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Brunswick Gardens
Anne Perry

Zusatztext “Mesmerizing . . . a great place to begin with what I guarantee will become a Perry addiction.”— Los ... Lire la suite
Couverture cartonnée, 400 Nombre de pages  Plus d'informations
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Zusatztext “Mesmerizing . . . a great place to begin with what I guarantee will become a Perry addiction.”— Los Angeles Times “Once again . . . Perry amazes us.”— The New York Times Book Review   “As in most good detective fiction, no one and nothing—including death—is exactly as it seems.”— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   “Taut with tension and political intrigue.”— San Francisco Examiner   “[A] brilliant series.”— The San Diego Union-Tribune Informationen zum Autor Anne Perry  is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including  Death on Blackheath  and  Midnight at Marble Arch,  and   the William Monk novels, including  Blood on the Water  and  Blind Justice . She is also the author of a series of five World War I novels, as well as twelve holiday novels, most recently  A New York Christmas,  and a historical novel,  The Sheen on the Silk,  set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Los Angeles and Scotland. Leseprobe Pitt knocked on the assistant commissioner's door and waited. It must be sensitive, and urgent, or Cornwallis would not have sent for him by telephone. Since his promotion to command of the Bow Street station Pitt had not involved himself in cases personally unless they threatened to be embarrassing to someone of importance, or else politically dangerous, such as the murder in Ashworth Hall five months earlier, in October 1890. It had ruined the attempt at some reconciliation of the Irish Problem—although with the scandal of the divorce of Katie O'Shea, citing Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Irish majority in Parliament, the whole situation was on the brink of disaster anyway. Cornwallis opened the door himself. He was not as tall as Pitt, but lean and supple, moving easily, as if the physical strength and grace he had needed at sea were still part of his nature. So was the briefness of speech, the assumption of obedience and a certain simplicity of thought learned by one long used to the ruthlessness of the elements but unaccustomed to the devious minds of politicians and the duplicity of public manners. He was learning, but he still relied on Pitt. He looked unhappy now, his face, with its long nose and wide mouth, was set in lines of apprehension. "Come in, Pitt." He stood aside, holding the door back. "Sorry to require you to come so quickly, but there is a very nasty situation in Brunswick Gardens. At least, there looks to be." He was frowning as he closed the door and walked back to his desk. It was a pleasant room, very different from the way it had been during his predecessor's tenure. Now there were some nautical instruments on the surfaces, a sea chart of the English Channel on the far wall, and among the necessary books on law and police procedure, there were also an anthology of poetry, a novel by Jane Austen, and the Bible. Pitt waited until Cornwallis had sat down, then did so himself. His jacket hung awkwardly because his pockets were full. Promotion had not made him conspicuously tidier. "Yes sir?" he said enquiringly. Cornwallis leaned back, the light shining on his head. His complete baldness became him. It was hard to imagine him differently. He never fidgeted, but when he was most concerned he put his fingers together in a steeple and held them still. He did so now. "A young woman has met with a violent death in the home of a most respected clergyman, highly esteemed for his learned publications and very possibly in line for a bishopric: the vicar of St. Michael's, the Reverend Ramsay Parmenter." He ...

Auteur
Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Death on Blackheath and Midnight at Marble Arch, and the William Monk novels, including Blood on the Water and Blind Justice. She is also the author of a series of five World War I novels, as well as twelve holiday novels, most recently A New York Christmas, and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Los Angeles and Scotland.

Texte du rabat

In London's affluent Brunswick Gardens, the battle over Charles Darwin's revolutionary theory of evolution intensifies as the respected Reverend Parmenter is boldly challenged by his beautiful assistant, Unity Bellwood--a "new woman" whose feminism and aggressive Darwinism he finds appalling. When Unity, three months pregnant, tumbles down the staircase to her death, Superintendent Thomas Pitt is as certain as he can be that one of the three deeply devout men in the house committed murder. Could it have been the Reverend Parmenter? His handsome curate? Or his son, a fervent Roman Catholic? Pitt and his clever wife, Charlotte, refuse to settle for less than the truth--or less than justice.



