The Secret in Scotland

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The Secret in Scotland

Lorenzo G., Staff Writer

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Miss Parker was ready to sell the puppy. It was exactly two months old, perfect shape, perfect colour, perfect temperament and perfectly adorable. Miss Parker climbed inside her yellow 1956Cadillac Coupe DeVille, followed by her red chow chow, Kě’ài (which meant “lovely” in Chinese).She had to sell the puppy to Madam Leslie Ann Washington-Bale, who had asked explicitly for her Chow Chow Breeding Activity, the best in Scotland. As she pressed her foot on the gas her prehistoric car whirred and grinded forwards, she dialled the Washington-Bale Mansion’s number.Windsor, Madam Washington-Bale’s butler, answered.

“Good Morning, this is the Washington-Bale Mansion. What can I do for you?” he said lamely.

“Hello, I’m Miss Parker, the dog breeder. I just called to say that I’m arriving at the mansion with the puppy.” She answered.

“Excellent. Madam Washington-Bale is awaiting impatiently your arrival.” He put a certain amount of emphasis on the “impatiently”.

“Sure” Miss Parker said. But Windsor had already hung up.

Her car moaned as she sped up the steep hill towards the Washington-Bale Mansion.

“Come on,you can do it…” Miss Parker muttered under her breath, trying to encourage her car to reach the top, possibly without consuming the tyres.

She’d have a tough job finding original tyres for a 55–year-old car. She finally reached the top, brake pads smoking, motor whining desperately. Theenormous mansion loomed over her. Medieval turrets spiralled to the sky, giving the building anintriguing fashion. The mansion was entirely made in stone, with ivy growing in certain parts and a beautiful, flowery garden could just about be seen behind the back of the building. Huge oak doors stopped the eventual intruders from trespassing, only that right now they were just about opened with Windsor peering from the small fissure. He pulled at the old iron handle and opened the door, stepping outside.

Windsor was a tall, mysterious man, definitely in his fifties (at least). He alwaysspoke with a strong Scottish accent. He always wore the same suit. And, most important, he always squared people up with his icy blue stare. He was doing that right now with Miss Parker.

“Miss Parkerr, what a pleasurre. I see you have come with Madam Washington-Bale’s, ah, special
package.”

He turned and strode into the mansion, expecting Miss Parker to follow him inside. She hurried after him, heels crunching in the gravel grabbing the puppy along the way.

“Ah, miss…” Windsor started, glaring at Kě’ài as though it was an unwanted piece of garbage, “Clean yorr shoes
beforre entering.”

Miss Parker was definitely offended now, but she did as she was told. She enteredinside the huge atrium. Marble and gold glinted at her from every direction. At 10–feet-wide the staircase connected the ground floor to the top floor. Two corridors ran on either side of the room. A sitting room was squashed in the left corner of the hall, with red leather couches and sofas and a wooden table in front, with lion’s paws at the end of the legs and wine magazines on the top. A red and brown Persian carpet was stuck underneath the table and couches.

“Please wait herre while I go and call Madam Washington-Bale” Windsor said, pointing at the sitting room.

“Cerrtainly, I mean, certainly.”

Windsor glared at her and strolled elegantly up the red carpet that covered the white marble stairs, leaving Miss Parker alone with her dog and a puppy in the sitting room. She sat down on the comfortable, cosy couches and waited patiently, tickling the puppy on his tummy.

“It won’t take him any more than ten minutes,” she said to Kě’ài, who was wagging his tail impatiently.
Ten minutes passed and nobody came back. Miss Parker was tired of waiting. She had been sat on those cursed armchairs for two and a half
hours, and now her legs were stiff and her back hurt.

“If he doesn’t come back in the next fifteen minutes, I’m going to look for him,” Miss Parker thought to herself.

Fifteen minutes later, seeing that she had nothing else to do, she got to her feet, just as she heard a soft creak coming from one of
the corridors.

“Windsor?” She called. Nobody answered. “Madam Washington-Bale?” She called out again. No response. “Hello? Can anybody hear me? Hello? Hello???” She shouted, with a note of panic in her voice.

Nobody replied, but the creaking got closer. She got to her feet. Marble didn’t creak. As far as she was concerned, the ground floor’s pavement was completely made out of marble. So, whatever was making the creaking had to be at least a floor up. Wood creaked. So there had to be wooden stairs, or an alleyway, somewhere around the house. In Medieval times, MissParker considered, people mostly built buildings out of stone and wood. So the thing was probablysomewhere in one of the turrets, the oldest part of the house, which had almost all been renewed.

