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'Murder at the Brightwell' Chapters 19 & 20


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Illustration by Dongkyu Lim

 

Chapter 19

 

THERE WAS, I DECIDED, no time like the present to begin my machinations. I was unsure of Mr. Hamilton’s whereabouts at present, but I did not intend to break into his room just this moment. That would be best accomplished during lunch, when most of the others were away from their rooms. The fewer potential witnesses to my misdeeds, the better.

That meant that right now, or at least before the luncheon hour, I needed to acquire a key or some other method of ingress. Just because Milo and I were habitually negligent in locking our doors didn’t mean Mr. Hamilton would be so incautious. I will admit that several ideas, some more incredible than others, crossed my mind. In the end, I decided it would be equally impossible for me to impersonate Mrs. Hamilton to the desk clerk, dress as a maid, or scale the wall to his window. I would simply have to hope he left his room open or attempt to pick the lock, an area in which I feared my skills would be woefully inadequate. I could only pray that my ventures would meet with success.

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I asked the desk clerk for Mr. Hamilton’s room number and learned that his wife had a separate but adjoining room. This was good news for me. It could mean another possible means of entry, yet it also meant another person to avoid in my snooping endeavors.

I spent the remainder of the morning sipping tea on the terrace and writing a long, woe-filled letter to Laurel. Sealing the envelope and bringing it to the desk to have it posted, I remembered then that I had forgotten to read the letter she had sent to me. I had never taken it from my pocket. Well, it would have to wait for later. I had no intention of returning to my room at present, since I had no desire to encounter Milo. I wished that I had insisted he keep to his own room, but it didn’t seem very likely that I would be able to evict him now.

Thinking of him only made me angry, so I forced my thoughts to return to the task at hand. It had been my intention to call upon Inspector Jones, but Gil’s arrival had given me pause. I suspected the inspector would not be in a cooperative mood, seeing as Gil had been released, albeit not indefinitely. I would make a trip to see Inspector Jones tomorrow, provided some insidious errand did not bring him back to the Brightwell.

I also felt it would be the proper thing for me to visit Olive Henderson in the hospital. I had not heard a recent update on her condition, and I wondered how she was faring. If I was completely honest with myself, it was not solely her welfare that interested me, though I sincerely hoped that she was all right. What I was most curious to learn was what had prompted her to cut her wrists. If, as Veronica Carter claimed, Olive had not loved Rupert, what possible motive could she have for attempting to do away with herself? It was most puzzling. I could see no reason why she should wish to confide in me, but I could try.

At last, the luncheon hour approached, and I left the terrace and entered the hotel. Crossing the lobby, I made my way toward the lift. It was my intention to sneak a surreptitious glance into the dining room to ascertain that the Hamiltons had come down before I headed upstairs to try my hand at unlawful entry. As luck would have it, the doors to the lift opened and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton stood before me.

“Hello, Mrs. Ames,” Mr. Hamilton said. He dragged his eyes over me in an appraising way. “The ... sea air seems to have done you well. You’re looking hale and hearty this afternoon.”

I managed a tight smile at his unabashed reference to my moonlit rendezvous with Milo. Vulgar man.

“That’s a lovely dress, Mrs. Hamilton,” I said, turning to his wife, who stood silently by his side. Indeed, she looked very pretty in a gown of dusky rose. The color suited the softness of her complexion. She really was a lovely woman; I felt sorry she should be tied to so odious a man.

“Not the latest fashion, of course,” Mr. Hamilton said, before she could reply. “Larissa’s never had much eye for the newest things. Perhaps you could give her the name of your dressmaker. You always seem very well turned out.”

She flushed, intensifying my desire to find some sort of nasty weapon in his room. If only he could be guilty. Gil would be freed, and so would Larissa Hamilton.

“Mrs. Hamilton needs no help from me,” I told him coolly. I turned to her, hoping warmth and not pity showed in my smile. “In my opinion, you always look quite lovely, Mrs. Hamilton.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“Not having lunch?” Mr. Hamilton asked.

“Not just now. I’ve a headache.”

“I am sorry,” Mrs. Hamilton said. “I have some aspirin ...”

“A touch too much sun, I think. I’ll lie down for a while.”

I entered the lift and was relieved when the doors closed behind me. I had never before encountered such a frightful excuse for a husband. Compared to Mr. Hamilton, Rupert was beginning to look like quite the gentleman, and Milo seemed on the verge of sprouting a halo and wings.

