فصل 01

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 01

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
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Chapter one

She opened the door of my office without knocking and came in. She stood in front of my desk and looked down at me. I was sitting in my chair with my feet on the desk and reading the sports pages of a newspaper.

‘You’re a private detective, I believe,’ she said.

I took my feet off the desk and put down the newspaper. ‘That’s right.’

‘Well, I have a job for you.’

‘Good,’ I said. ‘I charge 250 pounds a day, plus expenses.’

‘Money’s no problem.’

‘Even better,’ I said. ‘What’s the problem?’

During these few seconds I was looking at her closely. She had beautiful, long red hair and enormous emerald-green eyes. She reminded me of a cat I had once - the eyes, not the hair. I also thought I recognised her, but I couldn’t remember where from. She was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight, and very beautiful. She was wearing a tight green (the same shade as her eyes) sleeveless silk dress. Nothing on top; no coat, no cardigan: we were enjoying a very hot summer in London that year. She was also wearing expensive jewellery, very expensive; the kind many women are prepared to kill for. A gold watch, a ring with a huge emerald surrounded by diamonds on her left hand, a gold bracelet on her right wrist, and three loops of the best Australian pearls around her neck. I know quite a lot about jewellery. I know quite a lot about everything that costs a lot of money. It’s a hobby of mine. For the same reason I was also receiving messages from the perfume she was using that day. It was something like the latest perfume. But not the one along with all the other ‘latest’ of the perfume manufacturers which flood the department stores around Christmas. This was a special made-to-order mix, the kind produced in small quantities for very rich VIPs. I know quite a lot about perfume, as well.

Definitely, she was the kind of client that I like to have, and also the kind of client that I needed at that moment.

‘Well, the problem, Mr Boot, is that I have great difficulties in sleeping at the moment.’

‘Shouldn’t you see a doctor, not a detective?’ I said.

‘No. You see, there’s a reason I can’t sleep.’

‘And what is it?’ I asked.

‘It’s a ghost.’

‘A ghost?’

‘Yes. A ghost. A ghost in my house. And two or three nights a week about midnight or one o’clock, I hear strange noises in the house.’

Now, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in rich beautiful clients. So I asked her to sit down. While she was doing this, I tried to think of intelligent questions that you can ask about ghosts. ‘Well, first of all, when did this start?’

‘About three months ago.’

‘And where do the noises come from? From which part of the house, I mean. In your bedroom, or…?’

‘No, not in my bedroom In fact, quite a long way from my bedroom. It’s a very big house, you see. My bedroom is on the second floor. There are three floors altogether. All I can be sure of is that the noises come from below where I sleep, not above.’

‘I see. And have you ever gone down to find out what’s going on?’

‘Yes. Two or three times. But each time the noise stops a moment or two later, while I’m going down the stairs. I’ve looked into every room on the first floor and the ground floor, and everything has been completely normal.’

‘Curious,’ I said. ‘Tell me a little more about the house.’

‘Well, it’s about 350 years old. It’s in Surrey, in the country, not far from Sutton. It was built in the second half of the 17th century. Its last owner was my father. He died about a year ago. He left the house to me. He left everything else to me, as well.” ‘He was very rich, I presume?’

‘Yes, very. He was Sir Arthur Willing.’

‘Good God! You’re Sir Arthur Willing’s daughter?’

‘Yes. My name is Selena Willing.’

Sir Arthur Willing’s daughter! I couldn’t believe it. Her photograph was often in the newspapers. Without doubt, she was the kind of client that I needed at that moment.

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