Kě’ài got to his feet too and growled menacingly, placing himself protectively in front of his owner.The puppy trembled in the couch, and hid himself underneath a cushion. Miss Parker started to climb up the stairs. The noise made by her steps was muffled by the red carpet. Kě’ài followed her. She tiptoed down the corridor that spread itself on the left and up another flight of stairs. She noticed that the stairs continued upwards, but here they became steeper and she risked being heard  as they were wooden stairs. She slowed her pace and, finally, she climbed up the last step.
To her right, a narrow corridor opened itself. Four doors stood on each side of the walls. Right in front of her, more wooden steps spiralled up a stone turret. She went for the turret, reminding herself that Madam Washington-Bale would probably sleep in the highest part of the house,
probably on the Eastern side, in order to see both the river that flowed next to her house and therising sun in the morning.

Kě’ài started to sniff the air and sped past her owner, right into a huge cherry door. Around the door Miss Parker noticed several carved flowers and cherubs. A brass knocker was hung in the middle of the door. From behind Miss Parker’s back a gust of wind blew through one of the apertures  ruffling her hair. Strange. She hadn’t noticed any type of breeze that morning. She turned to look but saw nothing. Kě’ài started to bark down at the window, so she glanced down and still saw nothing, apart from one of Madam Washington-Bale’s black Great Dane running behind a corner of the building and out of sight. She banged the heavy brass knocker on the door. Nobody answered. She knocked again and still noresponse came from inside.

She decided to call out. “Madam Washington-Bale? Hello? Is this yourroom? I’m Miss Parker. May I come in?”

Silence. She pushed the door, which opened creaking loudly. Why hadn’t anybody answered yet? There were at least twenty people working for Madam Washington-Bale. Were they all…dead? She stepped inside the room, followed by Kě’ài. The first thing Miss Parker noticed about the room was the heavy smell of roses. It hung in the air making the air dense and almost claustrophobic. The second thing she noticed was the body lying
on the floor. It was the corpse of a woman, around sixty years old. Still, she had perfectly blonde-dyed hair and her makeup hid all of her lines. She didn’t have any wounds, so Miss Parker assumed that she was simply feeling ill. She felt the wrist’s pulse. Nothing. While she did this, Miss Parker assumed that this was Madam Washington-Bale. She had never seen her before,as she had requested the puppy via phone. Kě’ài started to bark at the curtains. Miss Parker stoodup and walked towards him, feeling a bit dizzy.

Where was Windsor? Where were the other servants? Why was Madam Washington-Bale lying dead on the floor? She shoved the red velvet curtains
aside and was shocked by what she saw. Windsor was lying against the wall, right underneath the window, with dried blood clotted up on the left side of his head. She felt his pulse and felt his heart beating. He’d wake up later. The strange thing was that the door had not been forced. Plus, Windsor must have been coming through the door. If he had been purposely hit, it meant that the person who had killed Madam Washington-Bale ( which she probably had been, because if not Windsor must have hidden behind a curtain and banged his head, while Madam Washington-
Bale either committed suicide or died suddenly) must have come in through the walls because all of the windows were locked from the inside (unless Madam Washington-Bale had let someone in through the window or the door). Miss Parker pulled her phone out and dialled 999.

A breezy voice answered “Hello, how can I help you?”

“Hello, I…I think that Madam Washington-Bale, in the Washington-Bale Mansion, has fainted, or possibly had a heart attack. And there is also another man here, he is lying on the floor with blood on his head… please come fast.”

Only after she had finished speaking Miss Parker noticed how she had talked in a rush, and how her voice was trembling.

“We’ll be there in a moment” the breezy voice replied.

Miss Parker sat down and hugged Kě’ài. Her head was spinning. Had Madam Washington-Bale been killed? This scene reminded her of a memory that she had tried to forget in every possible way…
And suddenly she was seven again, coming home from school. “Dad?” she had called, for normally it was him who opened up the entrance and let her in. Nobody answered, so she took the key from under the doormat and opened the door. “Dad?” she called out again, with a note of panic in her voice. No answer whatsoever. A strange smell hung in their little,cottage. She headed towards her father’s bedroom, with a strange, icy feeling creeping up behind her back. She slid the door open and saw…

Miss Parker’s eyes snapped open. She didn’t want to remember and couldn’t afford to remember. Kě’ài licked her face comfortingly and yapped a little, friendly bark. Miss Parker got to her feet and scratched Kě’ài’s head. She gazed out of the window (ignoring Windsor) and saw an ambulance
spiralling up and screeching to a halt in the driveway. She ran outside and showed the three men to Madam Washington-Bale and Windsor. They repeated the pulse test, first on Madam Washington-Bale and then on Windsor. They pulled out a phone, dialled a number and spoke a few words. They then pulled a white blanket over Madam Washington-Bale.

