Who Did It?
Inspector Chester of Scotland Yard soon arrived on the
scene of the crime. When the newspapermen saw him getting out of the car
they immediately realised that matters were serious. Inspector Chester had
a fine reputation. He had solved many difficult and complicated crimes
during the last few years. Most of them were robberies. This one concerned
the theft of jewels belonging to a famous film actress. She was reputed to
be a millionairess. So it was not surprising that the missing jewels were
valued at a quarter of a million pounds.
The newspapermen were eager to question the detective.
He stood on the pavement outside the house and smiled at the
photographers. "Have you a statement to make?" somebody asked.
The detective - tall, thick-set, middle-aged, clean-shaven pushed his way
through the crowd, climbed a few steps to the front door, turned round and
said in a cool, clear voice: "I have no statement to make.
As soon as there
is anything fresh to tell you, I'll let you know. " He beckoned to a
policeman, whispered a few words in his ear and went into the house. After
a "Move along, please" from the policeman, the crowd gradually
Upstairs , Inspector Chester walked over to the French
windows. It was probably through these that the~thieves had come.They had
left no clues, no finger-prints. It had apparently not been difficult for
them to break into the safe. Just as the detective was about to examine
this once again, the telephone rang.
"Hullo, Inspector", a soft, monotonous voice
said. "If you want a clue, why don't you talk to the servant? The one
with a small scar on the right cheek. "
Was this a trick? Would it put the Inspector on the
Inspector Robinson was swearing aloud when he arrived
at the fine, old house at the top of the hill. The past few weeks had heen
rough for him, and it looked as if there was more trouble ahead. It was
raining hard , and Carruthers , his assistant, who was waiting for him at
the gate, was wet to the skin. As they walked up the path together,
Carruthers explained what had happened.
The woman, Sylvia Fortagne, a daughter of Lord
Arthrington, had been found dead in the sitting-room by one of the
servants that evening. The police doctor, who had examined the body, was
sure that it was a clear case of poisoning. They had not moved the body;
it still lay face upwards, where it had fallen.Underneath her body they
had found the photograph of an unknown young man.
There had been no
signs of a struggle. The woman's husband had not been seen since
lunchtime. According to the cook he had left the house "in
anger", as she put it, after a quarrel with his wife, and had gone
for a ride on one of his favourite horses.
Carruthers pushed open the front door, and the two men
entered the hall.Inspector Robinson took off his hat and went into the
-We'll have to wait, said Carruthers wiping his
glasses. -It's no use waiting, said the Inspector. I don't think he'll
dare to come back. It's pretty obvious he did it.
Saying this , he put on his hat. They were about to
leave the house when they saw a dark figure approaching them from out of
the shadows. It was Nigel Fortagne.
Nigel Fortagne's story
-Yes, it's true that I knew that my wife was in love
with another man, but I trusted her and believed that she would forget
about him sooner or later. But when she returned from a weekend in Paris
this morning, she told me that she wanted a divorce and threatened to do
something terrible if I didn't agree to it. I refused, of course.
heavily at lunchtime and even opened the bottle which she had brought as a
present for me. She insisted that I should join her for a drink, but I
didn't, because I had taken my medicine. I'm not supposed to take it, with
alcohol. I suffer from a weak heart , you see. She was in a terrible
state, so I put some of my pills into my glass when she wasn't looking.
Then I exchanged the glasses.
It was not
really rriuch, but, of course, I should have known how dangerous these
pills can be. But at that moment I was so angry that I didn't care. I was
sic'k and tired of the argument and left the house.She was so drunk she
wouldn't have noticed any difference in the taste of the sherry. I came
back to see how she was. And , besides, there's no point in running away,
because life doesn't mean anything to me without her.
James Highsmith's story
Afterwards, James Highsmith, the young man in the
photograph, was questioned by Inspector Robinson. When he was told what
had happened he broke down.
-Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that we were in love. We
had a wonderful time in Paris, but I was afraid of losing her. Sylvia
often talked about killing him because he would never agree to a divorce.
I begged her not to do it, but she said that one of us had to. Then I
found one of his prescriptions in her hand-bag. I bought the medicine, put
some of it into a bottle of sherry and told Sylvia to give it to him as a
It was him
or me. I wasn't anxious about her drinking from the bottle because I was
fairly sure that it wasn't really enough to kill a normal, healthy
grown-up. I must have killed her, though, and the only comfort I can find
in her death is that I don't have to share her with him any longer.
Sylvia Fortagne's story
James Highsmith did not know that the police had found
a message on a slip of paper in Sylvia Fortagne's hand-bag.
Please forgive me for the terrible thing I am going to
do, but it's the only way out. I have considered everything carefully, and
I know it's very selfish, but W. has destroyed my life and made me
thoroughly unhappy.When you receive this letter he will have been found
dead after a heart attack with a glass of sherry in his hand. I tried to
phone you earlier this morning, but couldn't reach you. In case they
examine the body they will think that he took an overdose of his medicine
by mistake. His family will come over to comfort me and will probably stay
for a few weeks, so, please,don't try to get in touch. It will all be
worth it in the end.
All my love,
Crime and Punishment
From the court notes of a local reporter
In court at 9 0' clock.Apart from me there are a few old ladies who
have come to sit in the warm and a class of 14-15 year-old with
starts. First case: Henry P. , 47, divorced, charged with being
He refused to leave a pub at closing time and caused a bit of
when the police tried to arrest him. P. said he had had an
with his boss.and could not face going home to an empty flat.
F. , 72, shoplifting. Apparently Mrs F. had stolen a frozen
she had hidden under her hat (At this the school children burst
laughing and even the magistrates have difficulty keeping a
The chicken was so cold that she fell unconscious. otherwise she
probably not have been caught. Mrs F, in tears, says she had not
meat for three weeks. It torns out that, although she has the
pension, she does not know about other forms of support.
S. , 42, a teacher, charged with beating his wife and two young
Mrs S. is in hospital in bad shape; the mother-inlaw
taking care of the children. The neighbours sent for the
thank heavens, where neighbours did not "mind their own
S. had already run away twice, but S. had promised to change and
gone home again. S. said that he was ashamed of what he had
that he often lost his temper with his wife, who was quarrelsome
no sense of duty. The school children looked thoughtful;they
thought that teachers do not do that sort of thing.
D. , 19. D. stole , or rather"borrowed"a motorcycle ,
said, to give it back to the owner after trying it out. D.'s
at sea and the mother is left to bring up four children , of
is the eldest, by herself:
A. , 45 , a doctor's wife , president of a local ladies' club ,
leaving a fashion shop wearing two dresses , only one of which
to her. Admitting that'she had wanted to steal the dress, she
not explain why.