The lift stopped on the Hamiltons’ floor, and I exited cautiously. My room was not on this floor, and, though most of the Brightwell guests were not likely to know that, I still did not care to be spotted. If something should go amiss, I would not want anyone remembering that they had seen me here.

Just at that moment, a gentleman exited his room and came down the hall. I resisted the urge to freeze guiltily in place as he tipped his hat to me and continued on.

I waited until he had entered the lift and then, with as much nonchalance as I could muster, I strolled down the hall and approached the door to Mrs. Hamilton’s room. I put my hand on the knob and was bitterly disappointed to find it locked. Not that I really expected to find it open. Mrs. Hamilton struck me as a cautious, dependable sort of person. It seemed only natural that she would make sure that her things were in order.

I sighed. There was only one hope left now, and the odds did not seem good. If Mr. Hamilton had hidden some incriminating object in his room, it was very unlikely that he would have left the door open for any person to waltz inside.

My hand stilled for just a moment on the knob before I slowly turned it. The handle gave, and, with the slightest pressure on my part, the door swung open.

I let out a little breath I didn’t know I had been holding and slid inside, shutting the door silently behind me.

Locking the door, I stood for a moment, taking stock of the room. The layout of Mr. Hamilton’s room was somewhat similar to mine, though my room rested on the southeast corner facing the sea and Mr. Hamilton’s was midway along the west side of the building. A large wardrobe and dressing table stood against the wall to my left. A sitting area sat near the window, and the bed rested against the wall that separated Mrs. Hamilton’s room from his. A writing desk and the door to the bathroom on the wall across from the bed completed the picture. The room was surprisingly tidy. I had been expecting an ogre’s den, no doubt, but everything was orderly, almost impersonal.

Before beginning my search, I moved to try the door to Mrs. Hamilton’s room and found it bolted from Mr. Hamilton’s side. I slid back the bolt and opened it, peering into Mrs. Hamilton’s room. The layout was the mirror image of this one, her bed against the wall to his room. I closed the door but left it unlocked. Should I hear Mr. Hamilton coming back, it would be that much easier for me to slip into her room, where I could possibly make an escape. Of course, they might both arrive at their rooms together. In that case, there would be no escape. I determined that I would be gone long before they had finished lunching.

Not having a description of the item for which I was searching, I was at a loss for where to begin. The object had been small enough to fit in his pocket, which meant it could be in any number of places.

I decided to start with the obvious. I moved to the writing desk, which had two drawers. In the first, I found nothing more interesting than the hotel stationery, a few odd writing implements, a silver-handled letter opener, a gold lighter engraved with an H and a package of cigarettes. The second drawer contained a stack of envelopes. These were likely the letters that Mr. Hamilton had received since arriving at the Brightwell. I hesitated for only a moment.

I suppose I should have felt some sense of guilt as I sat at Mr. Hamilton’s desk and began rummaging through his private correspondence, but honesty compels me to admit that I did not. If that man was a murderer, I had no qualms about proving it. If he was not a murderer, he was still a nasty man whom I disliked intensely.

Unfortunately, there was no proof to be had. A cursory inspection proved the letters to be nothing more than dull business correspondence. I did not take the time to peruse them, but they seemed to be on the up-and-up from what I could make out. It was very disappointing.

Dropping to my hands and knees, I looked beneath the bed. There was nothing to be seen there but the ivory-colored carpeting.

Sighing, I rose and walked to the wardrobe. It was a massive thing, nearly floor-to-ceiling. I opened the doors and found it mostly empty, save for a few suits of clothing and some shirts. It seemed Mr. Hamilton had packed lightly for his trip to the seaside. The clothes were expensive and well tailored, but slightly flashier than was strictly necessary.

The drawers of the dresser revealed only handkerchiefs, neckties, socks, and underthings.

I sighed again and turned to run my eyes over the room one more time. I had expected it would be difficult to search the room for a hidden object. I hadn’t anticipated there would really be so few places to look. If it had been the weapon that Mr. Hamilton had scooped up, it would have to be large enough to inflict sufficient damage on a human skull. Such an object could not be swept under the rug.

Perhaps he hadn’t hidden it here after all. It was possible that he had disposed of it on his way up the steps, tossed it away into the tall grass that bordered the stairway.

