Murder in Time

Murder in Time by Veronica Heley Read Free Book Online

Book: Murder in Time by Veronica Heley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Veronica Heley
the gatecrashers who might or might not have been dealing in drugs. Not the older generation who’d been parents then, for they knew nothing about what had gone on there. It would be a waste of time to visit Mrs Dawes.
    Ellie shook her head at herself and set off down the hill. She’d neglected Mrs Dawes, and she was ashamed of herself for doing so. Mrs Dawes might not be the most congenial of companions, but she was an old friend and had looked after Ellie in the days when the old lady had ruled the flower arranging team with a pair of sharp scissors and an even sharper tongue. True, Mrs Dawes had been in the habit of using Ellie as something of a slave … Do this, fetch that! But even then, Mrs Dawes had not been quite as spry as she might have been.
    It would be best to take the bus. Ellie smiled, wondering if Mrs Dawes still dyed her hair and wore dangling earrings.
    Two bus stops later, Ellie got off at The Cedars. She rang the bell and announced herself as a visitor to Mrs Dawes.
    â€˜What?’ Mrs Dawes was in a chair with a high back and arms, seated at a table. ‘Who?’ A Zimmer frame was at her side. Her eyes were not as sharp as before, her hair was now silver, and she no longer wore her dangling earrings. ‘Ellie Quicke, is it? Well, stranger: what brings you here? Your conscience smiting you? I didn’t think you of all people, and married to a vicar, would have neglected your old friends. You’re all the same, marry into money and forget your old friends.’
    Ellie hid her distress at seeing how her old friend had deteriorated and stooped to kiss her cheek. ‘I know. I have been meaning to. But moving away, even only half a mile … I dropped in to see you at your old house, to bring you a little something, a box of chocolates, I hope you like them. It was only then I heard you’d come here. Geraldine found this photo album, too, which she says must have dropped behind a cupboard.’
    â€˜Chocolates. Soft centres, I hope. Can’t do with nuts at my age. They get under my plate. The photo album? Geraldine should have brought it round herself. Did she say when she was coming?’
    â€˜Not this weekend. A family do of some kind.’
    Mrs Dawes’ eyes strayed. ‘It’ll be lunch in a minute. A good cook, most days. It saves my legs, them cooking for me. Proper printed menus they give us, and a choice, too, and they understand about teeth not being up to much nowadays. They even have a dentist visit here. And a chiropodist. But the telly’s on all the time, unless you ask to be in the garden room where it’s quiet and …’
    â€˜Splendid,’ said Ellie, resigning herself to hearing a litany of complaints.
    â€˜So what finally brought you here, eh?’
    â€˜A query from a friend. She’s just moved into the area, wanted to know if she should join Dr McKenzie’s old practice.’
    Silence. Mrs Dawes worked her jaws. ‘Bad business, that. A doctor from that practice comes to see us here. One of them, anyway. One’s as bad as the other.’
    â€˜I hoped the son would have gone into the practice.’
    â€˜No backbone. Gave up at the first hurdle. Went in for something else, can’t remember what. The church, was it? My memory’s not what it was.’
    Ellie let a laugh escape her. ‘You mean he became a minister? Like my husband?’
    â€˜Who?’ A stare. ‘Oh, yes. I forgot. You married again, didn’t you? Is it working out all right?’
    Alzheimer’s, here we come. ‘Very much so,’ said Ellie. ‘So, what about the McKenzie lad? He wasn’t stupid, was he? I thought he was a bright lad, went to university?’
    â€˜Tried something else. Not the church. Sometimes I get confused.’
    â€˜Never mind, dear,’ said Ellie.
    â€˜But I do mind.’ Tears welled in old eyes. ‘It comes and goes. Will you come to see me again? On a good

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