Résumé

In London’s affluent Brunswick Gardens, the battle over Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution intensifies as the respected Reverend Parmenter is boldly challenged by his beautiful assistant, Unity Bellwood—a “new woman” whose feminism and aggressive Darwinism he finds appalling. When Unity, three months pregnant, tumbles down the staircase to her death, Superintendent Thomas Pitt is as certain as he can be that one of the three deeply devout men in the house committed murder. Could it have been the Reverend Parmenter? His handsome curate? Or his son, a fervent Roman Catholic? Pitt and his clever wife, Charlotte, refuse to settle for less than the truth—or less than justice.



Échantillon de lecture
Pitt knocked on the assistant commissioner's door and waited. It must be sensitive, and urgent, or Cornwallis would not have sent for him by telephone. Since his promotion to command of the Bow Street station Pitt had not involved himself in cases personally unless they threatened to be embarrassing to someone of importance, or else politically dangerous, such as the murder in Ashworth Hall five months earlier, in October 1890. It had ruined the attempt at some reconciliation of the Irish Problem—although with the scandal of the divorce of Katie O'Shea, citing Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Irish majority in Parliament, the whole situation was on the brink of disaster anyway.

Cornwallis opened the door himself. He was not as tall as Pitt, but lean and supple, moving easily, as if the physical strength and grace he had needed at sea were still part of his nature. So was the briefness of speech, the assumption of obedience and a certain simplicity of thought learned by one long used to the ruthlessness of the elements but unaccustomed to the devious minds of politicians and the duplicity of public manners. He was learning, but he still relied on Pitt. He looked unhappy now, his face, with its long nose and wide mouth, was set in lines of apprehension.

"Come in, Pitt." He stood aside, holding the door back. "Sorry to require you to come so quickly, but there is a very nasty situation in Brunswick Gardens. At least, there looks to be." He was frowning as he closed the door and walked back to his desk. It was a pleasant room, very different from the way it had been during his predecessor's tenure. Now there were some nautical instruments on the surfaces, a sea chart of the English Channel on the far wall, and among the necessary books on law and police procedure, there were also an anthology of poetry, a novel by Jane Austen, and the Bible.

Pitt waited until Cornwallis had sat down, then did so himself. His jacket hung awkwardly because his pockets were full. Promotion had not made him conspicuously tidier.

"Yes sir?" he said enquiringly.

Cornwallis leaned back, the light shining on his head. His complete baldness became him. It was hard to imagine him differently. He never fidgeted, but when he was most concerned he put his fingers together in a steeple and held them still. He did so now.

"A young woman has met with a violent death in the home of a most respected clergyman, highly esteemed for his learned publications and very possibly in line for a bishopric: the vicar of St. Michael's, the Reverend Ramsay Parmenter." He took a deep breath, watching Pitt's face. "A doctor who lives a few doors away was sent for, and on seeing the body he telephoned for the police. They came immediately, and in turn telephoned me."

Pitt did not interrupt.

"It appears that it may be murder and Parmenter himself may have some involvement in it." Cornwallis did not add anything as to his own feelings, but his fears were clear in the very slight pinching around his mouth and the hurt in his eyes. He regarded leadership, both moral and political, as a duty, a trust which could not be broken without terrible consequences. All his adult life so far had been spent at sea, where the captain's word was absolute. The entire ship survived or sank on his skill and his judgment. He must be right; his orders were obeyed. To fail to do so was mutiny, punishable by death. He himself had learned to obey, and in due time he had risen to occupy that lonely pinnacle. He knew both its burdens and its privileges.

"I see," Pitt said slowly. "Who was she, this young woman?"

"Miss Unity Bellwood," Cornwallis replied. "A scholar of ancient languages. She was assisting Reverend Parmenter in research for a book he is writing."

"What makes the doctor and the local police suspect murder?" Pitt asked.

Cornwallis winced and his lips pulled very slightly thinner. "Miss Bellwood was heard to cry out 'No, no, Reverend!' immediately before she fell, and the moment afterwards Mrs. Parmenter came out of the withdrawing room and found her lying at the bottom of the stairs. When she went to her she was already dead. Apparently she had broken her neck in the fall."

"Who heard her cry out?"

"Several people," Cornwallis answered bleakly. "I am afraid there is no doubt. I wish there were. It is an extremely ugly situation. Some sort of domestic tragedy, I imagine, but because of the Parmenters' position it will become a scandal of considerable proportion if it is not handled very quickly—and with tact."

