Chapter Three

Early next morning the house was quiet.

Suddenly there was a cry from the room next to Roger’s, his mother’s room.

Roger opened his eyes and looked at the clock.

It was nearly seven o’clock.

He got out of bed and opened the door quietly.

At the same time the door of his mother’s room opened and Diane came out.

Her face was very white.

Roger! It’s Mother! I brought a cup of coffee for her and I found her dead.

She’s dead.. dead in her bed,’ She cried.

Roger went quickly to the door of his mother’s room and looked in.

The window was open but the room was warm.

Molly was on the bed, one hand under her head.

Roger went across to the bed and put his hand on her arm.

It was cold.

On the little table next to the bed was a hot cup of coffee and an empty cup.

I’m going to call the doctor,’ Diane said.

She’s dead,’ Roger said slowly.

His face, too, was white.’ Mother is dead!

Diane walked across the room to the door.

I’m going to phone the doctor, ‘she said again.

Wait a minute!’Roger called. Let’s tell the family first.

Family! Nobody loved Mother!

Diane went out and ran downstairs.

Roger slowly went downstairs after her and stood by the telephone.

Dr Pratt, this is Diane Clarkson.

It’s my mother-she’s dead. Can you come quickly?

Diane put the phone down.

It isn’t true, Roger! Mother dead!

Daddy died last winter, and now Mother. ‘Diane began to cry.

Don’t cry, Diane, ‘Roger said.

Let’s go upstairs and tell Uncle Albert and Jackie.

No! You tell them! Nobody loved Mother.

You aren’t sorry. Look at you! You want her money. That’s all.

Roger suddenly wanted to hit Dian. ‘Be quiet! ‘He said.

What about you? You didn’t love mother.

You wanted her money,, too. Don’t forget that!

It’s true, ‘Diane said.

Oh, I can’t stay in this house.

I’m going out. I’m going to the river with the dogs.

No, ‘Roger said. The doctor’s coming and I want you here.

Diane said nothing. She went into the kitchen and at once the dogs got up and came to her.

Beautiful dogs! Daddy loved you and Mother loved you.

Now I’m going to love you.

She opened the back door and went out with the dogs.

Roger did not move. He stood by the telephone.

It’s true, ‘he thought. ‘ I am happy about the money.

I needed money, and now I’m rich.

Things are going to be easier for me now.

But Mother.. why didn’t I love her more?

And now she’s dead.

Slowly, Roger went back upstairs.

He wanted to dress before Dr Pratt arrived.

Dr Pratt was a little fat man without much hair.

He was the family doctor and he knew all the Clarkson family very well.

He went upstairs at one and looked at Molly’s body.

He looked carefully at the cup of coffee and the empty cup on the table next to her bed.

I’m sorry, Roger, ‘he said. Where is Diane? She phoned me.

She went out with the dogs,’ Roger said.

She was angry with me- angry with everyone.

Dr Pratt said nothing for a minute.

This is going to be very difficult. I’m going to phone the police, Roger.

‘Police! Why? What’s wrong?

‘I don’t know. You mother wasn’t ill.

I saw her on Thursday and she was very well.

Why did she die?

I don’t understand. I want to find out.

Roger went across to the window and looked out at the garden.

It was a beautiful summer morning.

The sky was blue and the garden was green.

It was all very quiet. His mother loved this garden.

But Tom Briggs wanted the garden.

And Roger wanted the garden, too.

Roger felt worse and worse.

Your mother took sleeping tablets, ‘Dr Pratt said.

Did you know? On Thursday she had a new bottle of tablets. But I can’t find it here in her room.

I didn’t know, ‘Roger said.

Very well. Let’s go downstairs and you can phone the police.

Roger went into the kitchen and made some coffee.

Just then Dian came in with the dogs.

Roger,’ she said. Look, I’m sorry. I was angry and said some angry things.

It doesn’t matter,’ Roger said.

Here you are, have some coffee.

Dr Pratt is phoning the police.

Did you know Mother took sleeping tablets?

Well, the bottle is not in her room.

What? I don’t understand.

Diane took the coffee and began to drink.

Her eyes looked big and dark.

Just then Dr Pratt came into the kitchen.

They’re coming at once, he said.

Diane- I’m sorry about your mother.

Dr Pratt, I want to tell you about last night. Everyone was very angry.

Be quiet! Roger said quickly.

Diane never thinks before she opens her mouth. He thought angrily.

Diane did not look at Roger.

Last night Mother went to bed early because everyone..’

Don’t tell me, ‘Dr Pratt said. ‘You can tell the police.

Roger’s face went red. Suddenly he felt afraid.

The police are going to talk to everyone, and ask questions, ‘he thought.

And they’re going to want answers. It’s going to be very difficult.

He finished his coffee and stood up.

I’m going upstairs, he said.

I’m going to tell Uncle Albert and Jackie about Mother.. and about the police.

Chapter Four

The police arrived very quickly.

There were a lot of them.

Some of them with cameras went upstairs to Molly’s room.

Two detectives talked to Dr Pratt in the kitchen.