“So it’s true! She really is dead!” Miss Parker could only think these words; she was in too much horror to speak.

After this sad procedure, they pulled out a bottle of smelling salts and held it under Windsor’s nose. His eyes fluttered open. The doctors cleaned his wound and helped him to stand up. He had a huge buldge coming out of the side of his head. Gravel crunched outside of the window.

“Miss Parker, could you please go down? The police needs to talk to you.”

One of the doctors, a girl, smiled kindly at her. She nodded and headed outside. On her way out, she paused and picked up the chow chow puppy. He huddled in her arms, whimpering. She set off for the garden just as a policeman slammed the entrance door open. He was a curious sight. He had very, very, VERY few hairs left on his head, which looked exactly like a boiled potato. He was around 2 feet 5, but the most curious sight was his enormous belly. His blue policeman shirt was almost breaking apart, the buttons threatening to jump off at a crazy speed. He wore XXXL size black trousers, which were fighting to hide a piece of his enormous belly.

“Detective Richards,” He said with a bored tone, showing his badge. “Are you Miss…” he gazed at a list in his hands “…Parker?” He said, his salt-and-pepper moustache vibrating as he talked.

“Y-yes.” Miss Parker answered her voice trembling.

He glared at her. “Follow me.” He ordered.

He slowly walked towards the sitting room, with his belly wobbling like gelatine, while three other policemen went up the stairs to investigate, followed by a man dressed in white clothes. Detective Richards sat down, occupying a whole sofa with his bottom, gesturing for Miss Parker to sit in front of him. She did as she was told and fell into the couch, with the puppy on her knees and Kě’ài lying down next to her feet.

“Now, Miss Parker. All of the servants and cleaners have been drugged. You were the one who found the body. You were the only conscious person in this house when…” Detective Richards’s radio buzzed. “…When Madam Washington-Bale was murdered. I’ve just received the confirmation from my forensic investigator.” He glared pointedlyat her.

It took Miss Parker a few moments to realise what he meant. The shock was so hard that it woke her out of her astonished daze. Detective Richards suspected her! She looked at him in the face with renewed energy.

“Mr Richards, I know exactly where you are trying to get. The answer is no, before you ask. I came here in order to sell this puppy,” She showed him the puppy, “And not to kill Madam Washington-Bale. When Windsor let me in, I sat in this couch for two and a half hours as he went to call Madam Washington-Bale. Then I heard a creaking and thought that there was someone around, so I got up and went towards the wooden part of the house. As I was walking up the stairs I felt a gust of wind, so I turned around and looked out of the window. There was nobody around, I’m sure about it. Unless you count Madam Washington-Bale’s Great Dane. Then I knocked but nobody answered, so I opened the door and found Madam
Washington-Bale on the floor and Windsor behind the curtain with blood on his head. So I called an ambulance.”

Detective Richards didn’t look convinced at all. He asked “But how did you get in? I bet Madam Washington-Bale would have locked her room while she was inside. And the lock wasn’t broken. Did you steal the keys?”

Miss Parker glared at him with a stare colder than a Norwegian winter. “No. I suppose Windsor couldn’t get in, so he opened the door with his keys.
The aggressor was probably inside waiting for him.” Miss Parker concluded.

Detective Richards pursed his lips. It was obvious that he was looking for something to incriminate Miss Parker. In that moment, Detective Richards’s radio buzzed again. He held it to his ear and frowned.

“Are you sure about it?” He whispered, putting a hand over his mouth.

Miss Parker sighed. “What a big baby!” She thought.

“Well, Miss. Madam Washington-Bale might have died of natural causes. No wounds, so sign of having drunk poison. So I suppose that I could just call the police station and…” Miss Parker interrupted.

“But what about Windsor? I don’t think he slammed his head against the wall or anything. And what about the other waiters? Were they so sleepy that they all fell asleep at the same time? Or were they drugged?”

