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Unformatted text preview: own in the drawing-room.' I saw profound scepticism and a trace of suspicion
on the inspector's countenance.
'How did you know it was the silver table lid?' I was forced to explain in detail - a long, tedious
explanation which I would infinitely rather not have had to make.
The inspector heard me to the end.
'Was the dagger in its place when you were looking over the contents?' he asked.
'I don't know,' I said. 'I can't say I remember noticing it - but, of course, it may have been there all the
time.' 'We'd better get hold of the housekeeper,' remarked the inspector, and pulled the bell.
A few minutes later Miss Russell, summoned by Parker, entered the room.
'I don't think I went near the silver table,' she said, when the inspector had posed his question. 'I was
looking to see that all the flowers were fresh. Oh! yes, I remember now.
The silver table was open - which it had no business to be, and I shut the lid down as I passed.' She
looked at him aggressively.
'I see,' said the inspector. 'Can you tell me if this dagger was in its place then?' Miss Russell looked at the
'I can't say I'm sure,' she replied. 'I didn't stop to look. I knew the family would be down any minute, and
I wanted to get away.' 'Thank you,' said the inspector.
There was just a trace of hesitation in his manner, as though he would have liked to question her further,
but Miss Russell clearly accepted the words as a dismissal, and glided from the room.
'Rather a Tartar, I should fancy, eh?' said the inspector, looking after her. 'Let me see. This silver table is
in front of one of the windows, I think you said, doctor?' Raymond answered for me.
'Yes, the left-hand window.' 'And the window was open?' 'They were both ajar.' 'Well, I don't think we
need go into the question much further. Somebody - I'll just say somebody - could get that dagger any
time he liked, and exactly when he got it doesn't matter in the least. I'll be coming up in the morning with
the chief constable, Mr Raymond. Until then, I'll keep the key of that door. I want Colonel Melrose to
see everything exactly as it is. I happen to know that he's dining out the other side of the county, and, I
believe, staying the night...' We watched the inspector take up the jar.
'I shall have to pack this carefully,' he observed. 'It's going to be an important piece of evidence in more
ways than one.' A few minutes later as I came out of the billiard room with Raymond, the latter gave a
low chuckle of amusement.
I felt the pressure of his hand on my arm, and followed the direction of his eyes. Inspector Davis seemed
to be inviting Parker's opinion of a small pocket diary.
'A little obvious,' murmured my companion. 'So Parker is the suspect, is he? Shall we oblige Inspector
Davis with a set of our fingerprints also?' He took two cards from the card tray, wiped them with his silk
handkerchief, then handed one to me and took the other himself. Then, with a grin, he handed them to the
police inspector. 'Souvenirs,' he...
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