“Miles, come here quickly”, Agnes had noticed this a few times previous, peering through the Georgian panes of her bedroom window across high into the canopy of the trees on the opposite side of the river bank a light kept flashing, she wondered wether this was a distress call, or the fact a home light was being distorted by the wind through the trees.
“Miles, MILES ! …. Do come see dear, please, …. QUICKLY”
Miles lifted his eyes and automatically twisted his nose with his thumb and forefinger, he always did this when he felt that “it” was going to be a waste of time, placing his lead cut crystal tumbler of whiskey and soda down, ensuring it was on the silver coaster, heaven forbid he put anything directly onto the furniture, he walked across to where Agnes sat, she was a fiery young lady at the best of times, but, her beauty made up for that, constantly observing situations and her aptitude for being inquisitive, she never missed a thing, often he would play a game and move an item in a room before she entered, no matter how small the item might be Agnes would notice its misplacement, they would continue to enjoy this childish game throughout their married life.
This time of her life she did not like being pregnant, the seventh month hurdle had now become intolerable, finding everything rather strenuous, fortunately, there was Jasmina, her maid, she was always at hand, like the proverbial shadow, constantly ensuring her mistress was comfortable at all times.
Agnes loved the attention she was receiving, often pushing the mature Indian lady to her limits, this tiny woman was a sight to behold, wearing her beautiful coloured silk sari’s, anyone other than those in the know would think that Jasmina was the lady of the house, she was also Miles’ nemesis.
Agnes pointed toward the flickering light, Miles stared and said quite suddenly, “by goodness me, i do believe that is Morse code”, he stood concentrating, his time in the Army had taught him this whilst serving in India,” i cant quite make it out Agnes dear, something to the words of *dash dash, dot dot dash, dot dash dot …..*,” struggling with his rusty morse, he admitted, “that cannot be right dear”, suddenly, into the bedroom came a flurry of bright colours, “They have arrived Ma’am”, Jasmina announced, rhyming her Ma’am with jaam.
Agnes ordered Miles, “Run down quickly my darling, go and welcome them, you know what a strange old sod he can be”.
Smiling at her reflection in the dresser mirror, she plumped her hair and powdered some more foundation onto her over bright rosy cheeks, she thought to her self, ….. I certainly do not want them thinking I’m looking too well,
I can always excuse myself, although she loved entertaining, the Brigadier was such an arse,an absolute bore, he knew a little about something and a lot about nothing.
Miles ran quickly down one side of the two half style pavilion spiral staircases, leaping out a step every other, the alabaster cherubs on the ceiling stared down, they themselves constantly hoping that someone would eventually fall down the uneven steps.
“Brigadier Farquhar…. Er, Welcome to Greenshanks …”
“Cunningham old bean, so kind of you and your jolly wifey to invite me this evening” Unbuttoning his own coat, he threw it over the chaise like it was a rag,
“Goodness sake Man, wheres your Butler?”
“No Butler for me Farq, I’m quite able to look after myself, bit of a modern man here”
“Utter tosh, theres always room for a butler, anyway old bean, if you haven’t a butler, who else is there to blame?”
“Wheres is your beautiful wifey, is she playing coy?” ,…. staring around his environment, his eyes caught sight of the beautiful chandelier,
“Does that monstrosity happen to be a Boheme or one of those bloody damned Chinese reproductions?” he spouted rather annoyingly.
Suddenly, and nastily he hissed, “is this a dry house or bloody what?” …”for goodness sake, i need a drink, the ride here was terrible, Bates our driver hit every damn hole in your driveway, how long is it? …. goodness sakes Cunningham, get a man”.
Suddenly, Miles knew that this evening and its conversation was going to be an absolute nightmare.
Mrs Farquhar stood quite still and silent, fearing any movement would incite a reprimand, the Brigadier was all too very handy at times.
Agnes whispered to herself, breathed in deeply, and held tightly onto the left stair handrail as she descended slowly and gracefully, proudly displaying her bump and comforting it with her right hand.
“Brigadier, so nice of you to come”,
Immediately turning her back to him and facing Mrs Farquhar, she says
“Lavinia darling”, (the ladies peck each others cheeks, as was the latest fashion in France),
Holding her palm Agnes whispers “Come with me dear, i have something to show you … ” as they both head toward the Drawing room.
Depositing a cocktail glass almost to the brim of Dry Martini into Lavinia’s hand, she then gingerly places the pickup onto the rotating disc,
“Oh how delightful”
Lavinia smiles, probably the first time in ages. “Tell me Agnes, have you any ideas for your new book?”, holding the cocktail stick and chewing the olives whilst talking.
“Actually ……its a work in progress, tell me, have ever thought of yourself as a possible suspect in an incident”?
Lavinia replies “If I could get away with the murder, then yes dear” and without hesitation giggles and winks at Agnes.