The family waited in the sitting room.

It was a hot day again and the windows were open.

The dogs sat quietly at Diane’s feet. Nobody talked. Jackie smoked.

They waited for a long time.

Suddenly the door opened and the two detectives came in.

Good morning. I am Detective Inspector Walsh and this is Sergeant Foster.

The Inspector did not smile.

He was a big man in an old black suit and black hat and coat.

He wore a coat because he always felt cold.

Last night someone put sleeping tablets in Mrs Clarkson’s hot milk.

We are going to question everybody, and we need a room, please.

Roger stood up. I’m Roger Clarkson.

You can have my father’s old office.

Come with me, it’s along here.

The office was not a very big room, but there was a table and three or four chairs.

Roger opened the window.

I would like to talk first to your Uncle, Albert King, ‘ Inspector Walsh said.

He took off his hat and coat and sat down behind the table.

Of course, ‘Said Roger and left the room.

Sergeant Foster waited by the door.

He was a very tall young man with black hair and nice smile.

He was not very happy this morning because he usually played tennis on Sunday morning.

He was one of the best players at the Cambridge Tennis Club.

Albert came in and sat down.

I’m going to ask some questions, Mr King, ‘The Inspector said.

And Sergeant Foster is going to write it all down.

Albert looked at his feet. Yes, yes .it’s your job. I know that.

Tell me about last night, ‘Inspector Walsh asked quietly.

You were angry with Mrs Clarkson.

Albert looked at Inspector Walsh for the first time.

Yes, I was. Everyone was angry. Roger was angry.

Diane wanted money to go to America.

Then there’s a man called Tom Briggs..

He wants half the garden for his farm.

Molly was a rich woman.

I need money because my wife Annie-Molly’s sister- is very ill.

I told Molly this.

What happened next?

Well, Molly was angry with everyone and went upstairs.

We went into the kitchen for coffee.

Jackie wanted everyone to go up and say good night to Molly.

She lives here with Molly so she wanted Molly to be happy.

At first Roger said no.

He was angry and didn’t want to see his mother.

And did you see Molly in her room?

Yes. I was tired and I went upstairs first.

I went to Molly’s room and asked her for money again.

But no- there was no money for her sister.

Albert stopped and put his hand over his eyes.

Inspector Walsh watched Albert for a minute.

Did you hear noises after you went to bed?

Everyone went into Molly’s room to say good night, I think.

Later, I heard someone..

He – or she – went downstairs. That was about midnight.

‘Very well,  Mr King. Thanks you, you can go now.

Albert left the room.

Inspector Walsh put his hands behind his head.

What time is it? I’m hungry. We’re learning a lot, but I need some coffee.

Shall i go to the kitchen? Sergeant Foster asked.

Oh, no. Later .let’s see Jackie Clarkson next.

Jackie came in and sat down.

She looked down at her hands and said nothing.

We found the empty bottle of your mother’s sleeping tablets in Diane’s room,’ the Inspector said suddenly.

Then he waited. Jackie’s face did not change and she said nothing.

Tell me, did your mother get her tablets from the shop in the village?

Yes. My mother usually took a sleeping tablet every night so she needed a lot of tablets.

Sometimes she got them from the shop, sometimes I did.

On Thursday, I asked Peter Hobbs to get them.

He lives in the house across the road, and he often goes to the village on his bicycle.

I see. Your mother wanted to stay in this house.

How about you? Did you want to move?

Jackie looked up for a minute and then down at her hands again.

This is Mother’s house. I loved my mother. She was good to me.

Did you see your mother in her room last night?

Yes, everyone did. Diane made hot milk and took it to Mother.

She usually drank a cup of hot milk before she slept.

Inspector Walsh put his hands behind his head. Jackie was very quiet.

What did your mother say?

Jackie opened her bag and looked for a cigarette. ‘Can I smoke?

‘Of course. This is your house, ‘Inspector Walsh said.

He watched Jackie. ‘What did your mother say? He asked again.

She wanted to go downstairs again.

She remembered the dogs- she wanted to get some dinner for them.

I went to my room and she went downstairs.

What time was this?

I don’t remember. About midnight, I think.

And the cup of hot milk?

It was on the table by her bed.

Did you need your mother’s money?

No, Inspector. Money is not important to me.

There are more important things, Jackie said quietly.

Well, your Uncle Albert wanted money.

Tom Briggs wanted the garden. You wanted nothing?

Jackie finished her Cigarette and looked up at the Inspector.

Her eyes were suddenly angry.

Don’t forget Peter Hobbs. He lost his job because of my mother.

He wanted to kill her, you know. And what about Diane?

You found the empty bottle in her bag.

Inspector Walsh listened carefully.

We’re going to question everyone, Miss Clarkson.

Jackie said nothing for a minute.

Would you like some sandwiches and coffee, Inspector?

Ah! Yes, please! Inspector Walsh said warmly.

I would like sandwiches and coffee very much.

Jackie left the room. Inspector Walsh thought about her.

Why was she suddenly angry? The room was quiet.