We had reached the junction, and I was full of questions, distracted. Marina, however, took charge, leading me through the maze of rooms so that we turned up in a corridor with a long tapestry. Pushing through a creaking door, we turned out in the lounge-room.
“Oh,” I muttered, having not recognised the back way.
“Richard!” Marina rushed to him, sat casually in an armchair, his legs folded formally. I half expected a pair of pince-nez spectacles to be perched on his nose.
“Miss King and I were just discussing the purposeful poisoning of Ivor,” Marina continued boldly. “And, no, I didn’t find Carrie. Sorry I couldn’t help.”
“It’s okay,” Richard began, before the full impact of Marina’s intriguing words hit me.
“You think that the poisoning was deliberate, then?”
“How can it not be? Well, no one accidently drops a casual packet of Cyanide into a glass of blackcurrant-water. It would not be mistaken for anything other.”
“It was orange actually. Elsie was drinking blackcurrant, Ivor orange.”
“Quite right,” Richard mused, watching the world of nature out of the window.
“You think that Ivor’s poisoning is linked to my brother’s death, don’t you, Miss King?” Marina added.
I had thought of it in that way, but I had never managed to voice my concern…for exactly the reason that Marina would jump at the chance to hunt for her brother’s killer amongst the Karkroff's walls.
“Well, I wouldn’t be so accusing…”
“Oh, come on!” Marina cried. “We’re all gathered here to discover what happened to my brother, and one of the children of the house in which all the ‘suspects’ are staying gets an attempt on his life. It seems fishy, don’t you think? That can’t be a coincidence; someone’s out to get the evidence.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic,” I muttered, despite that I couldn’t help agreeing with her point.
“You do agree, don’t you?”
“I do…” I began hesitantly. “But because of what you have said, I have reason to say that we ought not to speak of it. We should be careful about what we indict in front of the others.”
“Have you seen Nicky?” Mr. Thomason suddenly exclaimed.
It was at him I raised my eyebrows again.
“Tell me you do not think…”
“Well, where is she now? I was asking after the new governess, but at least she saved the boy, that’s a point to remember…unless he wasn’t the intended victim. So, Mrs. Cunningham is my next suspect up to the podium. And now she’s disappeared.”
“Where is Elsie?” I exclaimed. “Where is Maripose? Where are they all? Does it matter? Just because you can’t see someone in your presence, doesn’t mean they’ve committed a murder. It’s been a big shock to all of us (except you, so it seems), and we’ve all gone our separate ways to recover. I passed Mr. Karkroff on the staircase earlier, coming from Ivor’s room. He barely said two words to me. And I’m pretty sure our host is normally very liberal with his languages!”
“I was just wondering after her strange movements,” said he. “Did you see how quickly she ran off? She was breaking down even after Ivor had recovered.”
“Mr. Thomason, it isn’t up to you to investigate,” I replied. “I think it would be best if-”
“Yes, but if I do nothing, you’d think me guilty.”
“I think that all the occupants here are guilty! It’s my job to rule out nobody. You might as well question me too!”
“Won’t you even think about it?” Marina cooed.
I remained silent, watching the two of them as they concocted their theories, trying to conceal my frustration. I had not been led down from my exertion in Elsie’s room just to be exposed to more gossip.
“Yeah. I’ll think about the connections. There’s something that doesn’t fit yet, though-” when saying this, I stared directly at Marina. As I expected, she could not fully meet my eyes. “Just lay off Nicky, okay? We have all reacted in different ways.”
Having said those things, I turned, heading towards the front entrance, before Richard’s voice called to me from his seat, an afterthought.
“And anger is not the positive way to react, Miss King.”