Not willing to admit defeat just yet, I went into the bathroom. It was no less neat than his room had been. Everything was aligned with soldierlike precision on the shelf. I found a leather shaving kit, a razor, and a bottle of pungent cologne. The medicine cabinet revealed one thing of interest: a bottle of very strong sleeping tablets. I wondered if it might have been Mr. Hamilton who had drugged me. I grudgingly admitted to myself that he was not the only person in the world with access to such medicine.

Lost in thought as I exited the bathroom, I was not prepared for what awaited me.

“What are you doing here?”

I started, barely stifling a gasp. Milo was standing in the door that separated the two rooms. He leaned casually against the door frame, as though these were our rooms and not those of two near strangers whose privacy we were invading.

“What are you doing here?” I demanded.

“I believe I asked you first.”

“How did you get into Mrs. Hamilton’s room?” I asked, determined not to answer his questions before he answered mine. “I tried the lock.”

“But you didn’t have this,” he said, holding up a key.

“The key to Mrs. Hamilton’s room?”

“Yes, you might have told me you were coming up here. Though it appears you had little need for my assistance.”

“The door was unlocked,” I said. “Wherever did you get her key?”

He smiled. “From the lady herself.”

It seemed too incredible, even for Milo. “She didn’t give you the key to her room ... as an invitation?”

“No,” he admitted, stepping into the room. “You may find it hard to believe, my love, but there are women with whom my charm extends only so far. We were chatting after breakfast this morning when she mentioned the draft in the sitting room, and I offered to come up and get her shawl.”

I raised a brow. “And neglected to return her key?”

“I misplaced it along the way and got another from the desk clerk. They’re very obliging about their keys.”

“Very clever of you,” I said.

“I thought so.”

I sighed. “Well, there seems to be nothing here. I can’t find anything that might have been used to murder Rupert.”

“Perhaps you haven’t looked in the right place.”

“If you think you can do better, you’re certainly welcome to try,” I said irritably. I was still angry with Milo, but I had decided Mr. Hamilton’s bedroom was probably not the best place to have it out.

Milo ambled to the wardrobe and opened the doors. “The chap hasn’t got many clothes,” he noted.

“Most gentlemen don’t require as many clothes as you do when traveling,” I said tersely.

“You’re angry with me,” Milo said suddenly, turning to face me. “You weren’t nearly so cross at breakfast.” A satisfied smile crept across his face. “I think perhaps you didn’t get enough sleep. In that case, I suppose I am to blame.”

I clenched my teeth against an angry retort when I heard a most unwelcome sound. Voices were approaching in the hallway. My eyes met Milo’s and we both stilled to listen.

Though I couldn’t make out any words, the loud, boisterous tones left no doubt as to who stood outside the door. Mr. Hamilton had finished his lunch.

I glanced at the door to Mrs. Hamilton’s room. Perhaps there was still time to slip into it and escape into the hall. That hope was quickly crushed as I heard a soft answer that must have been hers. They were both in the hallway about to enter their rooms.

I watched in utter horror as the doorknob rattled and began to turn. Mr. Hamilton was entering his room, and there was nowhere to go.   


Chapter 20

 

I HAVE OFTEN heard the expression about one’s blood running cold, but I cannot say I ever truly experienced it until that moment. It seemed like an eternity that I stood frozen, my mind racing over the possible consequences of being discovered.

Fortunately, Milo took action. With smooth, rapid motions, he quietly closed the door between the two rooms and, returning to where I stood, grabbed my arm, pushing me into the wardrobe. He slipped in after me and pulled the doors closed behind us, just as I heard the door to Mr. Hamilton’s room open.

The wardrobe was apparently of impressive construction, for no light slipped in the seams of the doors; it was black as pitch inside and immediately stuffy. I also couldn’t help but notice that the size of the space seemed to have diminished drastically from when I had gazed in moments before. My back was against the sidewall, and Milo stood directly in front of me. He was too tall to stand up straight, so he leaned toward me, his hands on the wall on either side of me. My hand rested on his chest, and I could feel the slow, steady beat of his heart, which was in marked contrast to the mad racing of my own.

