Died in the Wool: Roderick Alleyn #13
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World War II rages on, and Inspector Alleyn continues as the Special Branch’s eyes and ears in New Zealand. While his primary brief is spy-catching, he’s also happy to help with old-fashioned policing. Flossie Rubrick, an influential Member of Parliament and the wife of a sheep farmer, is murdered. Had she made political enemies? Had a mysterious legacy prompted her death? Or could the shadowy world of international espionage have intruded on this quiet farm?
Arthur moving about quietly in his room. I glanced down the corridor and saw Douglas there and, farther along, Fabian in the door of his room. We all had candles, of course. We didn’t speak. It seemed to me that we were all listening. We’ve agreed, since, that we felt not exactly uneasy but not quite comfortable. Restless. I didn’t go to sleep for some time, and when I did it was to dream that I was searching in rather terrifying places for the diamond clip. It was somewhere in the wool-shed but
you, Douglas, her candidate for the mariage de convenance. Ursy is the wayward heroine who shakes her curls and looks elsewhere. I, at least, should have the sympathy of the audience if only because I didn’t get it from anybody else. There is no hero, I go sour in the part. You ought to be the confidante, Terry, but I’ve an idea you ran a little sub-plot of your own.’ ‘I told you,’ said Terence Lynne, clearly, ‘that if we started to talk like this, one, if not all, of us, would regret it.’
Moon?’ he asked. The driver pointed sweepingly to the left. ‘They’ll pick you up at the forks.’ The road, a pale stripe in the landscape, pointed down the centre of the plateau and then, far ahead, forked towards the mountain ramparts. The passenger could see a car, tiny but perfectly clear, standing at the forks. ‘That’ll be Mr Losse’s car,’ said the driver. The passenger thought of the letter he carried in his wallet. Phrases returned to his memory. ‘…the situation has become positively
‘Come on.’ They went down to the drawing-room. Fabian was lying on the sofa with Ursula on a low stool beside him. Tommy Johns and Cliff stood awkwardly by the french windows looking at their boots. Markins, with precisely the correct shade of deferential concern, was setting out a tea-tray with drinks. Terence Lynne stood composedly before the fire, which had been mended and flickered its light richly in the folds of her crimson gown. ‘Here, I say,’ said Douglas. ‘This is no good, Fab. Damn
Markins woodenly. ‘I’d like to hear what Markins was doing,’ said Douglas suddenly. ‘He has already given me an account of his movements,’ Alleyn rejoined. ‘He was on his way up the back path to the track, when he thought he saw me. Later he heard a voice which he mistook for mine. He continued on his way and met nobody. He visited the manager’s cottage and returned. I met him. Together we explored the track and discovered Losse, lying unconscious on the branch track near the wool-shed.’ ‘So,’