"Thank you," Pitt said dryly. "And the local police do not wish to keep the case?" It was a rhetorical question, asked without hope. Of course they did not. And in all probability they would not be permitted to, even had they chosen to do so. It promised to be a highly embarrassing matter for everyone concerned.

Cornwallis did not bother to answer. "Number seventeen, Brunswick Gardens," he said laconically. "I'm sorry, Pitt." He seemed about to add something more, then changed his mind, as if he did not know how to word it.

Pitt rose to his feet. "What is the name of the local man in charge?"

"Corbett."

"Then I shall go and relieve Inspector Corbett of his embarrassment," Pitt said without pleasure. "Good morning, sir."

Cornwallis smiled at him until he reached the door, then turned back to his papers again.

Pitt telephoned the Bow Street station and gave orders that Sergeant Tellman was to meet him in Brunswick Gardens, on no account to go in ahead of him, and then took a hansom himself.

It was nearly half past eleven when he alighted in bright, chill sunshine opposite the open space and bare-leafed trees near the church. It was a short walk to number seventeen, and he saw even at twenty yards' distance an air of difference about it. The curtains were already drawn, and there was a peculiar silence surrounding it, as if no housemaids were busy airing rooms, opening windows or scurrying in and out of the areaway, receiving deliveries.

Tellman was waiting on the pavement opposite, looking as dour as usual, his lantern-jawed face suspicious, gray eyes narrow.

"What's happened here then?" he said grimly. "Been robbed of the family silver, have they?"

Tersely, Pitt told him what he knew, and added a warning as to the extreme tact needed.

Tellman had a sour view of wealth, privilege and established authority in general if it depended upon birth; and unless it was proved otherwise, he assumed it did. He said nothing, but his expression was eloquent.

Pitt pulled the bell at the front door and the door was opened immediately by a police constable looking profoundly unhappy. He saw that Pitt's hair was rather too long, his pockets bulging, and his cravat lopsided, and drew in his breath to deny him entrance. He barely noticed Tellman, standing well behind.

"Superintendent Pitt," Pitt announced himself. "And Sergeant Tellman. Mr. Cornwallis asked us to come. Is Inspector Corbett here?"

The constable's face flooded with relief. "Yes sir, Mr. Pitt. Come in, sir. Mr. Corbett's in the 'all. This way."

Pitt waited for Tellman and then closed the door. He and Tellman followed the constable across the outer vestibule into the ornate hall. The floor was a mosaic in a design of black lines and whirls on white, which Pitt thought had a distinctly Italian air. The staircase was steep and black, set against the wall on three sides and built of ebonized wood. One of the walls was tiled in deep marine blue. There was a large potted palm in a black tub directly beneath the newel post at the top. Two round white columns supported a gallery, and the main article of furniture was an exquisite Turkish screen. It was all very modern and at any other time would have been most impressive.

Now the eye was taken with the group of figures at the bottom of the stairs: a young and unhappy doctor putting his instruments back into his case; a second young man standing stiffly, his body tense, as if he wanted to take some action but did not know what. The third was a man a generation older with thinning hair and a grave and anxious expression. The fourth, and last, figure was more than half covered by a blanket, and all Pitt could see of her was the curve of her shoulders and hips as she lay sprawled on the floor.

The older man turned as he heard Pitt's step.

"Mr. Pitt," the constable said to this man, his face eager, as if he were bearing good news. "And Sergeant Tellman. The commissioner sent them, sir."

Corbett shared his constable's relief and made no pretense about it.

"Oh! Good morning, sir," he responded. "Dr. Greene here has just finished. Nothing to do for the poor lady, of course. And this is Mr. Mallory Parmenter, the Reverend Parmenter's son."

"How do you do, Mr. Parmenter," Pitt replied, and nodded to the doctor. He looked around at the hallway, then up the stairs. They were steep and uncarpeted. Anyone pushed from the top and falling all the way likely would be injured severely. It did not surprise him that in this instance such a fall should have proved fatal. He moved closer and bent down to look at the body of the young woman, holding back the blanket. She was on her side, her face half turned away from him. He could see she had been extremely handsome in a willful and sensuous fashion. Her features were strong, brows level and her mouth full-lipped. He could easily believe that she had been intelligent, but he saw little gentleness in her.