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Outside the wardrobe, I could barely make out the sounds of Mr. Hamilton moving about the room. Mrs. Hamilton had apparently entered her own room, for I heard no sound of her voice. Now that the moment of crisis had passed, at least for the time being, I began to reflect on exactly how preposterous our situation was. Even if we were not caught suspiciously ensconced in Mr. Hamilton’s wardrobe, I might well be stuck here for hours with Milo quite literally breathing down my neck.

As if on cue, my husband took this moment to exasperate me further.

“Rather cozy in here, isn’t it?” he whispered into my ear.

“This is all your fault,” I hissed.

“My fault? How is it my fault?”

“Be quiet. You’re using up all the air.”

We were both silent for a moment. Very few signs emanated from the room, and I was terrified Mr. Hamilton might fling the wardrobe doors open at any moment.

I wanted to cry with relief when I heard the unmistakable sound of Mr. Hamilton drawing a bath. If only he would go into the bathroom and shut the door, we could make our escape. Yet it seemed that luck was not on our side. Though the water continued to run, Mr. Hamilton could be heard whistling to himself as he moved about the room. At least the running water would help to conceal our voices.

“Good heavens,” I whispered. “I hope he doesn’t decide to lay out the clothes from his wardrobe before he takes a bath.”

“It would be a bit awkward,” Milo agreed. “We might have talked our way out of being discovered in his room, but being discovered in his wardrobe is a different matter entirely.”

“This is your fault,” I said again. “If you hadn’t been here ...”

“You would have been caught.”

“I would not.”

The whistling faded as Mr. Hamilton presumably made his way back into the bathroom. The sound of the water did not diminish, however, so it seemed he had not yet shut the door.

“It occurs to me,” Milo said after a moment, “that there may be distinct advantages to the situation in which we have found ourselves.”

“Such as?” 

“Use your imagination, Amory,” he murmured. He leaned to kiss my neck, and I stiffened.

“Don’t,” I said.

His arms moved around me, and he pressed closer. “Haven’t you ever wanted to be kissed in a dark wardrobe?”

“There’s no need. Gil’s not here to see you now.”

“Ah,” he said, his mouth still pressed beneath my ear. The understanding implicit in the single syllable irritated me further.

“You did it on purpose,” I said, pushing against his chest.

He leaned back ever so slightly but didn’t bother to deny it. “All’s fair in love and war, darling.”

“And which, exactly, is this, Milo?”

“It was only a kiss, Amory. It wasn’t as though I ravished you in the lobby.”

“You needn’t feign attraction to me for Gil’s sake.”

“You little idiot.” He kissed me in earnest then, and it was a long moment before I pushed him away.

“Stop, Milo. Listen.” A series of splashes reached our ears. It seemed that Mr. Hamilton entered his bath. The water was still running, however, and it did not sound as though the door had been closed. Did the man intend to bathe with the bathroom door open? We waited.

Finally, Milo disentangled himself from me, and pushed the door open the slightest crack. A moment later, he pushed it open farther. The light shone across his face as he frowned. “Wait here a moment,” he said.

“I don’t ...” He slipped out and closed the door before I could finish my sentence. I sighed into the darkness.

He was gone what seemed to be an inordinately long time. Then I heard another splash. I hoped Milo had not been discovered, but there was no sound of voices, so I waited a moment longer. I was about to step out and investigate for myself when Milo pulled the doors open. His expression was uncharacteristically solemn, and I felt that his sleeves were wet as he assisted me from the wardrobe.

“What’s the matter?” I whispered. 

He nodded toward the adjoining door, and I saw that water had seeped out of the room onto the carpet. And still the water was running in the bathtub.

“What ...” My eyes met his, and suddenly I knew.

I stepped toward the bathroom.

“Amory, perhaps you’d better not.”

I ignored him and went to the door, looking in to the room I had rummaged through not long before. It was just as I had feared. Mr. Hamilton, still dressed in his undershirt and trousers, was half-submerged in the bathtub full of water. His legs hung over the edge, and his face, eyes bulging wide, stared blankly up from beneath the surface.

I stifled a gasp with my hand. I turned to Milo, my eyes wide.

“I’m afraid the plot thickens,” he said.

 

***

 

It was all very like some horrible bout of déjà vu. Gazing down at the body of someone who had been alive only minutes before was awful indeed. Doing it twice in one week was utterly appalling. Though I had thoroughly disliked the man, seeing him floating in a tub like so much driftwood left me feeling shabby about my uncharitable thoughts.

