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.I went after him, of course.How could I not? Why, I had to tell him not to be silly.I couldn’t bear for him to think me cruel—”Despite the almost toneless recitation in the inspector’s precise British speech, there was an echo of a woman’s overweening hunger to be loved.“—and I caught up with him on the terrace.But he wasn’t like his usual self.He was gruff and angry.I talked and talked.I told him he was quite wonderful, that of course I really cared for him.And I did, you know, as a friend.That was always how I felt, that he and I were such good friends.He calmed down and we walked about the terrace.I felt that everything was all right.He asked me to walk in the gardens but I told him I was rather tired and I thought I’d go in and we said good night.I went back to the hotel and I never saw poor Roddy again.”I’d accepted Connor’s version, most of it, until the concluding sentences.I didn’t believe for a minute in that chaste good night at the entrance to the gardens.A truculent drunk would not metamorphose into a genial companion suggesting a stroll in the moonlight among the bougainvillea.Chief Inspector Foster cleared his throat.“Mrs.Bailey, you were seen at the tower with Mr.Worrell.I am giving you an opportunity to correct your statement of—”A chair scraped.“Upon advice of counsel, Mrs.Bailey will make no further statement.Come on, Connor.”“Steve,” her voice was high and frightened, “what if someone saw—” She broke off abruptly.I almost edged the door wider.Had Steve grabbed her arm? Frowned? Whatever, Connor said no more.There was a flurry of movement as Connor and Steve hurried out of the cardroom.Papers crackled, a briefcase clicked shut, a man’s firm tread sounded.The door to the hallway opened, closed.Mrs.Worrell pushed the connecting door shut, pushed it hard, with a violence that was the more frightening because it was directed against the inanimate door.She turned, bumped against me, the sharp bone of her elbow painful against my arm.“You…”I moved, too, but she reached the hall door first, flung it open.She glared at me, her gaze venomous.“Bitch.” Her footsteps clicked on the floor as she hurried away.I looked after her and wondered.Did she mean Connor? Or me?By the time I reached the desk in the main lobby, Mrs.Worrell was out of sight.Rosalind was still on duty.“Mrs.Collins.What may I do for you?” She might be getting toward the end of her shift, but her voice still had an eager lilt.Give me energy.Give me answers.Give me peace.How shocked she would have been had I answered honestly.Instead, I said briskly, “I’m looking for Chief Inspector Foster and I thought he came this way.”“I believe he and his assistant have left.You can check with Robert down in the drive.He’s parking cars this evening.” The hotel provided valet parking for dinner guests.The brochure proudly proclaimed the dining room a favorite of Bermuda families, and this evening that certainly appeared to be true.I found Robert at the foot of the main stairs.“Have the police left, Robert?”Robert had steady gray eyes, a freckled face, and, usually, a ready laugh.Tonight he looked pale and serious.“Yes, Mrs.Collins.Just now.”If I hadn’t eavesdropped alongside Mrs.Worrell, I could have been in the main hallway and caught the inspector before he left.But the door to the Sports closet was locked.Tomorrow would do.I felt certain the chief inspector would be here bright and early.Robert echoed my thought.“The chief inspector said he’d be back tomorrow.He asked for you, but there was no answer in your room.Will tomorrow be soon enough?”“Yes.Thank you, Robert.” I was turning away when I paused.“Robert, have you seen Mr.Worrell’s ghost?”“Ghost?” Robert’s voice was thin.His eyes blinked rapidly.“Oh, no, not me.I don’t know anything about it.” He looked past me.“Excuse me, Mrs.Collins, here comes a car.”He stepped past me.I climbed the steps, looked down to watch as Robert eased his long body into the tight seat of a VW.He carefully didn’t look my way.The hotel was falling into its evening rhythm as I walked slowly back to my room.There was no hint that a life had been lost only a hundred or so yards down the hillside, nothing to remind guests that the beach had been the scene of an intensive search, that the medics had struggled up the sloping path with a body bag.Through the open French windows, the sweet, balmy night air drifted inside with the murmurs of the birds as they settled into the soft darkness of night in the garden.The local diners appeared relaxed and cheerful, their chatter bright and animated as they walked toward the dining room or the bar.The very ordinariness made me angry.Damnit, George was dead! But what could I do about it? Perhaps tomorrow, when I talked to the chief inspector, I would persuade him that the purported ghost of Roddy Worrell mattered.In any event, surely he would agree to test the box kite for George’s fingerprints, perhaps even test the kite tomorrow night, see if he could re-create the luminous glow that had hovered by the tower.What would that prove?At the very least, it would prove that there was no ghost.It would prove that someone had spent considerable time and effort and ingenuity to create the semblance of a ghost.It would surely encourage the chief inspector to wonder why this effort had been made.I certainly wondered why.I was too tired now to make sense of any of it, but I was sure that the luminous apparition seen above the tower was connected to George’s death.I glanced toward the tower, a dark shape in the moonlight, and hurried into the building with our rooms.I was a little surprised to find our hall empty.I’d rather expected to catch Steve or Connor or Lloyd or Marlow in the hallway.I looked at the line of closed doors.Dinner was served at seven.It was a quarter to seven and I needed to change.My lips suddenly twisted in an ironic smile.Which was more important: to dress for dinner or to seek the truth about murder?I took a few swift steps, knocked on Connor’s door.I suppose I was impatient.I was knocking again, a demanding rat-a-tat when the door opened a scant three inches, framing a vertical stripe of Lloyd’s face.“Not now, Henrie O.” His voice was hushed.“Thanks, but Connor’s frazzled.Such stupid stuff, raking up an accident from a year ago.She and I are going out to dinner by ourselves.I managed to get some tickets to the ballet, part of the Bermuda Festival [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]