This is the Eighth part of a Murder Mystery that I have been writing. It is supposed to be in the style of the great Agatha Christie.
For those of you desperate for the end…we are almost there, I estimate just one or two more instalments. I hope you are STILL enjoying the story.
This is the first part if you want to read it from the beginning:
Mrs Patterson arrived in the afternoon. She looked much the same as before; an air of daring action about her. Perhaps a bit less fancy in her attire than the last time they’d met. She was wearing a smart brown jacket and skirt with a black roll neck sweater that set off her row of pearls nicely. She had on a matching brown pillbox hat with a black bow. As ever, it was her personality that shone through. Her cheeks had a pink flush, entirely natural, and she leaned forward in the chair she’d been invited to sit in.
The Inspector appraised her. He also deliberately didn’t say anything at first. It was a technique he liked to use. If someone has something to hide, the silence became deafening and most people just have to fill it.
Mrs Patterson just looked at the Inspector and said “Well? Your Sergeant said you wanted to see me. I presume that I was right, it was Strychnine wasn’t it? That’s why you’ve called me in, isn’t it?”
“How did you know it was Strychnine Mrs Patterson?”
“I knew it! I just knew it was, because of the contorted body and his face went purple, it was quite disfigured. I’ve read that Strychnine does that. Whereas Cyanide tends to smell like bitter almonds.”
“Where did you read that Mrs Patterson?”
“Oh, in my Agatha Christie books, of course. I am such a fan. Do you read Agatha Christie? You should, in your profession, you’d get lots of excellent tips. So, thank you for calling me in and telling me.”
“Is there anything else you’d like to tell me? Did you see anyone drop anything into his soup, perhaps?”
“No, I didn’t see anything like that Inspector. I’m sorry I don’t know anything else.”
“Thank you, Mrs Patterson you can go now.”
Just as he got up to shake her hand, she turned and saw the bottle of Whisky he kept on his desk, for medicinal purposes, of course. Then she let out a little gasp.
“Are you all right Mrs Patterson?”
“Oh, I’ve just remembered something odd. Really quite strange now I come to think of it. Patricia was drinking Margaritas.”
“Why is that strange, they’re quite popular aren’t they?”
“Yes, but Patricia’s teetotal! That is the only time I have seen her with a drink in her hand. Unless it was tea or coffee. How very odd.”
“Thank you, Mrs Patterson, you’ve been a great help. I would appreciate it if you kept what you have told me to yourself for the moment. It may be absolutely nothing but it may be important.”
Inspector Thorpe rubbed his hands together, he finally felt he was getting somewhere.
Later, that evening, at Number 12 Cavendish Square, Mayfair, a domestic argument was taking place between Mr Algernon Winthrop and his Wife. Actually, Dorothy Winthrop was calmly looking at herself in the mirror and applying a cyclamen pink lipstick to her pouted lips. Her Husband however was talking in a rather agitated manner and at the same time trying to put on a bow tie.
“I have just given that Maid, Alice, the sack. She wasn’t doing her job properly, and I think she’s stolen my grey suit. I haven’t seen it since last Thursday.”
“Alice was the name of the last maid dear, you know, the one who left us rather suddenly and we agreed to tell everyone she left to get married?”
Mr Winthrop calmed down a little bit at the reminder of his past domestic indiscretions. His wife had been a tower of strength during that little ordeal. There could have been a terrible scandal if she had decided to divorce him.
“I wanted to say, old thing, how sorry I was about that Doctor chap. I know you were rather keen on him. Are you terribly cut up about it?”
Mrs Winthrop turned to look at her husband. He really was rather a dear. He had such an innocent mind. She was shaken at what happened, of course. It was a nasty shock. Should she tell her husband the truth, that there wasn’t anything really between them, or should she milk the jealousy for all it was worth? She could do with a new gown, this mauve satin one was so old fashioned. She’d get a bright red one next; scarlet or Crimson, she enjoyed playing on her husband’s guilt, or his jealousy.
Getting up from her dressing table, she helped her husband with his bow tie.
“Come on Darling, we’ll be late for dinner. Gerry and Jocelyn won’t invite us again if we’re too late.”
“Don’t worry about that dear. We’ve never been so popular since we had someone die under suspicious circumstances. Everyone seems to want to know the details.”
“Well I just hope they clear the matter up soon. We may have been invited out to dinner a lot recently, but no one’s been accepting our invitations. We may end up social pariah’s if they don’t get to the bottom of it soon.”
At number 37 Lorrimer Park Crescent, Chelsea, Mrs Audrey Patterson was waxing lyrical to her husband.
“You know this whole thing is completely fascinating. Something is definitely wrong. That young man for instance, I know I am a little rusty when it comes to science and at the time I wasn’t really paying much attention, but I’d swear now that most of what he was talking about was quite wrong. It’s very odd. Now I look back, nothing was really as it should be. There was Jane Courtney who was as much an empty-headed nitwit as usual, but can anyone really be that vacuous? Then my hostess, Dolly Winthrop, she used to be an actress you remember and she always seems to be playing a part somehow. Now Patricia Atwood, she’s the quiet one, and it’s always the quiet ones you’ve got to watch. I can’t forget that image of her in my head, standing there with a margarita in her hand!”
Mr Patterson looked up at his wife, a mixture of mild adoration and concern in his eyes. She always got herself worked up like this. Her imagination was limitless. Calmly he said “Look, love, I would put all this out of your head if I were you. There’s something about this business I really don’t like and I would hate to see anything happen to you. Keep your head down Audrey.”
She looked back at him and smiled. He really was a darling man, a bit dull perhaps, but a darling all the same.
End of Part Eight….
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 04/May/2018