The Gals
Another Retro Murder Mystery
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Who Done It?

Murder on a Train!

A Sheet of White

A Murder Mystery in Eight Installments
Adapted as a Dinner Drama by Marc Shepanek
To commemorate:
The Birthdays of Catherine Walvoord, Sandra Narva, Karen Kogok and Tony Nesky
The Wedding of Connie Lausten and David Horne
The action takes place aboard a train heading from London to Scotland

Installment 1

A Sheet of White

He was wealthy and opinionated. An idealist, a criminal and hated by almost everyone he came in contact with. One thing he wasn't though, was dumb, oh no. He was smart enough to make the first condition of his will be that none of his estate be distributed until his murder was solved. And yes, he knew someone was going to take him out, he also made sure there would be plenty of people looking for his killer.

That's why you're getting an invitation to for Saturday night March 15th. 6PM sharp.

You were there the night he was murdered. You might have seen something, heard something, maybe done something? And then there is the will, all of you hope to have something to gain.

We are going to reconstruct that fateful evening, and hopefully solve the murder. ..

"Seasonable weather for the time of year", remarked David, in a voice succulent as the breast of a young goose.

David Horne
"Dealer" David Horne, catching a few zzz's

Frank, sitting next to him in the railway compartment, glanced out at the snow, swarming and swirling past the windowpane. He replied "You really like it? Oh well, it's an ill blizzard that blows nobody no good. Depends what you mean by seasonable though. Statistics for the last 50 years show -----"

"Name of Joad, sir?" asked David, treating the compartment to a wholesale wink.

"No, Morra, Frank Morra." Said the man with the two toned beard and fine suit, who might have been a mafia don with his long, steady, meditative scrutiny which he now bent upon each of his fellow travelers in turn.

What he saw was not always rewarding. On the opposite seat, from left to right was a hot number, who had taken David's wink to be entirely for her and contrived to wriggle her tight skirt farther up her knee; a dessicated, sandy, lawyerish little man who fumed fussed like an angry kettle, consulting every five minutes his gold watch, then shaking out his Times with the crackle of a legal parchment; a Flash Card dressed up to the nines of spivdom, with the bold yet uneasy stare of a babyfaced delinquent.

"Mine's David. General Dealer. At your service. Well, we'll be across the border in an hour and half and then hey for the bluebells of bonny Scotland!"

"Bluebells in January? You're hopeful, " remarked the tight skirt.

"Are you Scots, master?" asked the Comfortable Body on Frank's left.

"English outside" David said, patted the front of his gray suit, slid a flask from its hip pocket, took a swing "and scotch within." His loud laugh or the blizzard shook the railway carriage. The tight skirt giggled.

"You'll need that if we run into a draft and get stuck for the night," said Frank.

"Name of Jonah, sir?' the compartment reverberated again.

"I do not apprehend such an eventuality: said the Fusspot. "the stationmaster at Lancaster assured me that the train would get through. We are scandalously late already, though" Once again the gold watch was consulted.

"It's a curious thing," remarked Frank meditatively, "the way we imagine we can make Time amble withal or gallop withal just by keeping an eye on the hands of a watch. You travel frequently by this train Mr. -----"

"Kilmington,. Arthur J. Kilmington. No, I've only used it once before." The fusspot spoke in a dry French accent.

"Ah yes, that would have been on the 17th of last month. I remember seeing you on it"

"No, sir, you are mistaken. It was the 20th." Mr. Kilmington's thin mouth snapped tight again, like a rubber band round a sheaf of legal documents.

"The 20th? Indeed? That was the day of the train robbery. A big haul they got, it seems. Off this very train. It was carrying some of the extra Christmas mail. Bags just disappeared, somewhere between Lancaster and Carlisle"

"Well" sighed the Comfortable Body, "I don't know what we are coming to, really, nowadays."

The atmosphere in the compartment had grown suddenly tense. Only the Baby face, idly examining his fingernails seemed unaffected by it.

"Hey, there's some dolls in the next compartment, entertaining some soldier boy, lets see if they wanna get some eats." said babyface.

Installment 2

"Yes, by all means" said the comfortable body, and rose to get the door. Babyface beat him to it. The two men knocked on the door of the next compartment and saw the ladies all being regaled by the young soldier in the next compartment. A flier actually, with the RAF, surrounded by more female pulchritude than you could hope for anywhere but the movies. Before babyface could talk, the comfortable body said, "Ladies and Gentleman, my compartment was about to head to the dining car and wanted to know if we could ask for the pleasure of your company?"

The young officer looked around questioningly at the ladies and seeing no objection said, "certainly, it would be a pleasure. May I ask who we will be having the pleasure of dining with this evening?"

"Steve Terry, at your service. And this gentleman is Mark Walvoord. Perhaps we could do introductions in the dining car?

"Excellent" said the young flier.

Marc and Catherine
"Babyface" Mark Walvoord
and the mysterious Lady in Red

The train was slow, and there was a sway to the cars as they walked down the corridor to the dining car, or perhaps it was the way the ladies walked. Babyface had lost his sneer and seemed completely mesmerized by one of the young flier's companions, a woman in a red coat. But all the ladies were lookers.

When they got to the dining car, they could see it had class. Linen, crystal, silver. Before any of the others could voice a concern Frank called out that dinner was his treat. A look of relief passed over several faces and the look of a man who had hit the jackpot flitted over David's face. The tight skirt giggled.

The gentlemen held the seats for the ladies and it was time for introductions. Frank Morra, in an elegant suit, was at the head of the table.

"Let me begin" said Frank. "My name is Frank Morra. I worked for Harold Ickes."

To his right, in a stunning blazer, slacks and heels, Woolworth's executive, Sandra Narva, introduced herself, "Sandra Narva, charmed."

Woolworth’s, Sandra Narva
Dime Store Doxy??

To her right, was the Flash Card. "My name is Mark Walvoord" he said with the slightest trace of an undefinable accent, "I'm out of work." His eyes, looking kitty corner across the table. The woman had slipped off the red coat, and was wearing an elegant tan neutral suit and cream blouse. The slightest flush of pink rose in her cheeks. "I thought you might be the bluebird of happiness" she said, in reference to the jaunty zoot suit Mark was wearing. And Mark stammered as a matching flush rose up his cheek.

Catherine Walvoor
The Lady in Red, Catherine Walvoord

To his right, in a brown, cocoa and taupe paisley skirt with a cocoa suit jacket (red cross pin in the lapel) matched with brown wedge shoes accented with tan saddle stitching, Karyn Jarboe, introduced herself with a smile.

David was next. Dark suit. Striped shirt. Gambler's tie. Sly smile. "Horne, David Horne, general dealer, anything's possible."

The tight skirt had sat down next to David, her fur shawl across her shoulders, "Connie, Connie Lausten and I would like to work on some of the new dam projects" She smiled up at Frank and David and dropped her bombshell, "I'm an engineer."

Connie and David
"Tight Skirt" Connie Lausten
"Dealer" David Horne

David is a fast shuffle and a fast mover!

The fusspot was at the other end of the table.

"Catherine Weber" said the lady to the right of the fusspot, with a distinct French accent. "I am pleased to meet all of you. America is a beautiful country" she said, smiling into Mark's eyes.

Karen Kogok
Karen Kogok
The Librarian with Dewey [Decimal] Eyes

To his right, Karen Kogok introduced herself. She was wearing a blue dress, triple strand of pearls at the throat, a pearl bracelet and black purse and pumps. "I work in the Library of Congress, my name is Karen Kogok, and I buy war bonds!" She smiled at the man on her right.

The man in uniform smiled back. "Nesky, Tony Nesky, I fly for the RAF, but I'm from Warsaw. I was an auto mechanic before the war."

Tony Nesky, RAF Flyer
Mr. Goodwrenzc??

"My name is Engle, Ellen Engle" said the lady to his right. "I write crossword puzzles for the New York Times. And I buy war bonds too." She smiled.

Ellen Engle, Crossword Maven

"Well", said Frank, "Now that we all know each other, lets see what's on the menu, I'm starving!" Everyone looked at their menus and conversation was lively during the meal.

Inspector Frank "Checks" Out the Cake

"We are coming to the scene of the crime" said David expansively. "A gambler's share." The train, almost deadbeat, was panting up the last pitch toward Shap Summit.

"I didn't see anything in the papers about where the robbery took place," Frank murmured. "You read all the papers?" he said more loudly to David.

Conversation around the table hushed.

"Yes", David said.

"Which paper did you see it in?" pursued Frank.

"I didn't" David said. "But I can use my loaf. Stands to reason ya know. I mean, you wanna tip a mailbag outta a train, right? So's its gotta be movin real slow or the bag's gonna bust - get me? And da only place where da train slows up every time, only place it always crawls between Lancaster an Carlisle, Shaps Bank. And it goes slowest on the last bit of da bank, just about where we is now. Follow?"

The table sat in rapt attention. Frank nodded.

"Ok. But you'd be balmy to tip in off just anywhere on this Godforsaken moorland" David went on. "Now, if you'd traveled this line as much as I have, you'd a noticed it goes over a bridge bout a mile short of the summit. Under the bridge runs a road; a nice lonely road, see? The only road hererabouts that touches the railway. You tip out the bag there see. Your chums collect it, run down the embankment, dump it in the car you've got waiting by the bridge and Bob's your Uncle!"

"You should be a detective" Connie said to the appreciative murmurs of the table.

David inserted his thumbs in his braces, looking gratified. "Maybe I shouda" he said. "And maybe I'm just an RG who knows how to use his loaf."

"The things people do." Karen said shaking her head.

"There is so much dishonesty these days" exclaimed Steve.

The fusspot, Mr. Kilmington muttered that the system of surveillance on railways was disgraceful, and the Guard of the train should have been severely censured.

"The Guard can't be everywhere" said the young pilot. "He has to patrol the whole train from time to time and -."

"Let him do so, then, and not lock himself up in his van and go to sleep," interrupted Mr. Kilmington, somewhat unreasonably.

"Are you speaking from personal experience?' asked Catherine.

The flash card lifted up his voice and said, "Hey! If the gang was gonna tip out the mailbags by the bridge, like this guys says - what I mean is, how could they rely on the Guard being out of his van just at that point?" He hitched up his bright blue trousers and smiled at Catherine.

"You've got something there young man" said David. What I reckon is, there must have been two accomplices on the train - one to get the Guard out of his van on some pretext, and the other to chuck off the bags. He turned to Mr. Kilmington "You were saying something about the guard locking himself up in the van. Now if I was of a suspicious turn of mind, if I was little old Sherlock H. in person" David bestowed another prodigious wink upon the people at the table. "I'd begin to wonder about you sir. You were traveling on this train when the robbery took place. You went to the Guard's van. You say you found him asleep. You didn't by any chance call the Guard out, so as to -?"

"Your suggestion is outrageous! I advise you to be very careful sir, very careful indeed," enunciated Mr. Kilmington, his precise voice crackling with indignation, "or you may find you have said something actionable. I would have you know that, when I -"

But what he would have them know was to remain undivulged.

Installment 3

The train which for some little time had been running cautiously down from Shap Summit, suddenly began to chatter and shudder, like a fever patient in high delirium, as the vacuum brakes were applied: then with the dull impact of a fist driving into a feather pillow, the engine buried itself in a drift which had gatherer just beyond the bend of a deep cutting.

It was just five minutes past 7.

"What's this? Asked Sandra somewhat shrilly, as a hysterical outburst of huffing and puffing came from the engine.

"Run into a drift, I bet" said Tony.

"He's trying to back us out. No good. The wheels are slipping every time. What a lark! Mark had his head out the window on the lee side of the train. "Coom, to Coomberland for your winter sports!"

"Guard, Guard, I say!" called my Kilmington. But the guard, after one glance into the compartment, hurried on his way up the corridor. "Really! I shall report that man!!"

Frank Morra, going out into the corridor, opened a window. Though the coach was theoretically sheltered by the cutting on this windward side, the blizzard stunned his face like a knuckleduster of ice. He joined the others who had combed down and were stumbling towards the engine. As they reached it, the Guard emerged from the cab: no cause of alarm he said; if they couldn't get through, there'd be a relief engine sent down to take the train back to Penrith; he was just off to set fog signals on the line behind them.

The drive renewed his attempts to back the train out. But what with its weight, the up-gradient in its rear, the icy rails, and the clinging grip of the drift on the engine, he could not budge her.

"We'll have to dig out the bogeys, mate" he said to his fireman. "Fetch them shovels from the forward van. It'll keep the perishers from freezing, anyhow." He jerked his finger at the know of passengers who, lit up by the glare of the furnace, were capering and beating their arms like savages amid the swirling snow-wreaths.

Steve Terry now established himself as the life of the party, referring to the grimy-faced fireman as "snowball", adjuring his companions to "Dig for Victory", affecting to spy the approach of a herd of Samoyeds pulling a sled with a keg of brandy. But after 10 minutes of hard digging, when the leading wheels of the bogey were cleared, it could be seen that they had been derailed by their impact.

"That's torn in Charlie. You'll have to walk back to the box and get em to telephone to telephone through for help," said the driver.

"If the wires aren't down already" replied the fireman lugubriously. "Its above a mile to that box, and uphill. Who d'you think I am . Captain Scott?!?"

"You'll have the wind behind you, mate, anyhow. So long."

A buzz of dismay rose from the passengers at this. One or two, who began to get querulous, were silenced by the driver's offering to take them anywhere they liked if they would just lift his engine back onto the metals first. Frank asked for the driver's permission to go up into the cab for a few minutes to dry his coat.

"You're welcome." The driver snorted: "Would you believe it? Must get to Glasgow tonight. Damn ridiculous! Now Bert - that's my Guard - Its different for him; he's entitled to fret a bit. Missus been very poorly. Thought she was going to peg out before Christmas; but he got the best surgeon in Glasgow to operate on her, and she's mending now, he says. He reckons to look in every night at the nursing home, when he goes off work."

Frank chatted with the man for five minutes. Then the Guard returned, blowing upon his hands, - a smallish, leathery-faced chap, with an anxious look in his eye.

"Well not get through tonight, Bert. Charlie told you?"

"Aye. I don't doubt but some of the passengers are going to create a rumpus," said the Guard dolefully.

Frank went back to the dining car. It had a sinister hint of chilliness to it. He wondered how long the steam heating would last; depended upon the amount of water in the engine boiler, he supposed. Among the wide variety of fates he had imagined for himself, freezing to death in an English train was not included.

Installment 4

Arthur J. Kilmington fidgeted more than ever. When the Guard came along the corridor, he asked him where the nearest village was, saying he must get a telephone call through to Edinborough - most urgent appointment - must let his client know if he was going to miss it. The Guard said there was a village two miles to the northeast; you could see the lights from the top of the cutting; but he warned Mr. Kilmington against trying to get there in the teeth of this blizzard - better wait for the relief engine, which should reach them before 9 PM.

Silence fell upon the compartment for a while; the incredulous silence of civilized people who find themselves in the predicament of castaways. Ellen Engle then proposed that conversation would be a better backdrop for the challenge and suggested that people generate some warmth by discussion and generating solutions.

The talk reverted to the train robbery and the criminals who had perpetrated it. "They must be very clever", said Karen.

"No criminals are clever, ma'am," said Frank quietly. His ruminative eye passed, without haste, down the room. "Neither the small fry or the big operator. They're pretty well sub-human, the whole lot of em. A dash of cunning, a thick streak of cowardice, and the rest is made up of stupidity and boastfulness. They're too stupid for anything but crime, and so riddled with inferiority that they always give themselves away, sooner or later, by boasting about their crimes. They like to think of themselves as the wide boys, but they're as narrow as starved eels - why they haven't even the wits to alter their professional methods: that's how the police pick 'em up"

"I entirely agree sir," Mr. Kilmingotn snapped. "In my profession I see a good deal of the criminal classes. And I flatter myself none of them has ever got the better of me. They're transparent sir, transparent!"

"No doubt you are right gentlemen", said David comfortably, "But the police haven't picked up the chaps who did this train robbery yet."

"They will. And the Countess of Axminister's emerald bracelet. Bet the gang didn't reckon to find that in the mailbag. Worth all of $50,000. David's mouth fell open. Babyface whistled. Overcome by the stuffiness of the carriage or the thought of $50,000 worth of emeralds, the waitress gave a moan and fainted all over Mr. Kilmington's lap.

Marc Shepanek
Marc Shepanek, your Waiter

"Really, upon my soul! My dear young lady!!" exclaimed the worthy. There was a flurry of solicitude shared by all except the waiter, who, after stooping over her a moment, his back to the others, said "Here you, stop pawing this young lady and let her stretch out! Yes, I am talking to you Mr. Kilmington!"

"How dare you! This is an outrage!!" The little man stood up so abruptly that the girl almost rolled onto the floor. "I was merely trying to-"

"Yes, we know your sort. Nasty old men. Now keep your hands off her, I am telling you."

In the shocked silence that ensued, Kilminton gobbled speechlessly at the waiter for a moment. Then seeing the razors in the mans cold-steel eye, snatched his black hat and briefcase from the rack and bolted out of the compartment. Frank Morra made as if to stop him, then changed his mind. Karyn followed the little man out, returning presently, her hanker-chief soaked in water to dab the waitresses forehead. The time was 8:30.

When things were restored to normal, the waiter turned to Frank "You were saying this necklace of, who was it? The Countess of Axminster, its worth $50,000 Fancy sending a think of that value through the post! Are you sure of it?"

"The value" Oh yes." Frank spoke out of the corner of his mouth in the matter of a stupid man imparting a confidence. "Don't let this go any further. But I've a friend who works in the Cosmopolitan - the company where its insured. That's another thing that didn't get into the papers. Silly woman. She wanted it for some big family do in Scotland at Christmas, forgot to bring it with her and wrote home for it to be posted in a registered mail packet!

"$50,000, well stone me down." Said the waiter. "Yes, some people just do not know when they get lucky, do they?" said Frank.

The waiter's face bobbled like a bowl of lard. The waitress shook her head and stood up. The waiter then said he should get back and headed toward the kitchen.

At the window the snowflakes danced in their tens now, not their thousands The time was 8:55. Shortly after, the waitress staggered out and ten minutes later Tony remarked that it was no longer snowing at all. Neither the waiter or waitress had returned by 9:30 so Frank thought he would ask about the relief engine. The Guard was not in his van, adjoining the dining car toward the rear of the train, so he turned back, walked up the corridor to the gront coach, clambered out, and hailed the engine cab.

"She must have been held up" said the Guard, leaning out Charlie here got through from the box, and they promised her by nine o clock. But it'll not be long now."

'Have you seen anything of a Mr. Kilmington? Small sandy chap, black hat, and overcoat, blue suit, was in my compartment and at dinner with us. I've walked right up the train and he does not seem to be on it."

The Guard pondered a moment. "A wee fellow: Him that asked me about telephoning form the village? Aye, he's awa then."

"He did set off to walk then?" asked Frank.

"Nae doot he did, if he's no on the train. He spoke to me again jist on nine, it'd be - and said he was awa if the relief didna turn up in five minutes."

"You've not seen him since?"

"No Sir. I've been talking to me mates here this haf hour, ever syne the wee fellow spoke to me."

Installment 5

Frank walked thoughtfully back down the permanent way. When he had passed out of the glare shed by the carriage lights on the snow, he switched on his electric torch. Just beyond the last coach the eastern wall of the cutting sloped sharply down and merged into moorland level with the track. Although the snow had stopped altogether, an icy wind from the northeast still blew raking and numbing his face.

