The Green Remains (A Nora Tierney Mystery, #2)
The Blue Virgin
“Who did you say you were writing for?”
His searching look had Nora clinging closer to the facts. “I’ve just left People and Places, and I’m trying to break into freelance.I wanted to start with a profile of someone I knew and admired.” As she said this, Nora realized this was truly an option open to her. She added quickly:
“I wouldn’t stay for more than few minutes.”
Wheeler tapped his pockets for his key. “Just ten minutes then. Where are my blasted . . . oh, I gave them to Vance while I added to my notes on Rebecca.” He turned the handle, which opened easily and gestured for her to proceed into his rooms. “Do you know DuMaurier, Miss Tierney?”
“One of my personal favorites. I know Hitchcock had to promise her to keep the heroine unnamed before she would agree to let him film it.” Hoping this nuggets from Simon’s eternal trivia would endure her to Wheeler, Nora entered the room, tripped over the outstretched arm of a man who lay facedown on the rug.
“Edward!” Wheeler knelt down quickly next to the man and felt for a pulse. His face ashen, he looked up at Nora in disbelief as he pronounced, “He’s dead!”
The Green Remains
Higgins entered to find the nurse. Gillian Cole, adjusting a tray on the over-bed table set across Edmunde Clarendon’s lap. The head of his bed was raised, and a large linen napkin spread out across his chest. Higgins set his jaw so his reaction to the man’s loss of function wouldn’t show. Good God. When Higgins had been a constable, this was the same man he’d helped wrestle out of The Scarlet Wench pub on numerous occasions. Leave it to Travers to have him deal with the sick man.
Higgins nodded to Gillian and moved closer to the bed, withdrawing his warrant card. “Mr. Clarendon, I’m Detective Sergeant Higgins. I’m very sorry about the loss of your nephew. I have a few questions for you today, sir.”
There was no reaction from the man. Gillian cleared her throat and stood back from the bed. He tried again. “When was the last time you saw Keith, Mr. Clarendon?”
Edmunde stared ahead, the dropping lid over his right eye almost closed. Higgins’ frustration escalated.
“Did Keith visit you here, Mr. Clarendon?” He spoke louder and waited respectfully for some sign the man had heard him. He knew a stroke might affect the man’s speech but surely not his hearing? Finally he burst out: “Blink an eye, move a finger, do something, Mr. Clarendon.”
Higgins kept himself from flinching as Edmunde moved his head slightly to face him, staring at the detective with his good eye, and slowly raised his tremulous left hand. At last, some kind of reaction. Was Edmunde trying to shake his hand?
With a vicious shove, Edmunde sent his breakfast flying down the front of Higgins’ best suit.
“I think he got that, sir,” Gillian pronounced.
Declan reached down and drew out a handkerchief. Simon saw him wiggle something out of one side of the woodwork; then he appeared to wind it around in a circle. He dropped the handkerchief-wrapped bundle into a bag and used the tape to seal the beg. He wrote across the tape and stood up. He had everyone’s attention. “You can go down now, Grayson.”
“Who put you in charge?” Gemma demanded from the hallway as Grayson started down the stairs, holding onto the railing.
Simon dread what he knew would be the end to Declan’s anonymity. He helped Fiona work her way gingerly down the stairs, aided by Nora. Grayson followed behind them.
Declan waited until everyone safely reached the hall. “I’m here on holiday, but in Oxford I’m a detective inspector.”
“A bloody copper in our midst!” Gemma shouted.
“Shut up, you idiot.” Poppy punched Gemma in the arm. “He’s got a right to go away same as anyone else.”
“The point is –“Declan’s voice rose above them all. “–it appears fishing line has been deliberately strung across the top step from a nail set low, then wound around the base of the newel post.”
There were gasps from below, but it was Helen’s voice that spoke out. “Just like in the play–cut brake cables and a fall downstairs.”