It's in the Cards (2)
'Well, that was unexpected,' Nell said. I nodded, still not sure if I could speak. Nell came over and hugged me. There was a knock at the door, the butler came in with coffee and brandy for us, and Nell thanked him and poured the brandy.
Get that down you,' she said as she handed the glass over. I drank the brandy down and felt slightly better; Nell poured me some coffee and heaped two large spoons of sugar into the cup and stirred.
'Drink that, it'll warm you up' I took it and sipped 'so what did you really see?' Nell asked.
'Just what I said,' I replied, Nell stared at me with her arms crossed.
'I know you, you've never that little in a reading before, yes I know it's a touchy subject but you left the last few cards out didn't you?' she said. I nodded.
'Yes, I saw murder, deceit, shadows, theft and lies, I also saw an affair and my King of Swords' I replied. Nell stared at me.
'You and your King are going to start an affair?' she said.
'No, an affair that is involved with the murder I also saw me helping bring the murderer to justice and the murderer hanging.' I took another mouthful of coffee to stave off the coldness; Nell put her hand on my shoulder, I soaked in her warmth and friendship 'thanks Nell, for taking over' I said. Nell wrapped her arms around me.
'What are friends for, I think we should rejoin the gathering don't you' she replied. We rose and entered the drawing room, the mood was subdued, which was not unexpected, I noticed someone was missing.
'Where's Daisy, has she gone home already?' I asked Peony.
'No, she's gone to lie down in the parlour; she hasn't been well for a few months, Geoffrey is thinking of sending her to a sanatorium in Switzerland' Rose replied.
'Oh, I'm sorry to hear that' I replied. The Butler appeared at our elbows.
'Miss Devonish, Lady Knellar's chauffer is here to take you both home' he said.
'Oh, thank you, I'll go and get her, good to see you again Amy' Rose said as she went to find her sister.
'I'd heard Daisy hadn't been well, you know ‘Women's trouble' I suggested she went to see a friend of mine, a female doctor, someone who knows her way around the female body, but Geoffrey said no, you know how he is' Nell said, I nodded. I was about to reply when a scream pierced the air...
At the sound of the scream, a number of cups crashed to the floor, Nell and Lady Stockton-Ellis ran towards the parlour. I like Lady Stockton-Ellis; she's a tough, no nonsense Lady who always rises to the occasion, whether it's hosting a dinner party for Queen Mary or climbing Mont Blanc.
We found Rose on her knees, wailing and patting Daisy's cheeks.
'She's dead, she's dead, oh Daisy, Daisy, we should never have come to this reading' she screamed and started to cry. Lady Stockton-Ellis felt for Daisy's pulse and gently shook her head.
'Peony dear, take Rose back to you mother and give her a large brandy and have your butler call the police'. She ushered everyone out of the room and closed the door, 'the police will want the room to be kept as we found it, I learned that from your Uncle Teddy, remember Nell, he became a Special during the war'. Nell nodded.
'I do, he would have become a regular, if Grandpapa would have let him' Nell replied.
'I heard talk about what you said during the reading, about death and murder, I think you may be right, I think she may have been poisoned' Lady Stockton-Ellis said, I opened my eyes wide.
'Are you sure?' I gasped; she nodded.
'I worked as a nurse during the war, I remember a couple of patients being bought in after taking Strychnine, like the Victorian women used to, I've been wondering if Daisy had been doing it, you know what women are like nowadays,' she replied.
'I can't see Daisy taking such risks for beauty, Rose yes but not Daisy' Nell retorted.
There was a discreet cough.
'The police have arrived; they wish to speak to everyone in the house' said the butler.
We moved back into the drawing room and were met by a number of policemen, I noticed one man, I assumed he was the lead detective as he wasn't wearing a uniform, he was also younger than I imagined, he couldn't have been much older than me. Mrs Carmichael was remonstrating with him over something; Rose was still bewailing the death of her sister and being comforted by a WPC, the others were sitting around being spoken to by the constables.
'I think that poor young man needs rescuing, Penelope Carmichael is looking for someone to blame for this, before it hits the Tatler' said Lady Stockton-Ellis. Mrs Carmichael was pointing a finger at me.
'Yes, and it looks like the finger of blame is pointing at me' I remarked. Lady Stockton-Ellis strode towards Mrs Carmichael, looking to waylay trouble.
'She can't believe this is your fault' Nell said, I shrugged.
'You know what they say about shooting the messenger' I replied as the policeman came over to us.
'I understand you were conducting a séance or something here tonight' He said, I smiled.
'No, no, a séance, I was reading Tarot cards for some of the younger women here, there is a big difference' I replied. He chuckled.
'I understand, I am Detective Inspector Daniel Tempest, Mrs Carmichael has made some, um, accusations about what happened here today, I'd like you to tell me about what took place here' He said. Nell scoffed.