"Died from the fall," Corbett said almost under his breath. "About an hour and a half ago." He pulled a watch out of his waistcoat pocket. "The hall clock struck ten just after. I expect you'll be speaking to everyone yourself, but I can tell you what we know, if you like?"

"Yes," Pitt accepted, still looking at the body. "Yes, please." He noticed her feet. She wore indoor slippers rather than boots, and both of them had come half off in the fall. Carefully he examined the hem of her skirt, all the way around, to see if the stitching had come undone and she could have caught her heel in it and tripped. But it was perfect. On the sole of one of the slippers was a curious dark stain. "What's that?" he asked.

Corbett looked at it. "Don't know, sir." He bent down and touched it experimentally with one finger, then held it to his nose. "Chemical," he said. "It's dry on the sole, but there's still quite a sharp odor, so it's not been there long." He stood up and turned to Mallory Parmenter. "Did Miss Bellwood go out this morning, do you know, sir?"

"I don't know," Mallory answered quickly. He looked very pale and kept his hands from shaking by knotting them together. "I was studying ... in the conservatory." He shrugged apologetically, as if that needed some explanation. "Quietest place in the house sometimes. And very pleasant. No fire lit in the morning room then, and the maid's busy, so it was also the warmest. I suppose Unity could have gone out, but I don't know why. Father would know."

"Where is Reverend Parmenter?" Pitt enquired.

Mallory looked at him. He was a good-looking young man with smooth, dark hair and regular features which might easily appear either charming or sulky depending upon his expression.

"My father is upstairs in his study," he replied. "He is naturally deeply distressed by what has happened and preferred to be alone, at least for a while. If you need any assistance I shall be happy to offer it."

"Thank you, sir," Corbett acknowledged, "but I don't think we need to detain you any longer. I'm sure you would like to be with your family." It was a dismissal, politely phrased.

Mallory hesitated, looking at Pitt. He was obviously unwilling to leave, as if something he should have prevented might happen in his absence. He looked down at the still figure on the floor. "Can't you cover her up again ... or something?" he said helplessly.

"When the superintendent's seen everything he needs to, we'll take her away to the mortuary, sir," Corbett answered him. "But you leave us to get on with it."

"Yes ... yes, I suppose so," Mallory conceded. He swiveled on his heel and walked across the exquisite floor and disappeared through an ornately carved doorway.

Corbett turned to Pitt. "Sorry, Mr. Pitt. It seems like a very ugly business. You'll want to speak to the witnesses for yourself. That'll be Mrs. Parmenter and the maid and the valet."

"Yes." Pitt took a last look at Unity Bellwood, fixing in his mind's eye the way she lay, her face, the thick honey-fair hair, the strong hands, limp now but long-fingered, well cared for. An interesting woman. But he would probably not need to learn a great deal about her, as he had to in most cases. This one seemed regrettably clear, merely tragic, and perhaps difficult to prove before a court. He turned to Tellman, standing a couple of yards behind him. "You had better go and speak to the rest of the staff. See where everybody was and if they saw or heard anything. And see if you can discover what that substance is on her shoe. And be discreet. Very little is certain so far."

"Yes sir," Tellman replied with an expression of disgust. He walked away, shoulders stiff, a little bounce in his step as if he were spoiling for a fight. He was a difficult man, but he was observant, patient and never backed away from any conclusion, no matter how he might dislike it.

Pitt turned back to Corbett. "I had better see Mrs. Parmenter."

"She's in the withdrawing room, sir. It's over that way." Corbett pointed across the hall and under the white pillars to another highly ornate doorway.

"Thank you." Pitt walked across, his footsteps on the tiny marble pieces sounding loud in the silence of the house. He knocked on the door, and it was opened immediately by a maid.

Inside was a beautiful room, decorated in a very modern style again, with much Chinese and Japanese art, a silk screen covered in embroidered peacock tails dominating the farther corner—even the wallpaper had a muted bamboo design on it. But at the moment all Pitt's attention was taken by the woman who lay on the black-lacquered chaise longue. It was difficult to tell her height, but she was slender, of medium coloring, and her features were handsome and most unusual. Her enormous eyes were wide set, her cheekbones high and her nose unexpectedly strong. She gave the air that in normal circumstances she would smile easily and laugh at the slightest chance. Now she was very grave and kept her composure only with difficulty.

