And we’re back. To check out the story so far, here’s the Prologue and Chapters 1-5. And now on with the show…
Chapter VI Shock For Mr Bathurst
In which Anthony is made to look a bit stupid given that he has repeatedly promised people that the missing father and son would turn up alive and well. Both are found dead in East Brutton, Gloucestershire, the location of the Golden Lion, in an apparent murder-suicide, given the gun that caused both wounds belonged to David Somerset. So that might explain the title, as speculated in my prologue. Anyway, not much else happens in this chapter apart from Sir Austin demonstrating the same thoughts about Chief-Inspector Andrew MacMorran’s intelligence that Bathurst has about his. So it’s off to East Brutton for the three investigators…
Chapter VII Into The Copse
Our heroes arrive at East Brutton, via some real places. East Brutton is in Gloucestershire and while that’s fictional, the directions should be enough for an inspired cartographer to find it. We discover, in case you were wondering, that MacMorran is five foot nine, while Bathurst is taller (due to the tree branches bothering one and not the other). Apart from having a maid called Emily, that’s the sole bit of Bathurst information so far… I mention that because not an awful lot obvious seems to be discovered to advance the case, at least in making it a little more interesting, merely confirmation of what Bathurst suspected already. Getting more worried that this is going to be another Conspiracy At Angel – there’s not many viable suspects for one thing…
Chapter VIII The Two Men
There’s a bit in this chapter that is rather indicative of Anthony Bathurst’s character that’s worth pointing out. Inspector MacMorran pops round to Bathurst’s rooms with the news that a couple of armed foreign gentlemen tried to approach the surviving Somerset but were scared off by the police that were following Gerald. Bathurst dismisses MacMorran with assurances that the information may well provide another lead and then, once MacMorran has left, admits to himself (and no one else) that he hasn’t a clue what’s going on. Deciding on a course of action, Bathurst lays a trap for the mysterious foreigners.
Worth noting – it really isn’t clear who the two men are in the title of the chapter. MacMorran and Gerald Somerset, probably, as Bathurst talks to both of them, but it’s a pretty weak title.
Chapter IX Staff Matters At Somerset’s
“Somewhere near the football ground in Ilford.” Is there a famous football ground near Ilford? Or does Gerald know that Bathurst has a comprehensive knowledge of the geography of Essex? Who knows? We also get a couple of reminders in quick succession of Bathurst’s (and probably Flynn’s) interest in cricket with two life lessons – it’s hard to live in the shadow of a great father, like W.G. Grace, Junior; and, nobody is indispensable, except Don Bradman.
As for the plot, apart from learning that Maud Masters has resigned from the firm, for unsurprising reasons, not a lot happens when Bathurst finally questions Digby, David Somerset’s partner.
Chapter X Mademoiselle
“The laugh is like rainbow-tinted spray. A jet from the fountain of angels, each drop a flawless gem.”
Crikey, Bathurst talks some crap sometimes. Just to explain, a young foreign (no specific nationality and no mention of her accent) shows up in response to Bathursts’s trap.
“A spirit burned within her. A fire – prismatic and aromatic. Race, nerve and sex were all there, too. All the mystery, all the magic, all the essential, elemental principles of the Supreme Feminine were there.”
Blimey, Anthony, calm down, mate. Anyway, after she leaves, it seems that MacMorran made a mess of following her and lost her – MacMorran, bright spark that he is, didn’t smell a rat when the taxi driver gave his name as S Holmes of 221B Baker Street. After Bathurst takes a chance to plug one of his earlier cases again (The Fortescue Candle, this time, after earlier plugging The Sussex Cuckoo), he takes some time to admire MacMorran’s range of swearwords. Seriously. It’s rather a lovely scene to be honest.
Well, to be honest, I’m rather intrigued, although I’m still at a loss as to whether this is a whodunit or not – the foreign lady admitted no culpability in the murders – but it’s much more engrossing than Conspiracy At Angel. Be back soon for Part Three where I will get much less spoilery about the events of the book. Probably. This is harder than I thought it would be, but as were 40% of the way through the tale, it’s time to get vague on the events…
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