“Perhaps we should pull him out,” I said numbly.

“Better leave him for the police,” Milo answered.

“Are you sure he’s ... dead? Perhaps we can still do something.” I knew even as I spoke that it was far too late to do anything.

“I pulled his head out a moment ago to check. He’s quite dead.”

The nonchalance with which Milo spoke of handling the corpse made me feel a bit ill. I shuddered as I recalled the brush of his wet cuffs against my skin.

“We’d better call the police,” I said.

Milo walked past me, his shoes sloshing in the water that ran across the floor. He pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and used it to turn off the water.

The room suddenly seemed very quiet. I glanced back at Mr. Hamilton. His eyes were blue; I had never noticed.

Milo made his way back to my side.

“Let’s go, Amory.” He took my elbow and guided me from the room.

The next few moments passed rather in a blur. Back in the lobby, Milo told the desk clerk to call the police while I tried to collect my wits. Then we went back to our room to wait.

As Milo removed his damp shirt, I sat on the sofa, attempting to calm my nerves. I didn’t know what had come over me. My hands were shaking, and my legs felt like rubber.

Milo pulled on a fresh shirt, and I watched his fingers as he deftly buttoned it. His hands were steady. If stumbling across a body in a bathtub had rattled him, he certainly didn’t show it.

“How do you think it happened?” I asked at last.

“That, my dear, is a very good question,” he replied, knotting his tie. 

“Perhaps he fell and hit his head,” I suggested, wanting desperately to believe it.

Milo smoothed his tie and regarded me with a bland expression. “Come now, Amory. You’re much too clever to believe that.”

He was right; I didn’t believe it. Not for a moment.

“This is like a nightmare,” I said, dropping my head into my hands. “It’s all too horrid for words.”

Milo sank onto the sofa beside me. “It’s a nasty business, isn’t it,” he agreed as he lit a cigarette and proceeded to smoke it, relaxed as ever. Some little part of me was disappointed that he didn’t pull me to him in a comforting embrace. I desperately needed a bit of reassurance at the moment.

Milo’s sangfroid was not rubbing off on me. I stood, too nervous to sit, and began to pace. “Why should someone wish to kill Mr. Hamilton?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea.”

“It could have been anyone. He left his door unlocked.”

“Yes, you got in easily enough.”

“But it would have had to be timed impeccably well. How should they know that he was preparing to bathe? Only Mrs. Hamilton might have known, and she wouldn’t have been able to do such a thing.”

“Amory darling, do sit down. You’re wearing a path in the rug.”

“Perhaps they meant to kill him and just happened to take advantage of the bath,” I said. “That seems more likely. But who could have done it? We didn’t hear anything.”

I stopped pacing as another horrible thought occurred to me. “Milo, whatever are we going to tell the police?”

He shrugged. “The truth, I suppose.”

“Tell them what, exactly? That we were hiding in the wardrobe?” I asked, aghast at the suggestion. “I suppose you think Inspector Jones would applaud us for our discretion.”

“I really think you should sit down. You’re very pale.” 

“I’m perfectly well,” I replied, but I dropped onto the sofa next to Milo anyway. The truth was that I didn’t feel at all well. Though my hands had ceased to tremble, my insides felt all aquiver. I could not understand why I had taken this so hard. I had not been so affected by the death of Rupert. Then again, I had only seen his body from afar. Mr. Hamilton’s body had been much more of a shock. The image of his staring eyes was something I was not likely to forget for a long time to come.

We sat in silence as we waited. Milo smoked with the appearance of perfect contentment as I wrung my hands, lost in thought. It just didn’t make sense. Who could have killed Mr. Hamilton? Even more perplexing was the question, Who would want to?

It seemed an eternity before the officious rap sounded at our door.

Milo rose and went to open it, and I stood expectantly.

“Mr. and Mrs. Ames,” Inspector Jones said as he entered, hat in hand. His tone was calm, but something about his posture seemed poised and alert, like a cat about to pounce. “I understand there has been another ... unfortunate incident.”

“Have you been to Mr. Hamilton’s room yet?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. He turned to Milo. “I understand you reported the body, Mr. Ames.” Inspector Jones, I had discovered, possessed the peculiar talent of being able to say a great deal without saying anything at all. Somehow, the simple question managed to convey skepticism mingled with curiosity at just what Milo had been doing in Mr. Hamilton’s bathroom.

