Death at the Theatre: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 2

Death at the Theatre: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 2 by Celina Grace

Book: Death at the Theatre: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate: Book 2 by Celina Grace Read Free Book Online
Authors: Celina Grace
ever have any visitors?”
    Ethel had drained her glass by now and was looking longingly at the dregs at the bottom of the glass. I sighed and said, “Wait here,” and went and got her another half. I’d hardly touched my own. It struck me, walking back to the table, that this was an awfully strange way to spend my afternoon off. But it was sort of fun, too, in a way. Pretending to be somebody else.
    I repeated my question to Ethel as I sat down and pushed the full glass across the table to her.
    “No, ‘e never really had no one coming to see ‘im. Oh, apart from the lady, one time.” That made me sit up.
    “The lady? When was this?”
    Ethel glugged her beer. “About a month ago, I reckon. I just caught a glimpse of ‘er coming out of ‘is room. ‘Oy, oy,’ I thought, ‘cos Mrs Smitton don’t like any funny business going on, you know what I mean?” I nodded, trying to keep a straight face. “But I don’t think anything like that was going on. I don’t know – there was something funny about ‘er, I thought.”
    “About this woman?” I checked.
    “Yeah, ‘er. She come down the corridor and past me but I didn’t really get a good look at ‘er face. She had a veil on, great big black thing, and a hat pulled right down over ‘er face.”
    “Is there anything else you can tell me about her?” I asked. I felt a twinge of pride – I actually did sound like a real reporter.
    Ethel shrugged. “Nothing much else to tell. She was tall. But – I don’t know. There was just something funny about ‘er.”
    I pressed her for details but she couldn’t or wouldn’t elaborate further. By this time, Ethel’s second glass was empty and she took a look at the clock up over the bar and swore.
    “I’m gonna be late. I’ve got to go.”
    “Wait—“ I put a hand out to stop her without being sure of what it was I was going to say. I didn’t want to give her my address. What if she tracked me down and found out where I lived – and that I was actually a kitchen maid, not a journalist?
    “I’ve got to go—“
    “Fine.” I realised I couldn’t stop her. There was just one last thing I thought of to ask her. “Ethel? One last thing? Have you told the police about this woman?”
    Ethel looked both truculent and scared. “I don’t talk to the police,” she said. “Not me.” And with that, she opened the door, letting light and air into the dark, smoky saloon, and was gone.
     
    *
     
    I took the underground train home deep in thought. Obviously I was going to have to tell Inspector Marks about Ethel and what she’d seen at the rooming house. He’d virtually told me to ‘report back’ anything I might have discovered, and I wasn’t going to let him down. It seemed obvious to me that this woman, whoever she was, was the key to this murder. But who was she? And why could the police find no trace of her? Like a ghost. I stared, unseeing, out of the dark windows of the train into the blackness of the tunnel wall beyond. Despite myself, I shivered.
    I could feel that little niggle inside me that I’d felt once before, the itch and fidget of feeling that I was missing something, something important. What was it? It was something to do with the theatre, that was the only thing I could say for certain. The theatre was important in solving this case but how was it? And how could I work out its meaning and significance?
    I was so lost in thought I almost missed my stop. Jumping up just as the guard blew his whistle in warning that he was about to shut the gate, I leapt off the train just before he crashed it shut. The clock on the platform wall was almost unreadable through the accumulation of grime on its glass face, but I squinted and could just see that it was almost five and twenty past nine. Time I was home before Mr Fenwick locked up for the night.
    I walked a little nervously down the street. I wasn’t used to being out on my own so late. At least this area, being well to do and respectable,

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