Murder in the Dark

Murder in the Dark by Kerry Greenwood

Book: Murder in the Dark by Kerry Greenwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kerry Greenwood
Tags: FIC050000
the stalwart bosom of Pamela English, a jolly hockey lass straight out of a girls’ boarding school story. She had butter yellow hair cut short and a high complexion, enhanced by her habit of running five miles before breakfast. Phryne reflected that she and Sabine were a match made in heaven and said so as she sat down and reached for some hors d’oeuvres. Stuffed eggs, very tasty.
    ‘Quite so,’ agreed Sabine, giggling. ‘And I hardly had to chase her at all, which was lucky, because she could outrun me any day.’
    Pam blushed and offered Phryne a plate of devils on horseback. ‘Nice place, though,’ she said, referring to the house. ‘Got a tennis court. I’ve lined up a few partners for tomorrow. Do you play, Phryne?’
    ‘Occasionally,’ said Phryne through a mouthful of prune and bacon. ‘But not in such hot weather. Can one swim in the lake?’
    ‘Oh yes, it’s spring fed and quite cold. I took a dip this afternoon. The hearties hadn’t arrived then. I expect it will be full of boys by the morning,’ said Pam sadly. She loathed anything in masculine form except Gerald Templar. Sad Alison, who sat on the other side of Sabine, hauled back her lank hair and sighed.
    ‘Some of them are quite good-looking, though,’ she said. Sadly. With her spotty skin and despondent air, she was unlikely to attract any of them.
    Phryne reflected that she could probably manage the boys and ate a piece of toast with something vulcanised on it—fish paste, perhaps? She hoped that this dinner was going to be mostly cold, or it would be unbearable.
    ‘So, have you come alone?’ asked Sabine.
    ‘Yes,’ said Phryne. ‘But since I’ve been here I’ve met several interesting people. One jazz singer who can tear the heart out of your breast, two girl polo players and one goat.’
    The story about the goat lasted through the soup, which was vichyssoise, and the fish, which was a cold mousse concocted of crabmeat and prawns. A discussion of Erik Satie and the modernist school of music beguiled the roast, which was cold baron of beef with all the trimmings. That accounted for civility and culture. The girls began to gossip along with the fruit salad and ice cream.
    ‘They say that they are coming to the end of their fortune at last,’ whispered Amelia, biting a piece of pineapple as though she had a grudge against pineapples and all their race.
    ‘Do you think so?’ asked Phryne.
    ‘It might be,’ said Pam slowly. ‘Why else come to Australia, which is about as far as anyone can run from Paris? No one can afford to spend like they’ve been spending for the last three years. I reckon the carnival ride might be coming to an end. It’s been a great ride, though,’ she sighed.
    ‘What will you do if it does all come to an end?’ asked Phryne.
    ‘Stay here, I think. Sabine likes Melbourne. I can find a job and I’ve got a little income of my own, and so has Sabine. We’ll manage.’
    ‘And I wouldn’t have missed it,’ said Sabine. ‘As Pam says, we’ll manage. But I don’t know about some of the others. The hash smokers are pretty out of it. It was probably cruel to bring them all this way. Some of them haven’t the wit of a dormouse and they’ll never get home, even assuming they can remember where home is.’
    ‘Sabine!’ exclaimed Pam, shocked at this blasphemy, and Sabine waved an apologetic hand. ‘No, I didn’t mean that Gerald was cruel, or the Lady either. But perhaps they didn’t think.’
    ‘Would anyone want to harm Gerald?’ asked Phryne. ‘Someone, perhaps, who knows that it is all coming to an end and blames him for stranding them in Australia?’
    ‘No,’ said Pam and Sabine together. ‘No one would want to hurt Gerald. You just have to be near him to feel how he loves us.’
    ‘Yet each man kills the thing he loves,’ quoted a rich voice. ‘By each let it be heard. Some do it with a bitter look, some with a flattering word. The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a

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