“Yes,” Milo answered. “I did. Or we did, rather.”

“I see.”

“It was dreadful,” I said.

The inspector’s gaze came back to me, and I thought I saw concern flicker there. “Mrs. Ames, perhaps you should sit down.”

I sighed and sat. Inspector Jones indicated the sofa, and Milo sat, too, as the inspector took a seat in one of the chairs.

“Now then,” he said, pulling his notebook and pen from his jacket pocket. “How exactly was it that you discovered the body?”

I glanced at Milo. He had suggested the truth, so the truth it would be. “We were in the room when it happened,” I said.

The inspector’s pen stilled, and he looked up sharply. “In the room?”

“Yes ... we were hidden.”

“Hidden?” he repeated. 

“Yes,” Milo said, “and while we’re confessing, I expect you’ll find that Amory’s fingerprints are scattered about the premises.”

“Blast,” I murmured. “I didn’t think of fingerprints.”

“You should have worn gloves,” Milo said.

Inspector Jones’s jaw clenched, and he was silent for a moment before he spoke. “May I ask why your fingerprints are scattered about Mr. Hamilton’s room, Mrs. Ames?”

“I ... I was doing a search,” I said.

“A search.” His jaw clenched again, and I thought he must be trying very hard to contain either extreme anger or amusement. I hoped for the latter but rather suspected the former.

I briefly explained the events that had led up to my inspection of Mr. Hamilton’s room, including observing Mr. Hamilton pick up something on the beach and my suspicion that it might be the weapon. Inspector Jones, after staring inscrutably for a moment, returned to jotting methodical notes and interjecting the occasional terse question.

“I could find no sign of anything that might be a weapon in his room,” I told him.

“You thought you had information regarding the murder weapon, and you didn’t think this was pertinent enough to share with the police?” he asked. His eyes had taken on a decidedly hard cast, and I realized that this might not bode well for us, especially since he had yet to hear the rest of our tale.

“I didn’t want to bother you with trifles,” I answered. “Not until I was certain.”

“Do you realize you could be arrested for breaking into someone’s room?”

“The door was unlocked,” I said. The inspector frowned but did not reply to this. Instead, he turned to Milo.

“And what part did you play in this, Mr. Ames? You obviously didn’t try to discourage your wife from her endeavors.”

“One does not dissuade Amory from anything,” Milo said dryly. “But, in fact, I didn’t know she was going to Mr. Hamilton’s room. I just happened to encounter her there in the course of my own investigations.”

I was fairly certain I heard the inspector swear beneath his breath.

“I know this must sound frightfully far-fetched,” I admitted. 

Inspector Jones sighed. “Go on, Mrs. Ames.”

I related how Milo and I had met up in the room and how we had heard Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton approaching. “We couldn’t get out of the room. So, we ... well ...”

“We hid in the wardrobe,” Milo supplied.

The inspector blinked once. “You were in the wardrobe when the incident occurred,” he said slowly. “What did you hear?”

“He was whistling to himself as he filled the bathtub,” I told him. “We could hear him walking around, and then he entered the bathroom.”

“And after that?”

“Well, we were a bit preoccupied,” Milo answered casually.

Inspector Jones digested this bit of news with perfect equanimity. I, on the other hand, was horrified.

“You needn’t make it sound so sordid, Milo.”

“Good heavens, darling. You’re blushing like a schoolgirl.”

“I am not,” I replied coolly.

Inspector Jones cleared his throat. “You heard no other voices?”

“No,” I answered, relieved at the change of subject. “I believe I heard Mrs. Hamilton in the hall, but I didn’t hear her enter the room. There was a bit of splashing, and then nothing.”/p>

The inspector jotted this down and closed his notebook. “That should be sufficient for now.”

“How is Mrs. Hamilton?” I asked.

He looked at me, his gaze suddenly sharp. “Why do you ask?”

I was startled by the question. “I assume she has taken Mr. Hamilton’s death very hard. Or haven’t you told her yet?” 

His expression relaxed ever so slightly. “No, Mrs. Ames. We haven’t told her yet. We are still hoping we will be able to.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Mrs. Hamilton was drugged, heavily. The doctor is with her now. We haven’t been able to wake her up.”

NEXT: CHAPTERS 21 & 22

 

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