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chapter twenty one
Stephen Farraday arrived at Scotland Yard later that same day, feeling very nervous. Why had Chieflnspector Kemp asked him for this extra interview? What did he suspect?
Kemp greeted him pleasantly enough, and invited him to sit down. Stephen noticed a police officer sitting at a table in the corner of the room with a pencil and a notebook.
‘I wish to take a statement from you, Mr Farraday. That statement will be written down and you will be asked to read it and sign it before you leave. However, it is my duty to tell you that you may refuse to make such a statement and that you are also allowed to have a lawyer present if you wish.’
‘That sounds very serious, Chief Inspector. But why do you need another statement from me? You heard all I had to say this morning.’
‘There are certain facts, Mr Farraday, which I thought you would prefer to discuss here. Anything that is not relevant to a case we try to keep confidential. I’m sure you understand what I am referring to.’
‘I’m afraid not.’
Kemp sighed. ‘You had a ‘close relationship’ with the late Mrs Rosemary Barton…’
‘Who says so?’ Stephen interrupted.
Kemp picked up a letter from his desk. ‘This letter was found amongst the late Mrs Barton’s belongings. It was handed to us by Miss Iris Marle, who confirms it is her sister’s handwriting.’
Stephen read the letter and a wave of sickness passed over him. He could hear Rosemary’s voice, begging him… Would the past never die? He looked up at Kemp. ‘There is no proof that this letter was written to me.’
‘Do you pay the rent for 21 Malland Mansions, Earl’s Court?’ So, they had found the flat he had rented, where he and Rosemary used to meet. They knew everything! Stephen shrugged his shoulders. ‘May I ask why my private affairs should be of interest to you? ‘ ‘They are not, unless they are connected to the death of George Barton.’
‘So you are suggesting that I had an affair with his wife, and then murdered him? ‘
‘Mr Farraday, let’s be honest. You and Mrs Barton were very close friends. You ended the relationship, not the lady. She intended to make trouble. And then, very conveniently, she died.’
‘She committed suicide.’
‘George Barton didn’t think so. He started to ask questions - and then he died. There is a pattern to it.’
‘Why are you accusing me?’
‘Mrs Barton’s death was lucky for you, wasn’t it? A scandal would have ruined your political career. Did your wife know about the affair, Mr Farraday?’
‘Certainly not. And I hope she will never learn about it now.’
‘Is your wife a jealous woman?’
‘No. She is much too sensible.’
‘Do you keep a supply of cyanide at your country house, Mr Farraday? ‘
‘I believe the gardener may have some.’
‘But you have never purchased any yourself? ‘
‘I have never purchased cyanide.’
Kemp asked Farraday a few more questions, then let him go. ‘He was very quick to deny that his wife knew about his affair,’ he said thoughtfully to his colleague. ‘You would think he would realize that if his wife didn’t know about the affair, that gave him an extra motive for silencing Rosemary Barton. The clever story would be to say that his wife knew about the affair and had accepted it.’
At that moment, the telephone rang. It was Colonel Race, calling from a public telephone box. Their conversation was short, but satisfactory.
‘I’ll send a telegram to America at once,’ Kemp concluded. ‘We should hear back almost immediately. It will be a great relief if you are right.’
‘I think I am,’ said Colonel Race.
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