"I beg your pardon for disturbing you, Mrs. Parmenter," Pitt apologized, closing the door behind him. "I am Superintendent Pitt, from Bow Street. Assistant Commissioner Cornwallis has asked me to conduct the investigation into the death of Miss Bellwood." He did not offer any explanation. It seemed like an admission that they were prepared to conceal something, or to prejudge the depth and the outcome of the tragedy.

"Of course," she said with the ghost of a smile. "I understand, Superintendent." She turned a little to face him but did not move from her reclining position. The maid waited discreetly in the corner, perhaps in case her mistress should need further restorative or assistance.

"I imagine you need me to tell you what I
Pitt sat down, more to save her staring up at him than for his own comfort. "If you please."

She had obviously prepared herself, and her mind seemed very clear; there was only the slightest trembling in her hands. She kept her amazing eyes steadily upon his.

"My husband had taken his breakfast early, as he frequently does when he is working. I imagine Unity—Miss Bellwood—had also. I did not see her at the table, but that was not remarkable. The rest of us ate as usual. I do not think we discussed anything of interest."

"The rest of us?" he questioned.

"My son, Mallory," she explained. "My daughters, Clarice and Tryphena, and the curate who is staying with us at present."

"I see. Please go on."

"Mallory went into the conservatory to read and study. He finds it an agreeable place, quiet and warm, and no one interrupts him. The maids do not go in there, and the gardener has little to do at this time of year." She was watching him carefully. She had very clear gray eyes, with dark lashes and high, delicate brows. "Clarice went upstairs. She did not say why. Tryphena came in here to play the pianoforte. I don't know where the curate went. I was in here also, as was Lizzie, the down-stairs maid. I was arranging flowers. When I had finished them I started towards the hall and was almost at the doorway when I heard Unity cry out ..." She stopped, her face pinched and white.

"Did you hear what she said, Mrs. Parmenter?" he asked gravely.

She swallowed. He saw her throat jerk.

"Yes," she whispered. "She said, 'No, no!' And something else, and then she screamed and there was a sort of thumping ... and silence." She stared at him, and her face reflected her horror as if she were still hearing it in her head, replaying again and again.

"And the something else?" he asked, although Cornwallis had already told him what the servants had said. He did not expect her to answer, but he had to give her the opportunity.

She showed the loyalty he had expected.

"I ... I ..." Her eyes dropped. "I am not certain."

He did not push her. "And what did you see when you entered the hall, Mrs. Parmenter?" he continued.

This time there was no hesitation. "I saw Unity lying at the bottom of the stairs."

"Was there anyone on the landing above?"

She said nothing, avoiding his eyes again.

"Mrs. Parmenter?"

"I saw a man's shoulder and back as he went behind the jardiniere and flowers into the passage."

"Do you know who it was?"

She was very pale, but this time she did not flinch; she met his eyes squarely. "I cannot be sure enough to say, and I will not guess, Superintendent."

"What was he wearing, Mrs. Parmenter? What did you see, exactly?"

She hesitated, thinking hard. Her unhappiness was profound.

"A dark jacket," she said at last. "Coattails ... I think."

"Is there any man in the house whom that description would not fit? Do you recall height, build, anything else?"

"No," she whispered. "No, I don't. It was only momentary. He was moving very quickly."

"I see. Thank you, Mrs. Parmenter," he said gravely. "Can you tell me something about Miss Bellwood? What kind of a young woman was she? Why should anyone wish her harm?"

She looked down with a fractional smile. "Mr. Pitt, that is very hard to answer. I ... I dislike to speak ill of someone who has just met with a tragic death, in my house, and so young."

"Naturally," he agreed, leaning forward a little. The room was very comfortable, the warmth of the fire filling it. "Everyone does. I regret having to ask you, but I expect you understand that I must know the truth, and if indeed she was pushed, then it is going to be painful—and inevitably ugly. I am sorry, but there is no choice."

"Yes ... yes, of course." She sniffed. "I apologize for being so foolish. One keeps hoping ... it is not very sensible. You want to understand how such a thing could have happened and why." She remained still for some moments, perhaps searching for words to explain.

The rest of the house was in complete stillness. There was not even a clock audible anywhere. No servants' footsteps sounded across the hall beyond the door. The maid in the corner seemed like part of the elaborate decoration.

