فصل 02

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فصل 02

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CHAPTER TWO

Mowbray Hall

Inspector Ainsworth drove to Mowbray Hall, which was fifty miles from London. He knew that he was approaching the Hall when he saw a line of police cars parked by the side of the road. The Inspector stopped his car, and showed one of the policemen his ID. ‘I’m investigating the case,’ he said. ‘Tell me how to get to the Hall, will you?’

‘You go through that gate over there, sir,’ the constable told him, ‘and follow the private road. The house is about half a mile down - it’s a big place, sir, you can’t miss it.’

The Inspector got back into his car, and drove down the private road. The grounds of the house were very large. There were well-kept gardens, many fine trees, and a number of low buildings that looked like workshops.

Then he saw Mowbray Hall itself, a large old building on the top of a small hill. Once again there were policemen standing outside the front entrance to the Hall. He parked his car.

A few minutes later the Inspector entered the dining room of the Hall with one of the local policemen. He looked down at the body on the floor.

‘Right, Sergeant, give me the details,’ he ordered. ‘I want to know everything.’

‘Yes, sir,’ replied the Sergeant. ‘The victim’s name is Arthur Mowbray. He’s been shot. Through the heart, sir. The revolver was found next to the body. There are no fingerprints on the weapon, sir, and the doctor tells us that the crime probably occurred between eight and nine o’clock this morning. There are no signs of burglary. That’s all we know so far.’

‘Good,’ said the Inspector. ‘What do we know about the victim?’

‘Arthur Mowbray was seventy years old. His wife died ten years ago. He lived here alone.’

‘Any relatives?’ the Inspector asked.

‘No, sir,’ the Sergeant replied. There was a son, Charles, but he was killed in a car accident in America about five years ago.’

‘I see,’ the Inspector said. ‘Is there a will?’

‘We’ve spoken to Mr Mowbray’s solicitor,’ the Sergeant told him. ‘He tells us that Mr Mowbray made a will ten years ago, when his son was still alive. He didn’t make a new one after his son’s death, sir.’

‘So the money goes to the closest relatives, I suppose?’ commented the Inspector. ‘Do we know who they are?’

‘There are some cousins in London, sir,’ the Sergeant said. ‘We don’t know anything about them yet.’

‘Who was in the house when the murder took place?’ the Inspector asked.

‘I’ve got it all written down here,’ the Sergeant said. He pulled out his notebook, and began- to read from it.

‘There was Mr Larkin, the Finance Director of the company, Miss Markham, the Marketing and Sales Director, and Mr Johnson, the Production Director. And Mr Pryce, he was here as well. We had a call from Mr Pryce at nine o’clock this morning, sir,’ he began.

The Inspector interrupted. ‘Mr Pryce? Who’s he?’

‘Mr Pryce is the company’s Managing Director, sir,’ the Sergeant told him. ‘He told us that he had an appointment with Mr Mowbray this morning. He discovered the body when he came into the dining room.’

‘Why did he come into the dining room?’ the Inspector asked.

‘He explained that, sir,’ the, Sergeant went on. ‘Apparently the directors all have breakfast at the Hall once or twice a week. That’s when they discuss business matters, you see.’

‘I’d better speak to everybody.’ the Inspector decided. ‘I’ll start with Mr Larkin, the Finance Director. Is his office here in the Hall, or in one of the workshops I saw in the grounds?’

‘His office is in the Hall,’ the Sergeant replied. ‘All the directors work in the Hall, sir.’

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