فصل 04

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فصل 04

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Chapter four

I went back to the house at ten o’clock that evening. I had a few more questions to ask Selena. This time another security guard opened the gate. Selena met me at the front door again. She was dressed for bed, in pyjamas and a dressing gown.

‘I always go to bed at ten o’clock,’ she explained. ‘I have to control all my father’s business interests, and I go to bed early and get up early.’

‘That’s not much of a life for a girl of your age,’ I said. ‘Anyway, Miss - or do you prefer Ms Willing…?’

‘“Miss” is fine, but call me Selena,’ she interrupted, with a smile.

‘Fine, Selena,’ I said. ‘Call me Richard,’ I added, with what I think is my most attractive and seductive smile. ‘First, then, I have one or two questions I want to ask you.’

‘Of course. Please come in.’ I followed her into the living room and we sat down.

‘Well, firstly, do you ever see your brothers these days? Do you have a good relationship with them?’ I asked.

‘No is the answer to both questions, I’m afraid. We’ve never had a good relationship, even when we were children. They were always against me. They used to call me ‘daddy’s little girl’ because I loved my father and I wanted to help him - especially after my mother died. They left here after the problem of the inheritance was over. You know all about that, I suppose?’

I nodded.

‘That was about a year ago,’ she continued, ‘and I’ve only seen them once since, by chance. I was walking past a cafe near Knightsbridge and I saw them through the window. They were talking to two or three other men. Foreign men, I think. Darkhaired and fairly dark skins. From some part of Asia, perhaps.’

‘I see,’ I said. ‘But another question. Do they have keys to the gate and to the house?’

Selena looked surprised. ‘Do you suspect them of something?’ she asked.

‘Let’s say I’m trying to eliminate possibilities.’

‘Well, yes, I suppose they still have keys to the house. But not to the gate. No one has a key to the gate except the security men. There are five of them and they work shifts. Two work nights and the others during the day. At least one of them is on duty twenty-four hours a day.’

‘And another question. Does anyone else live in the house?’

‘No, not even the servants. There were some old stables which we converted into apartments some years ago. Close to the house, on one side. All the servants live there.’

‘So,’ I said, ‘after eleven or twelve at night, there’s no one in the house except you?’

‘That’s right,’ she answered.

‘Alright. Just one more question before you go to bed. There isn’t a basement or cellar below this house, is there?’

‘No, nothing. Somewhere there are some old plans of the house. I’ve seen them and there’s nothing but the three floors.’

‘Alright,’ I said. ‘No more questions for today. Oh, except where do I sleep?’

‘One of the servants will show you to your room when you’re ready to go to bed. If you want something to eat or drink, you just have to ring this little bell.’

‘Thank you, but I don’t want anything. I’ll go to bed soon, too. I’ve brought a book to read in bed,’ I added. I took out of my pocket the book I was reading at the moment, a paperback copy of Henry Esmond, a well-known 19th-century English novel by William Thackeray.

‘You like good books, Richard,’ said Selena. ‘So do I, when I have time to read. I’ve read that one, and everything else by Thackeray, I think. It’s very good.’

I was beginning to like Selena. Young, very good-looking, and with good taste in literature. Just my kind of girl!

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