The Irish Manor House Murder

Free The Irish Manor House Murder by Dicey Deere

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Authors: Dicey Deere
Tags: detective, Mystery, woman sleuth
Keegan, alone in the library at Ashenden Manor, raised his eyebrows. He was standing over his grandfather’s desk looking down at a blue document that lay on the desk, folded in thirds: Last Will and Testament of Gerald Ashenden. He picked it up.
    “Here you are!” His mother, in the doorway. She came in. She was carrying a measuring tape and some sort of brochure. “Scott! I’ve been wanting to measure you for a vest, this new pattern. A bargello, not that easy to knit. But stunning.” She unwound the tape. “Where’ve you been all morning? It’s two o’clock!”
    “Dublin. Doing this and that. At which I’m expert.” With Rowena, down narrow, squalid streets.
    “Stand still.” His mother came close, holding the tape, surveying his waist. Her cardigan did not conceal how slight she was, her bony shoulders. Yet fair of face, and with an odd quirky humor to spare. Lucky Tom Keegan, lucky Mark Temple. She looked at the blue document. “What’s that you’ve got?”
    “This? Your pa’s will.” He waved the document at her. “I was just — hey! You all right, Ma?”
    “Yes, nothing’s the —” But she had gone quite pale. “That will, it’s dated when?”
    He looked at the document. “Two years ago.”
    “Oh.” She was gazing at the blue document as though it were a cobra or possibly a tarantula. “I called Wickham and Slocum. I thought it was time we had a reading. They said any time this week would be fine.”
    “Sure, Ma. But we don’t have to wait for lawyers’ offices, all the heirs sitting around, smug smiles from the lucky inheritors, cries of indignation and outrage from the deprived. We can read it now.” He began to unfold the blue document.
    “Is that legal, Scott? I thought wills were read in lawyers’ offices.”
    “Who says so? I’ll read this now, Ma. Then let’s see if we can rustle up all the mentioned lucky and unlucky.” His leg was aching; the brace felt like an iron weight. Dublin with Rowena had been exhausting.
    “Well, then, I guess it’s all right.”

    Upstairs in her bedroom, Rowena slung the black nylon carrying case onto the bed. No need now to live above the stable at Castle Moore. From the doorway, a footfall. Torrey came in. “They said you were back.”
    “Yes.” Rowena zipped open the bag. “The reason I phoned you this morning, I was getting frantic, and you lead such a cosmopolitan life, you know things, maybe even, uh, places. Anyway, it’s all right now. Sorry not to’ve left a note for you at Castle Moore. Scott turned up at the stable in his Miata and he had the motor running, and he’d thought —”
    “An abortionist, right, Rowena?” She sat down on the window seat and stuck her jean-clad legs out in front of her and crossed her ankles. Smell of pine cleaner in the room; Jennie O’Shea must have had a go at the furniture. She looked soberly at Rowena, who stopped taking clothes from the black bag and turned to face her.
    Rowena’s gaze met hers. “Yes. But then, Scott knew somebody who had a friend who … Anyway, Scott got an address and we went there, a place off the Finglas Road, back of the Glasnevin Cemetery. I made an appointment. He’s supposed to be good. Safe. Anyway, Scott’s friend said that —”
    “Safe?” Torrey, imagining globs of blood on a not-too-clean floor, made a skeptical face. “When?”
    “He’s … busy. But he can do it the twenty-second.”
    This was what? The fourteenth? Eight days from now. Any later — frightening.
    Rowena abruptly raised her hands and pressed them hard against her cheeks. After a moment she dropped her hands, leaving white welts on her cheek. She drew a deep, determined breath. “Two o’clock. In Glasnevin. Scott will take me. Then he’ll wait.”

    At seven o’clock, a blue dusk, striated orange fading over the mountains, smell of wood fires in Ballynagh fireplaces. At the cottage, Jasper said, “Ruination!” and at the stove wiped a drop of gravy from the cover

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