فصل 14

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فصل 14

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Chapter fourteen

Giuseppe Bolsano was a small, middle-aged man, with an intelligent face. His English was fluent since he had, he explained nervously, been in the country since he was sixteen and had married an English wife.

‘Now then, Giuseppe,’ said Kemp, ‘what else can you tell us about last night? What kind of champagne did they drink?’

‘Clicquot, 1928,’ said the little Italian waiter. ‘A very expensive wine. Mr Barton liked the best.’

‘And the empty place at the table?’

‘Mr Barton told me that a young lady would occupy it later in the evening.’ A young lady? ‘Do you know who she was?’

Giuseppe shook his head.

‘How many bottles of champagne did Mr Barton order?’

‘Two. They finished the first one quite quickly, and I opened the second just before the cabaret began. I filled up the glasses and put the bottle in the ice bucket.’

‘When did you last notice Mr Barton drinking from his glass?’

‘When the cabaret ended, they drank a toast to the young lady. Then they all went to dance. When they returned to the table, Mr Barton drank again, and in a minute - like that! - he was dead.’

‘Did you fill up the glasses while they were dancing?’

‘No, Signore. There was still plenty left.’

‘Did anyone come near the table whilst they were dancing? ‘ ‘No.’

And they all returned from the dance floor at the same time?’ Giuseppe tried to remember. ‘Mr Barton came back first, with the young lady. He did not want to dance for so long. Then came Mr Farraday, and the young lady in black. Lady Alexandra and the dark gentleman came last.’

‘If one of them had put something in Mr Barton’s glass, would you have seen?’

‘I cannot say, sir. I was serving all three tables in that corner, and two more in another part of the restaurant. After the cabaret, when everyone went to dance, I was just standing and watching, so I know that no one approached the table then. But when they sat down again, I was at once very busy. But it would be very difficult to do it without being observed, I think. Only Mr Barton himself could do it.’

‘Is that what you think?’ said Kemp.

‘A year ago, the beautiful Mrs Barton killed herself. Perhaps Mr Barton was so unhappy that he decided to kill himself the same way?’

Kemp shook his head. ‘I don’t think it’s that simple.’ Giuseppe was allowed to leave, and as the door closed behind him, Race said, ‘I wonder if that’s what we’re meant to think?’

‘Grieving husband kills himself on the anniversary of wife’s death? Not that it was the anniversary - but near enough.’

‘It was All Souls’ Day - the day we remember the dead.’

‘True. Well, possibly that was the idea. If so, the murderer can’t have known about the letters that Mr Barton had shown to you and Iris Marle.’ Kemp looked at his watch. ‘I’m going to Kidderminster House at 12.30, but there’s time to go and see the people at the other two tables first. Would you come with me, Colonel?’

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