'I bet she did,' she said, I smiled back.
I'm Lady Amethyst Richmond, Amy to my friends; this is my friend Lady Petronella Stockon- Ellis, know to us all as Nell. Peony Carmichael asked me to come and read Tarot cards for her and her friends, they ask me ever three months or so, generally they want to know about husbands, money, parties and so on, unfortunately, the cards told a different story. I still have them on the table if you care to see' I said. He nodded.
'Thank you' he replied. Nell winked at me and patted my shoulder as she went back to her mother.
I took a closer look at him, Daniel Tempest, a name of Air, a Detective Inspector too, The King of Swords indeed.
'You are originally from New York aren't you?' I asked. He looked surprised.
'You have a good ear, I thought I'd disguised it' he replied. I chuckled.
'My mother's family are originally from New Orleans, I'm used to different American dialects,' I said. He smiled back.
'I spent three glorious months in New Orleans back when I worked for Pinkerton's' I replied, I gasped.
'You were one of Alan Pinkerton's men? My Grandmother told me stories of Pinkerton's men when they came to New Orleans at the turn of the century; they were looking for jewellery stolen in a railroad heist,' I remarked. Now he chuckled.
'Your Grandmother wouldn't be Amber Chatelaine by any chance?' he asked.
'The one and only' I replied.
'The older agents spoke of her in the highest regards, between you and me, I think they often used to go to her for help,' he said. I smiled; I knew they did go to her for help with their cases. We reached the parlour.
'Are you ready for this, you do need to keep an open mind' I said, he nodded.
'Ok,' he replied.
I opened the door and led him to the table I'd used for the reading; the cards were still in their position.
'Ok, tell me about what you saw' Daniel said. I sat down and drew a deep breath; I really didn't fancy going through this again.
'We have the 3 of Cups, Death, Queen of Swords, 5 of Cups, The Moon, 7 of Swords, King of Swords, The High Priestess, Justice and The Hanged Man, The 3 of Cups stands for friendship, a gathering of friends, the 5 of Cups stands for loss, bereavement and mourning. When coupled with the Death, in this case, it does mean actual death, usually it means the ending of something, a metaphorical death, the Queen of Swords is a cold calculating woman who plans everything to the last detail, it can also indicate a widow' I took another breath.
'The Moon means, deceit, lies, things happening in shadows, not taking things a face value. The 7 of Swords is backing this up, it means, theft, deception, manipulating a situation for your own ends, the King of Swords, a man who is logical, analytical, likes to bring order from chaos, fair, usually a man involved in law, a policeman, judge, prison officer' I said. I looked up and smiled at him.
'Me?' he questioned, I nodded.
'It makes sense,' I said.
'So what about the last 3 cards, I think I understand the last two but what about this one?' He pointed at the High Priestess.
'This one means listening to your inner voice, using your intuition, listening to advice that comes to you beyond the veil' I replied. Daniel looked contemplative.
'Me listening to you?' he mused. I shrugged.
'Maybe, anyway, you said you thought you understood the last two, so what do you think they mean' I said.
'Well, Justice speaks for itself, if this is murder they won't get away with it, right' he said.
'Do you think it's murder then?' I asked.
'One of my men was involved with the Lambeth Poisoning cases when he was a young constable, he recognised the symptoms' he replied.
'So did Lady Stockton-Ellis, she was a nurse during the war and said she'd had seen a couple of cases back then. So what about the last card' I said.
'The hangman, the murderer will be hanged' he said grimly.
'Traditionally, it means contemplating the opportunities in front of you and making a informed decision because a sacrifice may be asked of you, but in this case I think you could be right' I replied.
He wiped his hand over his face and blew out a breath.
'So your cards are saying someone in this group of friends murdered Lady Knellar and I'm going to bring them to justice, with your help, but why, what's the motive,' He said.
'I don't know, but all those cards saying deceit, lies, theft and knowing these women as I do I'd say someone here was is having an affair with Daisy's husband' I replied.
'You got any proof?' Daniel asked.
'Only gossip, Nell said that Geoffrey, Daisy's husband, was trying to send her to a sanatorium in Switzerland because she was unwell, I've heard other rumours that Geoffrey was having an affair too' I explained.
Daniel snapped his notebook shut.
'Thank you for your time, I'm not sure if I can use any of this in my investigation, but a lot of it makes sense.' He replied.
'I'm glad I could help' I replied. There was a knock on the door and an older man poked his head round the door.
'My sergeant, excuse me,' Daniel said, he went over and started talking to him; I used this time to pack up my cards and things.
Daniel finished his conversation and came back over.
'We're finished, you can all go home now, if you would like to call your chauffeur you can leave' he said, I chuckled.
'My father doesn't have a chauffeur; he prefers to drive his own car. I will have to call a taxi,' I replied.
'Allow me to give you a lift,' he offered. I smiled.
'Thank you,' I replied.