[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.What I think you may have seen, Mrs Norris, was Miss Bradley in an excess of caution peering into the water to reassure herself that the bicycle had not resurfaced.The next morning she pushed Jeanie down the back stairs and all was in train for the grand finale – the murder.When the horrifying news was broken she was well into her character part of the dithering, well-meaning cousin who feared above all else making a nuisance of herself.A nice touch was saying after getting off the phone from Fritch that she’d dissuaded him from coming over out of consideration for his nerves.What she’d told him was to release Rouser.’ LeCrane smiled thinly.‘No doubt about it, she is a very clever woman, and yet she complacently overlooked the fact that there are other clever women at Mullings in the persons of Mrs Tressler and Mrs Norris.’ He looked to the former.‘We come to the navy-blue dress she was wearing and claimed to have worn yesterday.Enlighten us about your observations in that regard, if you would be so good, Mrs Tressler.’‘Yes, of course, Inspector.’ She turned to Florence.‘You may not have had occasion to notice, Mrs Norris, that when she came down this morning the hem of her petticoat was showing.’‘I did,’ said Ned.‘I didn’t,’ Florence smiled at them both.‘I naturally thought it was because she had dressed in a hurry,’ continued Mrs Tressler, ‘but that was made nonsensical when she said she had on the dress she had worn yesterday, in which case the lengths of dress and petticoat would remain the same.The dress did appear to be identical – the neckline was quite distinctive – and then I remembered that yesterday I’d thought it an inch or two too long for her.Also, that she spent almost all of yesterday in her room sewing.And the answer slipped into place.She’d been making a replica dress so that when her room was searched, no bloodstained clothing would be found or noted to be missing.She need only strip off her underclothing, including the petticoat, remove her stockings and shoes and – knife in hand – tiptoe down the hallway to Regina’s bedroom.Then, deed done, speed off to the lake and dispose of both pieces of evidence in a tied sack weighted down by a heavy rock.Prior to returning to the house she could walk a little way further into the water, wash herself, and then go into the summer house, allow herself time to dry off, and return in a garment, such as a raincoat, that anyone might accidentally leave behind and later retrieve.I am grateful, Inspector, that you bore in mind the compressed version I gave you this morning.’‘It is to you, Mrs Tressler, and to Mrs Norris, that I am indebted.I have never been more ably assisted on to the right path.Our tale of infamy is drawing to a conclusion.Fritch said the knife used was a discarded one from his kitchen – his mother was always losing things that had to be replaced – and that he had tossed it into the woods.He also stated he had snatched up Lady Stodmarsh’s pearls before hastening from the bedroom and dropped them not far from the hut, to cement the story that Leighton had broken into Mullings to steal something he could sell and had awakened her in the process.I have no doubt they were handed over to Fritch by Miss Bradley, possibly in the summer house.’ LeCrane nodded appreciatively at Mrs Tressler.‘What I don’t understand,’ said Ned, ‘is that, given how she seems to have thought of everything, it didn’t cross her mind – as it might those of the police – that if Jim were presumed to be the killer, he would also be expected to have fled the scene immediately following the murder.’‘A good point,’ acknowledged LeCrane.‘Fritch said she had thought of that but she assured him we’d be too ecstatic on getting him to overthink anything.What even so capable a murderess could not have foreseen was the impact on Jim Leighton when Sylvia Jones entered that hut yesterday afternoon.Miss Bradley had no way of knowing she was his former girlfriend and had come to Mullings on the desperately thin chance of discovering where he was so she could help him.This meeting would ruin all Miss Bradley’s carefully laid plans.Miss Jones gave Leighton what money she had in her purse.Very shortly after she left, promising to return, he took off through the woods towards the rear of the property and climbed atop a stack of logs in order to scale the wall.He was spotted carrying a bundle and heading for the railway station, where he took the train departing for London at 3.35 p.m., and was tailed continuously to the police station which was handling the earlier murder case.It was noted that on his way there he dropped the bundle in a waste bin [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]