see,’ said the Inspector. ‘Who else works here?’

‘Only Charlotte,’ said Miss Vixon. ‘The maid.’

Inspector Braddock looked out of the window.

‘Perhaps Mrs Blakemore was poisoned,’ he said. ‘We don’t know yet. We must wait for the results of the autopsy. Ah! There’s the ambulance. They’ve come to take the body away. Now then… is there a Mr Blakemore?’

‘Yes,’ said Miss Vixon. ‘He’s been working in Wales for a few weeks. I’ve just called him. He’ll be here this evening.’

‘Then we’ll come back later,’ said the Inspector. ‘But first, I’d like to speak to Bernard and Charlotte. Where’s the kitchen?’

I went to my room and stayed there all day. I felt terrible. I blamed myself. But I blamed Doctor Spencer and the nursing agency, too. Why had none of us done anything to help her? She had been sick. She had been really sick. And now she was dead.

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