Murder Adrift

Murder Adrift by George Bellairs

Book: Murder Adrift by George Bellairs Read Free Book Online
Authors: George Bellairs
about. Then, as I got to my own gate, I heard soft footsteps and before I knew where I was, he was at me.’
    â€˜Did you see him?’
    â€˜No. It all came so suddenly that before I knew what was happening I must have passed out. He hit me hard.’
    â€˜Did he come behind you, or were you face to face?’
    â€˜He stood in front of me, but I couldn’t see him in the dark.’
    He touched his forehead where the doctor had plastered a wad of bandage. He winced.
    â€˜He hit me and I fell. I can’t have gone quite unconscious right away because I heard heavy footsteps approaching and I tried to get up but I couldn’t and then Iknew nothing more till I found myself here with the doctor speaking to me. I thought it was all over with me. I suppose it’s the same chap who killed Heck Todd?’
    â€˜You didn’t get an impression of what the man was like?’
    â€˜No. I didn’t even see him. He must have heard somebody approaching. Otherwise, he might have finished me off.’
    â€˜Why should anybody want to do that, sir?’
    Mr. Pollitt shed more tears.
    â€˜I don’t know, Chief Superintendent. I’ve always tried to be decent and do my best for the town and my fellow citizens. Why else should they make me mayor?’
    â€˜Do you think anybody followed you home after the dinner?’
    â€˜I don’t know. There were plenty of people about on the quayside in front of the
They were all saying good-night and getting out their cars to go home. But why should anybody do that and then try to kill me? We’d all had a good night together. This has spoiled it all. . . .’
    The doctor was back and with him the deputy mayor, a man called Parsons.
    â€˜What’s going on?’ asked Mr. Parsons.
    The doctor had had quite enough already.
    â€˜You’d better ask Mr. Pollitt. He’s a lot better and well able to answer your questions himself.’
    Mr. Pollitt began to weep again when he saw his deputy. It was as if he’d found his long-lost brother after great tribulation.
    â€˜I’m so glad to see you, Lionel. . . .’
    The doctor placed some pink tablets on the table.
    â€˜Put him to bed, Lionel, and give him these tablets to make him sleep. I’ll see him in the morning.’
    And with that he left and took Littlejohn with him.
    When Littlejohn entered the
he found the phone boxes occupied by the London reporters. One of them was so excited that he could hear all he said.
    â€˜Terror Strikes again in Fordinghurst . . .
    A Homicidal Maniac . . . Question Mark . . .

Chapter 7

Medical Opinion
    The weather had changed overnight. Now it was raining steadily, and the wind was driving it almost horizontal. The few figures passing on the waterfront hurried along about their business leaning heavily against the gusts which hit them and almost knocked them off their feet. The tide was out and the boats tied up in the river were surrounded by mud.
    The previous night’s adventures had left Littlejohn with little inclination for work, or for a heavy breakfast. He stood at the window of his room watching the gulls riding on the wind like gliders.
    Suddenly Hopkinson appeared round the corner. Presumably he had been visiting the police station, where he seemed to think it was his duty to call and ask for any news they had obtained overnight. His hat was pulled down over his ears and he held his raincoat closely as he battled with the wind. Littlejohn met him as he entered the hotel.
    â€˜Good morning, sir. I just called at the police station to ask if they’d had a good night. They told me about the attack on the mayor. It seems you were in the middle of it all.’
    â€˜Yes. By the time it was over the hotel was quiet and you were presumably asleep. I thought I’d wait until morning to put you in the picture. Have you had breakfast?’
    Of course, Hopkinson had; probably a heavy meal eaten with his

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