فصل 08

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فصل 08

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER EIGHT

The Blackheath bonfire

The two men were silent for a long time, affected by Amanda Grant’s sadness. Eliot had forgotten about Guy Fawkes Night until they got to the top of Blackheath Hill. No children were playing on the grass today. Instead it had a fence around it, with signs telling people to stay out. Inside the fence, there was a lot of activity.

Groups of people were studying pieces of paper and shouting instructions. Workmen were carrying fireworks of all shapes and sizes and piling them onto plastic sheets lying on the ground. In the middle, four men were building a large bonfire.

‘I suppose we’re lucky Forley died yesterday, and not today,’ Eliot said at last. ‘The traffic will be worse than ever tonight.’

‘What did you think of her, sir?’ Bowen asked. ‘At first she seemed so cool, like one of those hard career women.’

‘I liked her,’ said Eliot. ‘She doesn’t show her feelings easily, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any. I think she had strong feelings for Forley, though there were obviously problems with their relationship.’

‘She didn’t say much about Catherine Crowther, did she?’ said Bowen. ‘I’d love to know what the two women really feel about each other.’

Forley’s house looked even more lovely in daylight. Its size and shape were perfect, and the sunlight gave an extra richness to the colour of its old walls. Although it was November, the roses were still beautiful. It seemed impossible that something terrible had happened here the day before.

The telephone was on an antique table next to the wooden stairs in the hall. There were three messages on the answerphone, two from the day before. Amanda Grant had called at 3.45 saying she was back. A few minutes later someone called Philip had invited Forley and Amanda to Sunday lunch. Then at eight o’clock that morning Amanda Grant had phoned again.

‘Philip was the name of that doctor Amanda Grant told us about,’ remembered Eliot. ‘I wonder if it’s the same person.’

It was almost half past one when Bowen and Eliot finished searching the house. Forley had obviously been a very tidy man, and everything seemed to be still in its place. They took away a diary, an address book and $2,000 in cash, which was sitting on top of his desk.

‘No-one tried to steal his money,’ said Bowen. ‘So that’s not why he was killed. How can people keep so much cash at home? It’s just an invitation to criminals.’

‘Oh, he probably thought Blackheath was safe,’ Eliot answered. ‘Remember what Crowther said? People like that don’t believe crime will ever happen to them. We’d better go and see them now. I want to know more about that gun she mentioned.’ But the Crowthers were not at home, so Eliot and Bowen decided to have lunch in an old pub on the edge of Blackheath. Through the window they could see the workmen preparing the evening’s firework show.

The bonfire was much bigger now. Groups of people stood looking at the model of Guy Fawkes lying next to it. To Eliot it seemed almost alive with its black hair and beard and seventeenth century hat and coat.

Tonight, many people would watch it burning on top of the bonfire. But few would think about the real Guy Fawkes, who was burned for trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament. His reason had been religious. But most of the people watching tonight would have very little interest in religion. Was anything so important these days that people would kill to protect it? Eliot saw Micky’s and Sally’s faces in his mind’s eye. He remembered he had to ring them, but the only phone was in the noisiest part of the bar. He sighed. The call would have to wait, but he would look at house prices straight after lunch.

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