Detective Richards gave her a murderous glare. He struggled for an explanation for a while, until he finally screamed out, making Miss Parker jump.

“A-ha! I got it! Windsor tripped and banged his head! Or maybe… he killed Madam Washington-Bale!”

“What? Are you serious? Even if he fell down and slammed his head, the thing he banged into must have his blood on! Plus, why in the blue moon should he have killed Madam Washington-Bale? And how did he kill her?”

“To steal something from her!” He exclaimed triumphantly.

“So you’re saying that a faithful butler waited sixteen years before trying to steal something from Madam Washington-Bale. He then tripped on the carpet of a house he knows better than the palm of his hand but, before he fell, he threw away the thing he had stolen from Madam Washington-Bale.”

“Maybe they had a love story” he insisted.

“Really. Madam Washington-Bale is a widow. She loved her husband more than anything. Did you see the door that led to their room? Come on!”

Detective Richards growled and tried to get up, but he plunged back into the couch, his face red from the strain. “Miss Parker, I am
not here to be counselled by an insufferable know-it-all like you. If you think you are so smart, than you give me you version of what happened.”

Kě’ài got to his feet and growled at Detective Richards. He edged back in his couch. Miss Parker ignored the Detective’s contradiction and said “I
don’t know. You’re supposed to be the detective, aren’t you?”

She got to her feet, grabbed the puppy and said: “I’ll be home if you need me.” She stormed away, followed by Kě’ài.

“Wait! Miss Parker! I didn’t mean to…”

But she was gone already. She entered inside her car, jabbed the key in the ignition, turning it, and she slammed a foot on the gas, speeding away in a cloud of black CO2 smoke. She soon changed her mind about speeding down the cliff, as she would probably risk her life. She drove all of the way back to her house. By the time she arrived, it was dark. She turned off her car engine and stepped outside, her breath condensing into a cloud of white, puffy air. She climbed up the porch steps of her little lavender-coloured cottage, paused to pull the keys out of her white maxi-bag and opened the peach-wood door. Just then she heard a muffled sound. Kě’ài growled and ran off into the darkness.

“Kě’ài! Come here! Where are you going?”

She sped after him, tripping in her high heels; Kě’ài’s panting her only guide in the blinding darkness. Suddenly Kě’ài stopped in his tracks. Miss Parker almost tripped over him. There was no sound, no light, apart from the cold, white beam that came from the lampposts. Miss Parker slid her hand on Kě’ài’s head. She suddenly remembered an old story she had heard when she had gone to China. Chow Chows can see ghosts, the old man had said. She had never been superstitious, but she remembered the goose bumps sliding down her back when the man had said this. He had stared at her with blank, charcoal-black eyes that seemed to scan her thoughts. But now she wasn’t in China. She was in the middle of the
Scottish fields, not too close from her house, with only a dog to guide her back. Kě’ài raised his muzzle and sniffed the air. Then he growled with such intensity that he looked more like a lion than a dog.

A cold feeling seeped inside her, as if a drop of icy water had slid down her back. She slowly turned around. There was a shimmer and a swish. Miss Parker jumped to the side, just as Kě’ài lunged into the darkness and roared. There was a yell, impossible to understand if it was a man or a woman’s, and the sound of running footsteps. Miss Parker stood perfectly still. She lost the cognition of time. She didn’t know if she stood there, under the dim light of the lamppost for an hour, a minute or just a few seconds. At last, Kě’ài appeared, trotting placidly, with his almost stiff
hind legs, a typical characteristic of Chow Chows. He licked her hand and started to walk back towards the house. Miss Parker followed him, conscious that somebody had tried to kill her.
The next day she woke up really tired. She had slept around two hours. She was still feeling anadrenaline rush at the thought of last night. She had even let Kě’ài sleep in her own bed, for fear of being assaulted again. She got to her feet and walked to the kitchen. There she noticed the voice mail light blinking. She pressed play and the recording started:

“Hello Miss Parker,” A trembling voice started “I’m Giselle, one of Madam Washington-Bale’s servants. Tomorrow there is going to be Madam Washington-Bale’s funeral. Poor her! P-poisoned! I t-think…” her voice wavered “I think that it’s only right to invite you. If you want to come, feel free to come over to the graveyard at 5 p.m. thank y-y-you.” The message ended.

Miss Parker deleted it. “If I want to find any proof or witnesses, I better go there.” She thought.

