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.Hennessey again, and walked back to the door of the small room where he’d interviewed us, shutting it firmly behind him.Was Jack still there, waiting? Or had they taken him away, out another door, where we couldn’t see?I looked at Simon, but he shook his head, and I followed Mrs.Hennessey out the door toward Simon’s motorcar.We drove in silence back to the house, and then Mrs.Hennessey said, “I don’t know when I’ve been so tired.Bess, dear, do you think you could make a cup of tea for all of us? It would help me rest.”I wanted nothing more than my own bed, but we went into her small flat and I made tea while Simon found bread, sliced and buttered it, and added a small bottle of preserves to the tray.Mrs.Hennessey, her face lined with weariness, sat and watched us.I wondered if she was afraid, just now, to be alone, in spite of the daylight sifting through her lace curtains.Pretending to eat, I managed to swallow a little of the bread with a bit of marmalade preserve perched on one corner, and I drank my tea.Surprisingly, it did make me feel much better.Mrs.Hennessey wanted to know why that man, as she called Jack Melton, should wish to break into her house and attempt to murder one of her nursing sisters.Simon said circumspectly, “It has to do with one of Bess’s patients.I shouldn’t worry about it.Melton is likely to find himself in far more trouble than he expected.”“But you were here, I didn’t understand how you could have been here.I have quite strict rules, you see.”Simon’s glance met mine.“I followed him into the house.”That made perfect sense to her.She nodded, and addressed her food with an appetite, finishing her tea, then turning to Simon once more, asking him if he should care to rest on her settee before going back to Somerset.He promised her again that all would be well, and I washed up, tucked Mrs.Hennessey into her bed, and shut the door behind me when I had finished.Simon was waiting on the stairs, sitting there as I’d seen him sit so many times in India, able to sleep without lying down or losing touch with his surroundings.I myself had learned to do much the same in the field, catching what little rest I could when I could.He looked up as I shut the door of Mrs.Hennessey’s flat.“I asked him what this would mean for Michael Hart’s situation.He said that at the moment he could see no connection.”I didn’t need to ask who Simon meant.Inspector Herbert.“Did he tell you that Victoria had shot herself? I don’t believe it for an instant! Oddly enough, I’d warned her about Jack.And surely there is some way to see if this was the same knife that killed Marjorie.It’s out of the ordinary, he had a collection of American weapons.The postmortem—”“Perhaps it would be wise to see that Mr.Forbes is told that Melton is in custody and why.”“He wasn’t interested before,” I said.“Because it was only your word, without proof or the sanction of an arrest.Try again.”That made sense even to my tired mind.“I’ll write it now,” I said, pushing away any thought of my pillow.“And I’ll deliver it personally.”“No.Let me deliver it.His clerk won’t turn me away.”“And then, Simon, I want to go home.”I heard the plaintive note in my voice, in spite of every effort to suppress it.“Give me four hours.Then we’ll see to the letter before leaving London,” he promised.I looked over my shoulder.“If he’s released—if he can talk his way out of this night’s work—will Mrs.Hennessey be safe? I have a feeling he’s cleaning house.”“She’s not important to him.You are.That’s why it’s best for you to leave London and let Inspector Herbert sort this out.”I went up the stairs, righted the chair that I’d left overturned, braced my door, and sat down at the table that served as a writing desk.Two tries and a lot of thought later, I’d finished what I felt was a fair representation of the night’s events.By that time it was half past nine.I got myself together, went lightly down the stairs so as not to rouse Mrs.Hennessey, and went to find a cab.I was lucky on the third try, and I gave the driver Helen Calder’s address.The maid answered, and I apologized for calling so early but begged to see Mrs.Calder on urgent business.After a wait of some minutes, I was taken to Helen Calder’s bedroom.She was awake and lying on a chaise longue with a coverlet over her knees.She was dressed, this time, and not in her bed, but her face was still wan, without spirit.She greeted me warmly, looked again at my face, and said with concern, “Bess, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so weary.”“It’s been a long night, Helen.Is there any way you can be sure who was waiting for you when you were stabbed?”“I’ve tried, my dear.Heaven knows I’ve spent hours trying to remember.”Which was sometimes the wrong way to go about it, but that was neither here nor there.“Jack Melton tried to kill me last night.And it’s possible he murdered Victoria, though the police at the moment aren’t certain whether it was suicide or murder.”Her eyes were wide with alarm.“Are you all right?” She looked me over, as if expecting to find bandages bulging beneath my coat or my skirt.“I was lucky.I got away.But it could have ended very differently.The police have Jack Melton in custody, and are talking to him.” I hoped I was right, and he was still there at the police station.“I don’t think you have anything to fear from him, but a word of warning.If he’s given bail, turn Jack Melton and his wife from your door, if they come here.Just to be safe.”She said, “Are you suggesting that it was Mr.Melton who attacked me? Not Michael Hart?”“I don’t know how to answer that.Yes, I believe it’s possible.Whether it’s right or not, I don’t know [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]