"Unity was very clever," Vita began at last. "In a scholastic sort of way. She was a brilliant student of languages. Greek and Aramaic seemed as natural to her as English is to you or me. That was how she helped my husband. He is a theologian, you see, quite outstanding in his field, but his ability with translation is only moderate. He knows fully the meaning of a work, if it is religious, but she could grasp the words, the flavor, the poetic instinct. But she also knew quite a lot of secular history."

She frowned. "I suppose that happens if you study a language?

You find yourself learning rather a lot about the people who spoke it ... through their writings, and so on."

"I should imagine so," Pitt agreed. He was quite well read in English literature, but he had no knowledge of the classics. Sir Arthur Desmond, who had owned the estate on which Pitt had grown up, had been good enough to educate Pitt, the gamekeeper's son, along with his own son, now Sir Matthew Desmond. But his learning had leaned toward the sciences rather than Latin or Greek, and certainly Aramaic had not entered his thoughts. The King James translation of the Bible was more than adequate to meet all religious enquiry. Pitt concealed his impatience with difficulty. Nothing Vita had said so far seemed in any way relevant. And yet it must be very difficult for her to bring herself to the point. He should not be critical of the cost to her of this honesty.

"The Reverend Parmenter was writing a theological book?" he prompted.

"Yes," she said quietly. "Yes, he has already written two, and a great number of papers which have been highly acclaimed. But this was to be of a much deeper nature than before, and possibly more controversial." She looked at him closely to make sure he understood. "That is why he needed Unity's skills in the translation of sources for the work."

"Was she interested in the subject?" He must be patient with her. This meandering might be the only way she could bring herself to tell the one bitter truth which mattered.

Vita smiled. "Oh, not the theological side of it, Superintendent. Not in the slightest. Unity is ... was ... very modern in her beliefs. She did not believe in God at all. In fact, she was a great admirer of the work of Mr. Charles Darwin." A look of deep distaste flickered across her eyes and mouth. "Are you familiar with it? Of course you are. At least you have to be aware of what he propounds on the origins of mankind. There was never a more dangerous and daring idea put forward by anyone since ... I don't know what!" She was concentrating fiercely, turning her body on the chaise longue until she faced him more fully, regardless of the discomfort it must have caused her. "If we are all descended from apes and the Bible is not true at all and there is no God, then why on earth should we go to church or keep any of the Commandments?"

"Because the Commandments are based upon virtue and the best social and moral order we know," he replied. "Whether they originate with God or with the long-fought-for and refined ideas of men. Whether the Bible is right, or Mr. Darwin is right, I don't know. There may even be some way in which they may both be. If not, I hope profoundly that it is the Bible. Mr. Darwin leaves us with little more than the belief in progress and human morality steadily ascending."

"Don't you believe it will?" she said seriously. "Unity believed it very strongly. She thought we were progressing all the time. Our ideas are getting nobler and freer with every generation. We are becoming more just, more tolerant and altogether more enlightened."

"Certainly our inventions are improving every decade," he agreed, measuring his words. "And our scientific knowledge increases almost every year. But I am not at all sure that our kindness does, or our courage, or our sense of responsibility towards each other, and they are far truer marks of civilization."

She looked at him with surprise and confusion in the shadows of her eyes.

"Unity believed we are far more enlightened than we used to be. We have thrown off the oppression of the past, the ignorance and the superstition. I heard her say so a number of times. And also that we are far more responsible for the care of the poor, less selfish and unjust than ever before."

A flash of memory came to him from the schoolroom thirty years ago. "One of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt used to boast that in his reign no one was hungry or homeless."

"Oh ... I don't think Unity knew that," she said with surprise—and what could have been a flash of satisfaction.

Perhaps she was at last approaching the truths which mattered.

"How did your husband feel about her views, Mrs. Parmenter?"

Her face tightened again. She looked down, away from him. "He found them abhorrent. I cannot deny they quarreled rather often. If I do not tell you, then others will. It was impossible for the rest of us to be unaware of it."

He could imagine it very easily: the expression of opinions around the meal table, the stiff silences, the innuendo, the laying down of law, and then the contradictions. There was little as fundamental to people as their beliefs in the order of things—not the metaphysics, but their own place in the universe, their value and purpose.

