around the room, giving no sign on that impassive face of whether he approved of our taste in pictures or not. Both he and Parkin had notebooks, in which they made very occasional jottings. When both of them had had a sip or two of the coffee, Coulton started straight in.
âMrs Kitterege,â he began, âI believe you became aware of your husbandâs deathââ
âWhen I saw him floating down the river,â I interrupted, in a metallic voice that surprised me. I lowered it. âItâs not a very nice way to learn youâre a widow.â
âNo. It must have been quite horrifying. When did you last see your husband?â
I had to suppress irrelevant associations with Victorian historical paintings.
âJust before I took my lunch-break. That was quite late. About two, or a bit later, I think. Mrs Nielson may remember more accurately. Iâd been waiting for Mr Horsforth, whom I shared the junk stall with, to come back. When he did, I took off with Mrs Nielson, who had the jam stall opposite.â
âAnd did you talk to your husband outside, by the Test Your Strength machine, which I gather he ran?â
âNoâheâd come in, and had been chatting with me by my stall. Colonel Weston was filling in outside, and Marcus said that he was hoping to go home for a longish break around three-thirty. Iâm afraid when Mr Horsforth turned up, I just took off.â Tears welled up as I thought of the briskness of my last leave-taking of Marcus, but I suppressed them. âI was afraid heâd disappear again, and weâd never get any lunch.â
âAnd you and Mrs Nielson were together the whole time during lunch?â
I tried not to tense up, or become obviously wary.
âNo. We went to a corner of the meadow to eat our sandwiches. Then her dog demanded a proper walk, so she went off, and I just stayed there for a bit.â
âYes, aloneÂ .Â .Â . Though anyone could have seen me there. I didnât want to go back to the tent at once. I felt Iâd rather been taken advantage of by Mr Horsforth.â
âBut you did eventually go back. How long had you been alone in the meadows by then?â
âAbout fifteen minutes, I suppose. Quite long enough to murder my husband.â
The tired eyes raised themselves from the pad on whichCoulton was making a note of those fifteen minutes. They looked at my flushed face, as if they had been through all this before.
âWe donât know when your husband was murdered, Mrs Kitterege, but the indications are that it was decidedly later than the time we are talking about at the moment. We are just trying to get our picture of the whole afternoon straight. Soâyou will have got back to the tent when?â
âI really donât know. But somewhere about twenty to three, I imagine.â
âAnd you didnât talk to your husband outside the tent?â
âNo. I didnât see him. Colonel Weston was running his game. Which is odd, because it was certainly nothing like three-thirty. Perhaps Marcus had gone to do something specialâor just gone to the loo, perhaps.â
âIâll ask Colonel Weston. And did you leave your stall again beforeâbefore you went out and saw your husbandâs body?â
âNo. Iâve thought it over. Mr Horsforth never came back to relieve me after my lunch-break.â
I felt like adding, âSo if you want to pin the murder of Marcus on me, youâll have to fix it much earlier than you thought.â I suppressed it, because Iâd had one unwise outburst already; but the tired eyes were on me, and I suppose he recognized that we were both thinking along the same lines. I said:
âWhen do you think it happened?â
âWe donât know. We are obviously going to have to do a lot of interviewing, testing of peopleâs memories, because of course the medics wonât be able to
Boston Women's Health Book Collective
Lope de Vega, Gwynne Edwards