It's in the Cards (Conclusion)

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It's in the Cards (Conclusion)

Part 7

A flapper

We got home and just spent the rest of the day quietly contemplating the recent events. The next day, Mary laid out my funeral clothes; I dressed and joined Father and Charlie in a sombre breakfast. Thompson entered and told me that Daniel had left a note to say he had important news and would see me at the church vestry after Daisy's funeral, this left me wondering why he would chose such a public place to meet.

The funeral was a tasteful affair. Richard, Constance, Geoffrey and Rose sitting in the front row, it struck me that only Constance seemed genuinely upset; everyone else seemed to be going through the motions. Richard was one of the old-school types that thought emotions was a weakness. If Geoffrey and Rose were in collusion over Daisy's death, surely they'd want to divert suspicion by at least acting distraught? And why did Daniel want to see me? Surely whatever needed saying could wait until that evening.

I found myself chatting to Nell, Primrose Ashton-Lacey and Jasmine Butler-Monkton. Primrose was obviously upset over Peony's death. I asked her what she knew. She said that she hadn't seen much of Peony lately; she was under the impression that she was having an affair. She'd been secretive and vague about her plans. I excused myself and went into the vestry to wait for Daniel. I paced back and forth; I was even more uneasy now. I wished I had done a reading before coming out this morning; I'd had this uneasy feeling since leaving Penelope's yesterday.

I turned as I heard the door open.

'You have caused me a lot of trouble young lady and now you're going to pay,' said Lord Richard Devonish.

'Richard, what are you doing here?' I gasped. He came closer to me, and I saw he was holding a knife. I felt the same murderous malice that I'd felt at Penelope's.

'Like I said, you're going to pay; you and that damned policeman poking your nose in where it's not wanted. If it hadn't been for that bloody tarot reading Daisy went to, none of this would have happened,' I winced at his blasphemy. 'Luckily for us, Daisy died without finding out she was being poisoned,' Sir Richard said.

'You killed Daisy; you killed your own daughter!' I gasped.

'With a little help. I had no need to get my hands that dirty,' I replied.

'Geoffrey,' I said.

'He was happy with the proposal I put to him,' Sir Richard said. Everything started to fall into place.

'You promised to pay off his debts, if he killed Daisy. But why, why would the pair of you that do that?' I cried.

'She was going to divorce Geoffrey, and I couldn't allow that. She'd changed, ever since she met that damned Pankhurst woman before the war.' I smiled; I'd forgotten Daisy had been involved with the Suffragette Movement with my mother. 'After Teddy was killed, we needed to get her married to Geoffrey before she disgraced the family with all that leftist, women's rights twaddle, and she seemed to settle down.' I frowned.

You forced her into marrying Geoffrey while she was still grieving for Teddy. How could you?' I declared.

'Teddy's death made her easier to manipulate, I just took advantage of the situation to get what I needed. She was still my daughter, living in my house; she needed to do as she was told. A year or so ago, she gave Geoffrey an ultimatum: stop his gambling and affairs or she'd leave him. Geoffrey would have had nothing, and I would lose my seat on the board of the bank. You see, I had to ally myself to Knellars to get into a position of power; this included providing a wife for one of their sons. Even after Victor and Teddy died, they insisted Daisy marry Geoffrey. They thought he would settle down, or Daisy would be a proper wife and turn a blind eye to his playboy ways. She did, until she met those damned Suffragette friends of hers again; they planted more ideas in her head about divorce, keeping control of her own money, finding a job with their feminist unions. Can you imagine what that would have done to my reputation? My daughter leaving her husband and using money to educate girls in Universities, fund birth control clinics, campaign for women MP's? Over my dead body would she!' Sir Richard replied. My anger started to rise.

'You killed Daisy because she wanted to show the world she could stand on her own two feet and was more than just Geoffrey's wife!' I shouted.

'No, I killed Daisy because her behaviour was going to ruin me with the Knellar family. Her marriage to Geoffrey was vital to me keeping on the bank's board. Without that I'd lose the power I've built up over the years. I couldn't let her do that to me,' he replied.

'But with Daisy dead, you've lost your bargaining chip, especially when the police discover you and Geoffrey killed Daisy,' I said.

'They won't discover anything, because I'm going to kill you and that detective. He should be here soon. I sent a note from you asking him to meet you here. Anyway, I have lots of friends in high places; the police will never arrest me for Daisy's murder, and Geoffrey was careful. No one will suspect him,' he retorted. My mind was racing. Sir Richard had been manipulating everything since the war: Daisy's life, his place on the board of the bank, his place in society; he'd stolen Daisy's freedom to choose what to do with her life. I was fuming. How dare he do this to his own daughter? How dare he take her life just so he could keep manipulating things in his favour? I needed to keep him talking until Daniel got here.

'Why did you kill Peony and Andrew Carmichael?' I asked, Sir Richard sighed.

'That bloody woman had set her sights on Geoffrey and he, of course, couldn't refuse. After a suitable period of morning, Rose and Geoffrey are going to get engaged; she's always wanted a title ,and Geoffrey needs her money, I couldn't risk her getting to Geoffrey before Rose,' he replied.

'And you keep your ties with the Knellars intact,' I finished.

'Of course. I killed Andrew because he was getting too close to the truth with his questions. Geoffrey called me from Crockfords and told me, so I slipped in the back door. He confronted me and we pushed him out of the window. I nearly had you that night, too, but that damned detective pulled you out of the way, I'd hoped Andrew's body falling at your feet might put you off: but no.' He advanced towards me waving the knife, I looked around desperately for something to defend myself with, there were a few old prayer books and a communion plate and goblet but nothing else. I turned my head as the door opened; at last, Daniel was here! But no: Geoffrey came through the door instead.

'Why isn't she dead yet?' he asked.

'I was waiting for the detective so we can finish them together, what do you think, make it look like a lovers tiff, it'll be a kick in the backside for Douglas to find his daughter with a policeman. I guess he won't care, not after he let the side down and married that American Floozy,' Sir Richard said with a laugh. That snapped my last nerve.

'HOW DARE YOU SPEAK ABOUT MY MOTHER LIKE THAT!' I screamed, I grabbed the communion goblet and threw it at him, it hit him on the head but he didn't go down. The knife slashed at me, I put my arms up to protect me and screamed in pain as the knife tore through the flesh on my arms. Blood was dripping off my elbows as Sir Richard and Geoffrey backed me into a corner. I looked desperately for something to defend myself with; my only hope was to try and get the knife off Sir Richard. My legs were beginning to feel weak and my eyes couldn't focus anymore. I tried to grab Sir Richard's arm but missed and fell to my knees; maybe, if I could trip him over… I rolled myself at his feet and felt him fall on top of me. I heard the knife clatter to the floor. I flung my arm out in the direction that I thought the knife had fallen; at that moment, I heard the door fly open and the sound of police whistles and running feet. Sir Richard was pulled off me, and I heard someone reading him his rights as they arrested him. I just lay on the floor, too weak to move.The pain in my arms was excruciating. I heard someone calling my name. I looked up and saw Daniel's face before the darkness overtook me.

A few days later, I was sitting in the Morning Room, being fussed over by Mary, Thompson, Mrs Phillips, Father, Charlie, Beatrice and Nell. After Sir Richard and Geoffrey had been arrested, an ambulance had been called to take me to hospital and after I'd received stitches for the cuts on my arms, I was allowed to go home. Daniel had promised to come over and explain everything that happened, Beatrice was changing my dressings, administering my medication and telling me off for worrying everyone and almost getting myself killed by playing detective.
Thompson showed Daniel in and went to get some coffee.

'So come on Inspector, tell us what happened,' Father said. Daniel sighed.

'First of all, I have to apologise because I've not been straight with you. I'm not actually a Detective Inspector of the Metropolitan Police. I was planted here on behalf the FBI. I'm actually a Pinkerton agent.' There was a gasp at this information. I smiled; I'd always known he wasn't all he said he was. 'A man came to us last year, saying his mother had been swindled out of her fortune by a Brit. He was young and said he was a Lord; he'd become her lover and managed to get hold of her cheque book and bank details, including her safety deposit box. By the time she'd realised what was going on, her account was practically empty and all her jewellery had vanished. She confessed all to her husband, and he went out looking for the man, to kill him, I guess. But the police found the husband next morning in Dumbarton Oaks Park, shot in the chest. The police had no leads and the case went cold. The woman told her son everything on her deathbed, and the son came to us to find the British Lord to try get her jewellery back, as they were family heirlooms. My initial investigations led me to Geoffrey, who was now the Duke of Guernsey, which was going to make any attempt to arrest him almost impossible for the American police. I have a contact at the FBI. They were looking into someone who was handing over confidential information to the Soviet Union, Mr Hoover wanted them found and inquiries lead to Geoffrey as the middleman. My FBI contact, who has a contact at the embassy in London, made some discreet enquiries and found that the police here were looking into Geoffrey's affairs and could get me into the Metropolitan police undercover,' he said.

'I'd heard rumours about Geoffrey killing someone in Washington while he was at the embassy, but nothing was ever proved, just hushed up,' Father said. Daniel nodded.

'I went to the embassy as part of my investigation. Complete waste of time. I got nothing out of them,' Daniel replied.

'So when Daisy died, did you suspect Geoffrey again?' Nell asked.

'Not right away. I had my suspicions, as Daisy had been poisoned slowly, so it could only have been someone close to her. It was the gossip you all shared with me that really put me on to him. Although, as we found out, he wasn't the mastermind, and your cards were right, Amy, this case has been all about manipulation. Sir Richard Devonish manipulated both of his daughter's lives just so he could stay in power. If Daisy divorced Geoffrey, he'd not only have been disgraced in society, he'd have lost his seat on the board at the bank, too, but if Daisy died and Rose married Geoffrey, everything would have been fine, so that's what he did,' Daniel concluded. Father muttered a curse word, Beatrice sighed and Charlie smacked his fist into his palm.

'Did Geoffrey kill Daisy or did Sir Richard?' Charlie asked.

'Geoffrey had been adding strychnine to her coffee for months. You all mentioned how ill she'd been looking when I interviewed you at Penelope Carmichael's that night.' Beatrice, Nell and I nodded. 'Sir Richard killed Andrew and Peony out of fear, Andrew because he had suspected Geoffrey killed Daisy so he could marry her sister and get his hands on Daisy's money as well as Rose's. Everyone knew Geoffrey was broke, and Peony because she was having an affair with him; unlike Daisy, Rose wouldn't turn a blind eye to his affairs. Someone had already tipped Rose off about Peony. Her maid confirmed that Peony and Rose had a confrontation over Geoffrey. I'm guessing Rose told her father and he killed her,' Daniel said.

'How did you know I was in trouble in the vestry?' I asked.

'I didn't, not until I heard you scream. I got a message that you wanted to meet me at Daisy's funeral, which I thought was odd at the time but I thought you'd found some information that couldn't wait. I was just about to leave when I got a call saying they'd found the chemist where Geoffrey was buying the strychnine. I didn't really want to arrest him at Daisy's funeral, then yet another call came in. Lady Devonish couldn't find her husband and was getting hysterical, she thought he was going kill himself, so we came in numbers, luckily for you,' Daniel finished. I said a silent prayer for whoever made that call to the police; it saved my life.

'So what happens now?' Charlie asked.

'The police are holding Sir Richard on a charge for attempted murder of Amy. They're looking to add charges of the murders of Andrew and Peony; he's denying it, but Amy's statement should be enough to see them stick. Geoffrey has been arrested for the murder of Daisy; he's also being questioned by the FBI for espionage, swindling and murder,' he replied.

'What about Rose?' Beatrice asked.

'She's been arrested as an accessory to murder; she may not have actually done anything, but she certainly knew what her father and Geoffrey were up to,' Daniel replied.

A couple of months later, and I was sitting in the Lyons Corner House in Knightsbridge waiting for Daniel. It had been a strange time. I hadn't turned a card for weeks. I'd concentrated more on Astrology. Something very bad was coming in the next few months, which made me think of the reading I did concerning stocks and shares, I'd warned both Charlie and Daniel to get out while they could, luckily, Charlie had listened this time and transferred his stocks into gold. He also gave up his job at the brokerage house and went back to what he'd studied at University, Law; he was working his way up at a law firm in Lincoln's Inn. Daniel had called brokers and friends in Wall Street and done the same; he also passed on my warning to his friends. Everyone was coming to terms with events. The Americans were still negotiating to have Geoffrey extradited so he could stand trial in America. Sir Richard's trial would be held in three months' time. I waved as Daniel came through the door. He sat down and ordered coffee.

'How are you feeling now?' he asked. I sighed.

'I'm not having nightmares anymore and I will always have scars on my arms, but I'm better than I was. What about you? When do you go back to America?' I replied. He smiled.

'I'm not. I'm opening a Pinkerton's office here in London. Since it was made known that I'm a Pinkerton Agent, a lot of people have asked me to make discreet enquiries for them about a number of things. I called the head office in America and they gave me their blessing. I've found an office here in Knightsbridge and the doors will be open in a couple of weeks,' he said. I smiled.

'That's wonderful news. I can think of several women who could use your services, the news that Daisy was going to divorce Geoffrey for his infidelity and gambling has opened the floodgates. Charlie says the law firm he works for has had a lot of enquiries about the Matrimonial Causes Act and the Married Women's Property Act as well as a lot of wills being changed. So I think a lot of women will be looking at finding out what their husbands are up to,' I said.

'I'd like you to help me, if you feel up to it; you have access to places I don't, as well as society gossip, and your insight and cards really helped me with Daisy's murder.' I thought carefully: I'd enjoyed playing detective, but being cornered by Sir Richard and Geoffrey had scared the living daylights out of me. Daniel saw me hesitate. 'If you do work for me, I'll give you proper training, in firearms and self-defence as well as a few investigative tricks I learned,' he said. I smiled, relieved at his offer of self-defence.

'My mother learned Jiu Jitsu when she was a Suffragette. I was wondering about learning it after what happened. I think some of her friends might be able to tell me where I can learn,' I replied. Daniel nodded.

'That's a great idea, so are you willing to work with me?' he asked. I held out my hand.

'Yes I am' I replied. He grinned and shook my hand.

'As soon as the doors are open, I'll call you,' he said as he finished his coffee, stood up and left. I blew out a breath: working as a Private Investigator was something I had not seen coming. I pulled out my Tarot cards and shuffled. I laid out four cards: the King of Swords, the High Priestess, the Two of Cups and the Three of Wands. Daniel and I had formed a partnership, decisions and plans have been made, and we've set things in motion that cannot be changed. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

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