A Market for Murder

A Market for Murder by Rebecca Tope Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: A Market for Murder by Rebecca Tope Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rebecca Tope
the paper or watching television than struggling to make conversation with this woman he barely knew.
    ‘Karen shouldn’t be long now,’ he said. ‘I’ll go and see if I can take over.’
    ‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ she burst out. ‘I know I’m not very good company. It’s just …’
    ‘That’s all right,’ he soothed. ‘Let me go and find Karen.’ He scurried out of the room in relief.
    Karen was just settling down to read to the children. Drew almost snatched the book. ‘Here, I’ll do that,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a visitor. Didn’t you hear the doorbell?’
    ‘Ages ago,’ she said vaguely. ‘Who is it?’
    ‘Your Mrs Beech. Seems in a bit of a state.’
    ‘What does she want?’
    ‘Search me. Something about Peter Grafton, I assume. Go on – she doesn’t seem to want to talk to me.’
    Stephanie and Timmy grumbled a bit when he started the story. ‘We’ve had that page,’ his daughter informed him, leaning over from the upper bunk bed. ‘Read the part where the sword won’t come out.’
    The book was a simplified story about the young King Arthur, which both children unaccountably adored, despite its plodding language. Drew knew it by heart, and disliked it with a passion. But he dutifully read them a full three pages before putting it down and telling them it was time to go to sleep. It still surprised him when they obeyed this command. They would both snuggle into their pillows, Timmy’s thumb would go into his mouth, and Stephanie’s faded pink bear would go underher chin, and they were away, just like that. It seemed miraculous. Dimming the light from the doorway, he whispered, ‘Night, night, then,’ and left them to it.
    Karen had not expected a visit from Geraldine, and was even more taken aback when the woman got up from the chair and rushed to meet her as she entered the room.
    ‘Karen, you have to listen carefully to what I’m going to tell you,’ she said urgently, gripping the younger woman’s shoulders, pushing her face up close. ‘It’s terribly important.’
    ‘Wh-what is it?’ Karen managed, putting her hands up to fend off the onslaught.
    ‘You mustn’t say anything about Mary,’ came the incomprehensible reply.
    Karen simply stared at her.
    ‘You know – Mary Thomas.’
    ‘What about her?’ Karen felt thick-headed and stupid.
    ‘You mustn’t say anything about her being there this morning. You haven’t, have you?’
    ‘Well, yes,’ Karen admitted. ‘I told Den and Drew, actually. But loads of people must have seen her, anyway. It won’t just be me. She was the one who said Peter was dead.’
    ‘Yes, yes, I know that.’ Geraldine backed away, chewing viciously at her own lower lip. ‘But we don’t want it broadcast. I mean – she’sa bit worried about the publicity.’ She paused, breathing heavily. ‘It sounds more sinister than it is. I’m not putting it very well.’ She put a hand to the back of her neck and flipped at some of the wispy curls she found there.
    Karen watched in bemusement. ‘No, you’re not,’ she said bluntly. ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’
    ‘Never mind, then. I expect I’m being very silly. This has all come as an awful shock. Poor Peter.’ She tweaked her hair again, before adding, ‘Oh, and listen – before I forget, we’re having a meeting on Thursday evening, at my place. All the stallholders. That’s one reason I’ve come to see you.’
    Karen tried to clear her head. ‘I expect I can get to the meeting. It’ll be good to see everybody. But I don’t follow all this stuff about Mary. Why does it have to be kept quiet? Quiet from who?’
    ‘The police, mainly. Did you say anything to the police?’
    ‘No.’ Karen wondered why she felt so defensive. ‘No, I didn’t. They didn’t ask who was there. It was a whole crowd of people, after all.’
    ‘Exactly. And probably not many people know Mary by name, anyway.’
    ‘I told them she was at the supermarket, though. I gave them her

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