It's in the Cards (4)

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It's in the Cards

Part 4

A flapper

It felt like I'd only been asleep for a minute when Mary was shaking me awake,

'Wake up, Miss, it's nine o'clock,' she said, I woke with a start 'your father said I was to let you sleep as you were very late to bed.' I sighed and took a sip of the tea she'd bought me,

'Thank you, Mary, it was a trying night,' I replied.

'I heard about Lady Knellar dying at the party you were at, Mrs Phillips said something about it when I went down to the kitchen first thing. Then she asked me to see if I could catch the milkman and get a couple more pints of milk because she wants to make a rice pudding at lunchtime and when I was coming back, I heard the newsboy on the corner shouting the news. What an awful thing to happen'. Mary said as she bustled about my room, tidying up.

'I know, I saw it in the cards about half an hour before it happened,' I replied, Mary gasped.

'Oh Miss, how awful, I sometimes think how I'd like to be able to see the future like you do, but, after what happened to Lady Knellar, I don't think I do. What would you like to wear today Miss?' she asked.

'Something subdued, I think,' I replied.

'Very good, Miss,' she said as she searched through my wardrobe to find something suitable.

I made my way down to breakfast, I found Father and Charlie tucking in.

'Rum do about poor Daisy Knellar,' Charlie said, looking up from is paper, I nodded at sat next to him, 'so much bad luck, it's like there's a curse on the family, first Victor and Teddy, now Daisy, maybe we should get Grandmamma over and ask her to perform and exorcism.' I rolled my eyes and began to eat my eggs and bacon but something Father had said the previous night was nagging at me.

'Charlie, does Geoffrey play the markets?' I asked. He thought for a moment.

'Not anymore, from what I heard he lost an awful lot of money at the casino in Monte Carlo a couple of years ago, had to sell some artwork to cover his debts. Daisy put her foot down and told him to stay away from the casinos before he bankrupted himself, said she wasn't going to use her money to pay his debts,' Charlie replied.

'Bankrupt? I thought he was loaded,' I said.

'He gambles, horses, cards, roulette you name it but he's not very good at it, I guess he's gambled the family money away' he remarked. I caught father's eye, was he thinking the same as me, motive to kill Daisy – he'd inherit her money, after all.

'I'm going to see Richard and Constance Devonish to pay my respects; would you like to come with me, Amy?' Father asked as he stood up. I nodded. 'I'll be leaving at eleven thirty.'

I finished my breakfast and went back to my room, with all this new information I'd found I was eager to deal out my cards and see what I could do with it. I sat at my bureau and shuffled.

'What is at the root of Daisy's murder?' I asked out loud. I cut and I dealt the cards out. I laid The Lovers, the Nine of Cups, the Four of Pentacles, the Seven of Swords, the Two of Swords and The Devil, I nodded as I looked over them, it made sense....

'So Geoffrey is having an affair,' I said to myself. 'But be careful what you wish for, it may come true, so money, or lack of, is a problem as well as putting up barriers, theft and obsession.' The cards were confirming a lot of things I suspected, Geoffrey was having an affair, had he wished for Daisy to die so he could inherit her fortune, did his lover have money? The seven of Swords again, was Geoffrey stealing Daisy's money, or his lover's, or was it because his lover had stolen Geoffrey. Who was putting up the barriers, who was not listening to advice given to them? The Devil was easy enough, Geoffrey's gambling and his affair as well as all the other things I'd learned from Father.

I packed my cards away, should I contact Daniel Tempest with all this new information? Most of it was gossip, but gossip could produce vital information.

I was pacing my room wondering what to do with this information when Mary knocked on my door.

Your father asked me to remind you that you're going to pay your respects to Lord and Lady Devonish,' she said.

'Thank you, Mary. Would you hand me my black hat and black wrap?' I asked. She got them out of my wardrobe and handed them to me, I could see she was uneasy.

'What's the matter?' I asked.

'Could you give a message to Miss Rose's maid Ivy?' I nodded and she pulled an envelope out of her pocket. 'Me and Ivy were at school together and she was really fond of Miss Daisy, so I thought I'd ask her if she wanted to meet on my next afternoon off, at the Lyon's Corner House in Knightsbridge, she's going to be upset,' she said. I smiled.

That's good of you, Mary, take off the next afternoon Ivy is free,' I replied, Mary curtsied and left.

I walked down the stairs and met Father putting his helmet, goggles and gloves on, I put another pin in my hat. If Father was togged up like this, he would have the top down on the car.

We arrived at The Devonish estate, there were a number of other car's in the driveway.

'Looks like we're not the only ones, best not stay too long, eh? just give our condolences and leave. I remember what it was like when your dear Mama passed away, protocol said I had to keep a stiff upper lip and receive visitors when all I wanted to do was shut myself away,' Father remarked, I squeezed his hand in sympathy.

The butler announced our arrival and we made our way into the Morning Room, I smiled as I saw Nell and her mother sitting and drinking tea along with Penelope and Peony Carmichael, Geoffrey was standing behind a chair that Rose was sitting in.

'Richard, Constance, Amy and I just want to give you are condolences and to tell you to call on us if you need anything' Father said, Lady Devonish glared at me. I sighed, she was going to blame me for this, I could feel it.

'Thank you, Douglas, I appreciate the offer...' Lord Devonish started.

'I don't think there's anything either of you can do for us' Lady Devonish snapped, I just stood there looking at the floor, not knowing what to do or say. Nell came over to me.

