Last year I tried my hand at writing an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. The main character was Lady Audrey Patterson, who was my ‘Miss Marple’. You can read the start of this particular story here:
When I wrote the ending (linked below) I always intended to write an epilogue to tie up loose ends. This is the Epilogue.
Her nephew lay on the cold kitchen floor completely knocked unconscious. Mrs Buscombe, the cook still held the large frying pan in her hand and a look of pure acrimony on her face.
“He was the one that Killed my Elsie! I knew it as soon as he tried to run through here.”
Four tall policemen came into the kitchen followed by her guests still looking confused.
As the police carried her nephew’s unconscious body away, Lord Halifax spoke.
“I Still don’t understand why he killed Claudia? Were they lovers?”
“No, Claudia liked to flirt with the young men, but they didn’t really mean anything to her. I think his motives were more financial than sexual. Charles, you see, liked to borrow money, I think she indulged him, just like I did because he was young and handsome and full of life. I think she decided to stop giving him money, maybe she threatened to tell you about it. That’s what caused him to act, I think.”
“Oh, I see, all her loveliness and vivaciousness snuffed out for mere cash.”
Lady Patterson shook her head, to someone as wealthy as Lord Halifax, he could never understand the desperate lengths some people would go to acquire more money. Unfortunately, her nephew was one of those people to whom morals were less important than the meeting of his own desires.
Afterwards, when everyone had gone and she settled down to a nice cup of tea, which she’d made herself, having allowed Mrs Buscombe some time off, she contemplated the events of the last few weeks. She realised that when you read detective fiction they never convey the sheer exhaustion that descends upon you when the whole thing is over. She felt totally shattered by the whole thing. Yes, parts of it were thrilling, she had felt a frisson of excitement, but she now had to deal with the emotional turmoil of the fact that her great-nephew, whom she had adored, had turned out to be responsible for three deaths. That she had been the one who had brought him to justice and now he would face that justice and be hanged played heavily on her conscience. When it came to murder, there was no happily ever after.
As she contemplated these sombre thoughts, there came a knock on the drawing-room door.
Feeling that she was alone in the house, she tried to keep a note of trepidation out of her voice when she said: “Come in”.
Sir Alfred Thorpe came in, looking as shattered as she felt.
“Oh, Alfred, I thought you’d gone home. Shall I call you a cab?”
“I was speaking to Inspector Coulson. He’s satisfied that with all the evidence you uncovered, and the fact that the blighter tried to do a runner, they can get a conviction all right. Your nephew will stand trial pretty quickly. Oh, he hasn’t regained consciousness yet. He’s in hospital and under guard, the doctor said he’s otherwise stable and should come round soon.”
“Thank you for telling me, Alfred. I’m sorry if I don’t sound overly enthusiastic. I was fond of the boy. Is there anything else you wanted?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, there is. Several weeks ago I came here, after seeing you at the American Ambassadors ball, on that morning when your maid was found dead. I came here for a very specific purpose. Now, I know that with this ordeal and the fact that at one point we each accused the other of having a hand in it, you may think less favourably of the idea but…”
Lady Patterson became impatient with this very English display of beating around the bush and interrupted.
“Alfred, just say what you were going to say please.”
“Well, I came here to ask you to marry me.”
A pink flush came to her cheeks as she replied
“Oh, I thought you’d never ask.”
She decided to get married at St Lukes Church in Chelsea, it was after all her local and the one she attended most Sunday’s. She considered it quite impossible for a woman of her advanced years to wear a big white fancy wedding dress. She chose a smart navy blue suit with a velvet collar with a pair of black court shoes. She wore her pearls, of course, and a diamond and sapphire brooch. Sir Alfred word a smart suit of slightly old fashioned cut. He smelled of a mixture of eau de cologne and his favourite tobacco, but she rather liked him for it.
As they emerged from the church her sister, Alicia came over to give her a kiss on the cheek. As Alicia was Charles’s grandmother, she thought that maybe she would stay away from her wedding under the circumstances. She was thankful she didn’t. It wouldn’t have felt the same not having her sister there. She remembered that Alicia had never been very fond of Charles but she never knew why.
Later as they gathered in her spacious drawing room with champagne having been served all round, she sat next to her sister on the sofa and finally asked, “Alicia, why were you not fond of Charles?”
Alicia leaned forward to reply “Well, I was fond of him when he was young, he was such a charming boy, but you remember that Garnet brooch I used to have? Well, he always admired it. Then one day when he was staying with me, it disappeared. I asked everyone in the house and everyone denied taking it. I found it under Charles’s pillow. When I asked him if he had taken it, he looked straight at me with those clear blue eyes and said: “No Grandma, it wasn’t me at all.” To be able to lie without any conscience, I knew he was wrong, He’d end up on the gallows.”
A shiver ran through Audrey’s body, that prophecy had been fulfilled.
I hope you enjoyed this story.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 06/October/2019
I have also included the following word prompts: