No Human Enemy (Suzie Mountford Mysteries)

No Human Enemy (Suzie Mountford Mysteries) by John Gardner Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: No Human Enemy (Suzie Mountford Mysteries) by John Gardner Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Gardner
meal at seven.’
    ‘Then you must go, Reverend Mother, and we’ll wait until you’ve eaten, then go with you to identify the bodies.’
    ‘Speak for yourself,’ Suzie thought, ‘I’m bloody famished,’ and was immediately aware of a twinge of guilt at having thought a swear word, so ingrained was her school training. In the presence of nuns, Suzie was returned to near child-like innocence and discipline.
    ‘I shall do without my evening meal,’ Mother Rachel said. ‘It is a good punishment for my earlier unbridled loss of temper. Sister Eunice must follow her conscience, for…’
    ‘I ate a hearty midday meal at our Farnborough house, Mother,’ the Novice Mistress muttered, and Suzie recalled the passing-out parade at Hendon when the day’s visiting bigwig had told her unit to stand easy and carry on smoking. From the rear Sergeant Mullet, their course sergeant, had murmured, ‘That doesn’t apply to you.’
    ‘Then, shall we now go down and you can identify the bodies?’ Tommy got to his feet again and gave the nod to Emma who opened the door to reveal Ron Worrall and Shirley Cox waiting outside.
    Mother Rachel said something about her convent crawling with police officers and Tommy introduced Ron and Shirley.
    Ron carried a thick cellophane bag containing a knife: blood smearing the inside of the bag. ‘Success?’ Tommy raised his eyebrows.
    ‘It was in the cell where the body was found,’ Ron Worrall told him.
    It was a sharp, nine-inch, straight blade with a bone handle. ‘Possibly a kitchen implement,’ Tommy said and asked if the kitchens could be checked for a missing knife.
    Mother Rachel assured him that it would be a priority, then together they left for the hospital.

CHAPTER SIX
    Suzie and Tommy did not get back to Upper St Martin’s Lane until after eleven that night. Brian drove the two nuns to the hospital, together with Suzie and Emma, leaving Ron and Shirley to talk to a pair of frightened-looking novices in the kitchen, and rake through the knives. Tommy stood watching, not taking part, legs astride and hands clasped behind his back: an invigilator. Nothing was missing and Tommy said they would have to check with ironmongers and places where knives were sold locally.
    The nuns were restrained and calm when they viewed the bodies. Suzie was impressed by their total faith in the two novices now being at peace with God. She had even asked them about their conception of the afterlife. ‘Just “being”,’ Sister Eunice said. ‘Just being in a sea of warmth and love, surrounded by those you have known and loved during your time here.’
    Mother Rachel was more vivid. ‘Oh, I think it will be an eternal funfair,’ she grinned. ‘Without the vulgarity, of course.’ Then she went solemn and said, ‘I shall have to speak to the sisters tonight. Possibly later, before Compline. They’ll need to be told. That’s only fair.’
    ‘Won’t they know already?’ Suzie asked.
    ‘You mean from the other novices who were in their cells when the flying bomb came down?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘Possibly. They do chatter so. Yes, it’ll be round the convent like wildfire.’
    ‘Or holy fire,’ Tommy, almost smirking. Then, ‘But they won’t know about the male? The murdered male.’
    ‘The male in sheep’s clothing? No. No, of course they won’t know. Unless one of them did it and makes a deliberate mistake. That Inspector Hornleigh in Monday Night at Eight seems to think they all make mistakes.’
    For a moment they were again surprised by Mother Rachel’s knowledge of BBC wireless entertainment programmes. Inspector Hornleigh Investigates was a regular feature in the Monday Night at Eight programme in which the fictional detective challenged listeners to spot the error made by the criminal.
    ‘Ah,’ the Reverend Mother explained, ‘we sometimes listen to Monday Night at Eight during our weekly period of general association and leisure which usually falls on a Monday

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