"And they quarreled this morning?" he prompted.

"Yes." She looked at him with sadness and apprehension. "I don't know what about precisely. My maid could probably tell you. She heard them as well, and so did my husband's valet. I only heard the raised voices." She looked as if she were about to add something, then changed her mind or could not find the words for it.

"Could the quarrel have become violent?" he said gravely.

"I suppose so." Her voice was little more than a whisper. "Although I find it difficult to believe. My husband is not—" She stopped.

"Could Miss Bellwood have left the study in a temper and then lost her balance, perhaps stumbled and fallen backwards, by accident?" he suggested.

She remained silent.

"Is that possible, Mrs. Parmenter?"

She raised her eyes to meet his. She bit her lip. "If I say yes, Superintendent, my maid will only contradict me. Please don't press me to speak any further of my husband. It is terribly ... distressing. I don't know what to think or feel. I seem to be in a whirlpool of confusion ... and darkness ... an awful darkness."

"I'm sorry." He felt compelled to apologize, and it was sincere. His pity for her was immense, as was his admiration for her composure and her dedication to truth, even at such personal cost. "Of course, I shall ask your maid."

She smiled uncertainly. "Thank you," she murmured.

There was nothing more to enquire of her, and he would not stretch out the interview. She must greatly prefer to be alone or with her family. He excused himself and went to find the maid in question.

Miss Braithwaite proved to be a woman in her middle fifties, tidy and sensible in manner, but at present profoundly shaken. Her face was pale and she had trouble catching her breath.

She was perched on the edge of one of the chairs in the housekeeper's sitting room, sipping a steaming cup of tea. The fire burned briskly in the small, thoroughly polished iron grate and there was a little-worn rug on the floor and most agreeable pictures on the walls, and several photographs on the side table.

"Yes," she admitted unhappily after Pitt had assured her that her mistress had given her full permission to speak freely and that her first duty was to the truth. "I did hear their voices raised. I really couldn't help it. Very loud, they were."

"Did you hear what they were saying?" he asked her.

"Well ... yes, I heard ..." she replied slowly. "But if you were to ask me what it was, I couldn't repeat it." She saw his expression. "Not that it was vulgar," she amended quickly. "Reverend Parmenter would never use bad language—it just would not be him, if you know what I mean. A complete gentleman in every way, he is." She gulped. "But like anyone else, he can get angry, especially when he's defending his principles." She said it with considerable admiration. Obviously they were beliefs which she shared. "I just didn't understand it," she explained. "I know Miss Bellwood, rest her soul, didn't believe in God and wasn't averse to saying so. In fa...

Détails sur le produit

Titre: Brunswick Gardens
Sous-titre: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel
Auteur: Anne Perry
Code EAN: 9780345523709
ISBN: 978-0-345-52370-9
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Romans policiers, thrillers et horreur
nombre de pages: 400
Poids: 331g
Taille: H203mm x B134mm x T25mm
Année: 2011

Disponibilité en succursale

NPA, Lieu, Nom Aucun résultat n'a été trouvé. Veuillez indiquer un NPA ou une localité valide. Veuillez indiquer un NPA ou une localité. Cet article est disponible dans NUMBER succursale(s) Cet article n’est actuellement disponible que dans la boutique en ligne. NUMBER ex. disponibles Etat du stock actuellement indisponible. Carte détaillée Detailkarte in einem neuen Fenster anzeigen Itinéraire Route in einem neuen Fenster berechnen Adresse Téléphone Heures d’ouverture NUMBER ex. disponibles Pas en stock Trouvez la succursale la plus proche Il n'y a pas des magasins dans 20 km large
  • Saisissez dans le champ de recherche le NPA, la localité ou le nom d’une succursale
  • Cliquez sur la flèche à droite du champ de recherche
  • Sélectionnez une succursale dans la liste des résultats

Trouvez la succursale la plus proche avec votre mobile Lundi Mardi Mercredi Jeudi Vendredi Samedi Dimanche
Trouvez la succursale la plus proche
  • Saisissez dans le champ de recherche le NPA, la localité ou le nom d’une succursale
  • Cliquez sur la flèche à droite du champ de recherche
  • Sélectionnez une succursale dans la liste des résultats

Trouvez la succursale la plus proche avec votre mobile
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