The message had been registered yesterday, the funeral was today. She got dressed and prepared herself breakfast. She thought about last night. She was going to tell Detective Richards about it. How was he supposed to solve the case? As far as Miss Parker knew, he had no concrete proof. Nobody had seen anything. Nobody had heard anything.

Madam Washington-Bale, found dead in her own locked room. No wound. No poison sign. It was as if she had just…died. Maybe she had had a stroke, or a heart attack. But she wasn’t that old, plus she was very fit. But, most important of all, why would somebody murder her, a wealthy, reserved widow? Did she have debts with someone? It was impossible. Just one of her paintings would be enough to buy six apartments inside a luxury condo in the centre of London. There were too many questions and not enough answers, Miss Parker thought as she got up and went to take Kě’ài and the other Chow Chows for a walk. She had to go to the funeral. It was her only chance of finding some answers. Plus, before it had been just the murder of one of her clients. But now, after someone had tried to murder her last night, it was personal.

At exactly 4:30 p.m. Miss Parker stepped into her car, trying not to trip in her long, black dress. She decided to bring Kě’ài with her. He was, after all, the father of Madam Washington-Bale’s-almost-puppy. In addition, his presence comforted her. Miss Parker bumped her head on the roof of the car, making her old black hat fall between her feet.

“Oh oh…” Miss Parker thought “This is going to be a tricky manoeuvre. Don’t try this at home, children.”

With her left hand, she held the wheel. With her right, hand she searched between her feet.

“Damn!” She thought.

She couldn’t find it. She gazed at the road. Very few cars to be seen. She afforded a glance next to the pedals. There it was! She reached out… A car honked loudly and Kě’ài woofed. She looked up immediately; just to see herself almost slamming into a lorry. Miss Parker turned her wheel immediately, missing the truck by a few inches. She looked down again and grabbed the hat, sticking it on her head and missing
the park space of the graveyard. She turned her car 180 degrees and sped into the gap between two limousines, probably of one of Madam Washington-Bale’s relative’s’s car. She pulled the keys out of the ignition, wheezing out a breath.

“Safe, for now,” She thought, getting out of the car and putting Kě’ài on the lead. The graveyard was exactly like those in horror movies. Silent, with dead, sad trees stretching out their bony fingers and mist giving the place a mysterious atmosphere. There was almost no sunlight left, partly because it was evening and partly because dark clouds had covered the sun. A voice chanted in Latin somewhere between the stones and the marble statues. Miss Parker followed the voice, stopping next to a small group of people, all dressed in black. Some where crying under their breath, others (probably Madam Washington-Bale’s relatives, Miss Parker thought) only looked solemnly sad. Kě’ài started sniffing intently the other people’s clothes, so Miss Parker pulled him back and scratched his ears.

The vicar finished the sermon, and everybody said Amen under their breath. Then there was absolute silence, apart from a soft ticking, made by the rain. Miss Parker bowed her head in sign of respect, but she noticed that some of Madam Washington-Bale’s snobby relatives were frowning at each other. She realised why too late. There was a massive boom and an explosion so strong that Miss Parker blacked out.

Miss Parker had a strange dream. She was walking in a field during spring. She could tell it was spring because all of the flowers were in  bloom. The sun was shining down, kissing her skin, warming her up. Kě’ài was walking besides her, waggling his tail, occasionally speeding off to
chase a bird and then coming back. There was no one else to be seen. The place was so peaceful and quiet that Miss Parker started to feel drowsy. She sat under the shade of an oak, looking up at the pieces of sky she could see between the gaps of crossing green leaves. Kě’ài lied down next to her and started to chew a stick. Miss Parker closed her eyes for a few seconds and when she reopened them she was in a different place. A place very familiar to her. Her old house. The door of her father’s bedroom stood open in front of her, showing the horrors of  what lay the behind it…

Miss Parker awoke in a white room. The walls were white. The curtains were white. The chairs were white. The sheets were white. The womansitting next to her was dressed in white with white hair and a pale face. She smiled.

“Hello. Didn’t expect you to come back so soon. I’m nurse Beckham.” She smiled again.

Miss Parker realised she was in a hospital and answered with a feeble voice “What am I doing here? What happened?”

The nurse smiled one more time. Miss Parker wondered if it was a nervous tic.

“There was a bomb, Miss Parker. A bomb at the funeral. Everybody’s talking about that. You were hit by the explosion and banged your head on a stone. You are the only survivor, probably thanks to your adorable dog. He pulled you a bit out of the way.”