'She's been bad mouthing you all morning, the way she's carried on you'd think you'd killed Daisy and Penelope Carmichael hasn't helped,' I just nodded in the right places as Nell chatted on, I was more interested in Geoffrey and Rose, I noticed that he kept putting his hand on her shoulder and she kept caressing it, I nudged Nell and nodded towards them.

'They've been doing that a lot, since we arrived, I put it down to both of them needing comfort, but...I don't know' Nell said, I nodded, I wondered if Rose was Geoffrey's lover, it was well known Rose would do anything to marry a man with a title, but kill her own sister?

The conversation became more stilted and I saw Father look urgently at the door, he wanted to leave, so did I if I was honest, so I nodded.

'I think Father wants to leave,' I whispered to Nell, she looked at her mother who gave her the same signal.

'I think Mother does, too,' Nell replied.

We made our excuses to the Devonish's and I passed Mary's note to the butler who promised faithfully to pass it on to Ivy, once outside we all breathed a sigh of relief.

'Well, that was awkward' Lady Stockton-Ellis said. 'I'm sorry, Amy dear but Constance and Penelope have been blackening your name something awful, I tried to put them right about the things you do, but, I'm assuming they need someone to blame,' I smiled and nodded in agreement. I thought the same thing.

We all turned at the sound of a car pulling up. Daniel Tempest stepped out, Nell nudged me.

'Your Kind of Swords has turned up again,' she whispered with a grin.

'He's investigating Daisy's murder,' I whispered back.

'Lady Amethyst, Lady Petronella,' he said in greeting.

'Inspector,' we replied.

'What are you doing here?' he asked.

'I came with my father to pay condolences to Lord and Lady Devonish,' I replied.

'Same thing, except I'm here with my Mother,' Nell said. Father strode over.

'We need to me making a move soon, Amy,' he said, looking at Daniel.

'Father, this is Detective Inspector Daniel Tempest. He's investigating Daisy's death. He escorted me home last night.' Daniel and Father shook hands. 'I need to speak to the inspector about what we discussed this morning,' I said. Father nodded.

'Do you want me to come back?' he asked. I shook my head.

'I'll make my own way home,' I said.

'I'll stay and give you a lift if you want,' Nell said.

'What about your mother?' I asked.

'I'll give her a lift. Beatrice, the girls are staying here for a bit longer. Would you like a lift back to town?' Father asked Lady Stockton-Ellis. She beamed.

'Thank you, Douglas, I'd love to'.

After they had left in Father's car, Daniel turned to us.

'Well ,what is so important that you've sent your parents back to town on their own'? he asked.

Nell and I looked at each other.

I told Daniel everything that Father and Charlie had said about Geoffrey, the stories about him in America, his being bankrupt and his gambling debts as well as Daisy being engaged to Teddy before he was killed in the war. Nell filled in details of the gossip about Geoffrey's affairs as well as what she'd witnessed in the Morning Room.

'I also did another Tarot reading, to find out what was at the root of Daisy's death. The 7 of Swords came up again, so theft is definitely at the root of everything, whether it's money or an affair he's having, I don't know yet but The Devil came up too. That means obsession, hanging on to unhealthy practices and being chained to those practices even though you know you can break free,' I said.

Daniel looked up from the notes he was writing.

'Thank you for all this new information, I know a lot of it is gossip but I learned long ago not to ignore it, I'll get one of my men to look into the Duke's financial affairs, would your brother help, do you think?' He asked.

'Charlie specialises in the Stock Market. He said Geoffrey stopped speculating a couple of years ago, I guess that's when the money started to run out,' I explained, 'but he may be able to introduce you to someone, who does know.' Daniel nodded.

'Oh, that reminds me, I was in Monte Carlo two years ago. I was in negotiations with Coco Chanel about photographing her new collection and when I was in the Casino I heard the manager telling the doorman that 'the English Milord was barred until he paid his debts.' That was in June two years ago. I remember it because there was a particular dress in that Autumn Collection that was really low-cut, and I said to Coco that it would cause a scandal in England. She said she didn't make dresses for Country House Matrons so she didn't care. I didn't see Geoffrey at all that summer or in Nice in the winter, either in clubs or the casinos,' Nell said.

'And Charlie did say that Daisy had but her foot down and told him to stop because she wouldn't give him any of her money,' I replied.

'Thank you again for all this, I need to telegraph the FBI and the police in Washington about his time in America and possibly casinos and racetracks in Europe, to see if he's run up any more debts,' Daniel said as he shut his notebook.

'Good luck with that; casinos have a unspoken rule, don't tell anyone anything about who goes in and what goes on inside, I know several women who have tried to get information out of them about their husbands', Nell remarked.

'I'll get a warrant if I have to. Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I have to interview the grieving parents,' Daniel replied as he left us and went into the house.

Nell and I got into her car and headed back to London.

'Do you think Geoffrey would really murder Daisy for her money?' Nell asked I sighed.

'I have no idea, the cards are being very coy about who exactly is responsible they just keep telling me about theft – but what theft, theft of money or theft of a woman from someone else, I just don't know,' I replied.

'Maybe it means theft of life,' Nell remarked.

'Maybe in the reading at Penelope Carmichael's house, but not now,' I replied.

'What about asking the cards if Geoffrey killed Daisy?' Nell said.

'You know I can't do that. Mama said it's like spying on someone and the consequences would haunt me,' I replied.

'So let us spy on Geoffrey the old fashioned way, by asking questions, we'll got to Crockford's tonight and ask, a lot of people gamble in the same places in Monaco and the South of France, they'll know all about Geoffrey and what he's been up to,' Nell said. I nodded; well, the cards did say I was going to be involved in this case...

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