She smiled for the forth time as Kě’ài’s head popped up from under the bed. He started to lick her face. The nurse smiled. Things started to flow back to Miss Parker’s mind. The ticking. The explosion. The man in black that had gazed down at her smiling…Who was he? Why hadn’t he been hit by the bomb? Why had he been smiling? A cold sense of fear crept up upon her. Was he the man who had killed Madam Washington-Bale? Was he the person who had tried to kill her? And if he wasn’t, did that mean that two people wanted to kill her? That night, her dreams were filled with killers and questions.

The next day the doctors said that, if she wanted to, she could go home. She had already been there five days, and seeing that she had nothing apart from a little bump on her head, Miss Parker decided to return to her house. She had not been able to ask any questions at the
funeral due to the bomb. She was not pleased to see a black car with tinted glass parked in her own driveway. She honked a few times at it but, seeing that nobody answered, she parked behind it. She was surprised to see who was sat inside the car.

“Good afterrnoon Miss Parrkerr. I have come to tell you something, a clue that I thought would help you with your inspections and interrogations. Therr arr only two keys that opened the Madam’s doorr. One was locked inside the rroom when Madam was killed, the otherr, well, was owned by Madam’s husband. I know it is strange, the key was always in his pocket, but not when he was burried.”

“Hmm. Thank you, Windsor. But why are you telling me and not Detective Richards, and why are you telling me now?”

But, as Miss Parker spoke, she already knew the answer to her first question. Detective Richards never would have believed a story about dead husbands coming back to life and supposedly killing their wives, or people stealing keys from husbands. Windsor smiled faintly.

“I don’t think that the Detective ever would have believed me. And I think that I don’t have much time left…”

“What… Windsor! Wait! What do you mean?” Miss Parker yelled confusedly.

But Windsor was already gone. “Weird, very weird.” Miss Parker thought.

A butler used to dealing with snobby, aristocratic people speeding away in a car in the middle of a sentence? And how did he know that she was coming back from the hospital? But, most important, why didn’t he have much time left? Miss Parker went inside with a confident stride. The chair of the kitchen screeched on the linoleum as Miss Parker sat down. The white fridge and the brown furniture glared down at her impatiently. She pulled out  a blank sheet of paper towards it she divided it in half and created a table,

Suspects

Reason

1) Windsor
2) A person from outside

He was on the murder scene
Wants Madam’s money?

3) Madam’s husband (deceased, Revenge? Love story? Money?
but possibly alive)
4) One of Madam’s relatives
Money? House?

Her phone ringed just as she finished the list. She answered.

“Hello?” The voice of the person on the other line surprised her. It was Detective Richards.

“Miss Parker, I just thought you’d want to know that we have arrested the murderer  of Madam Washington-Bale. After we checked the will,
we have enough proof to say that it was Windsor. He poisoned Madam’s dinner, as our Doctor actually proved. Plus, Madam Washington-Bale left everything to him in her will, saying that He was the only person that she ever trusted. Lucky Windsor! With all of the money from Madam and
her husband…”

“Her husband was rich?” Miss Parker said, surprised.

“Yes. He was a very famous theatre actor.” He paused. “But are you not going to, like, come here and screech at us all until
we let Windsor go?” He asked.

“Oh, I am already in my car. I’m… I’m here now. I can see you.”

You’ve got the wrong man, and I’ve got the proof.” Miss Parker stepped out of her car and half walked, half ran towards Detective Richards. He looked at her inquisitively. She smiled and started.

“Windsor could have murdered Madam quite easily. But it wasn’t him. There was only one other person that could have poisoned Madam’s breakfast. Only one person that had a reason to kill Madam. Only one person that could have easily hidden himself  within Madam’s servitude.”

She stretched a hand out and grabbed a girl that was edging away.

“Giselle. Who is not really Giselle, but…”

She pulled at the girl’s face, revealing the face of… Madam’s husband!

“He killed another man and buried him, pretending that it was himself. He then killed Madam, tried to kill me, and phoned me saying that Madam had been poisoned. But how could he have known, if even the doctors hadn’t realised it? He couldn’t! He was such a good actor that everybody thought he was a lovely servant. Then, finally, he tried to kill me again.”

“And I would have succeeded if it wasn’t for your dog!” He growled at her.

Kě’ài barked happily.