He was startled to see Ellen Engle standing next to him.

Twenty yards further on his torch lit up a track, already half filled with snow, made by several pairs of feet, pointing out over the moor, towards the north east. Several passengers it seemed had set off for the village, whose lights twinkled in the far off distance. He heard the scrunching of snow and turned off his torch and it was as if a black sack had been put over his head, he could see nothing. The steps came nearer.

Frank switched on the light pinpointing the unmistakable figure of

David and Ellen
Ellen and David were no strangers...

The waiter. The man gave a muffled oath. "What the devil! Here, what's the idea keeping me waiting half an hour in that blasted -?"

"Have you seen Kilmington?"

"Oh, its you. No, I've not. I'm sure he is on the train. I was just helping to look for the relief by walking up the line."

Presently Frank moved too, but towards the village. The circle of his torch wavered and bounced on the deep snow. The wind, right in his teeth, was killing. No wonder, he thought, as after a few hundred yards he approached the end of the trail. Those passengers turned back. Then he realized they had not all turned back. What he had supposed to be a hummock of snow bearing a crude resemblance to a recumbent human figure, he now saw to be a human figure covered with snow. He scraped some off it, turned it gently over on its back.

Installment 6

Arthur J. Kilmington would fuss no more in this world. His briefcase was buried beneath him, his black hat was lying where it had fallen, lightly covered in snow, near the head. There seemed to Frank's cursory examination, no mark of violence upon him. But the eyeballs stared, the face suffused with a pinkish-blue color. So men look who have been strangled, thought Frank, or asphyxiated. Quickly he knelt down again, shining his torch on the dead face. A qualm of horror shook him. Mr. Kilmington's nostrils were caked thick with snow, which had frozen solid I them and snow had been rammed tight into his mouth too.

And here he would have stayed reflected Frank, in this desolate spot, for days or weeks, perhaps if the snow lay or deepened. And when the thaw came at last (as it did that year in fact, only after two months), the snow would thaw out from his mouth and nostrils too and there would be no vestige of murder left-only the corpse of an impatient man who had tried to walk to the village in a blizzard and died for his pains. It might even be that no one would ask how such a precise, pernickety chap had ventured the two mile walk in these shoes and without a torch to light his way through the pitchy blackness; for Frank going through the man's pockets found the following articles - a pocketbook, fountain pen, handkerchief, gold lighter, two letters and some loose change.

Karen and Tony
Tony and Karen cut a rug while Frank is freezing in the snow.

Frank started to return for help. But only twenty yards back he noticed another pair of footprints, leading off the main track to the left. This trail seemed a fresher one-the snow lay less thickly in the indentations-and seemed to have been made by one pair of feet only. He followed it up, walking beside it. Whoever made this track had walked in a slight right handed curve back to the railway line, joined it about one hundred and fifty yards up the line from where the main trail came out. At this point there was a platelayers shack. Finding the door unlocked, Frank entered. There was nothing insided by a coke brazier, stone cold, and a smell of cigar smoke

Half an hour later, Frank returned to the dining car. In the meanwhile, he, Tony, and Steve helped the train crew to carry back the body of Kilmington, which was not locked in the Guard's van. He had also made an interesting discovery as to Kilmington's movements. It was to be presumed that, after the altercation with the Waiter and the brief conversation already reported by the Guard, the man must have gone to sit in another compartment. The last coach, to the rear of the Guard's van, was a first class one, almost empty. But in one of its compartments, Frank found a passenger asleep. He woke a lady up and asked if she had seen Kilmington earlier.

No, the lady said that a smallish man in a dark overcoat and blue trowsers had come to the door and had a word with her. And no, she had not noticed his face, she had been sleepy and the fellow had politely taken off his Homburg hat to address her and it had covered much of his face in shadow and screened off the rest. The fellow had not come into her apartment, just stood outside, inquired the time (she had looked at her watch and told him it was 8:50), then the fellow had said that, if the relief didn't arrive by nine, he intended to walk to the nearest village.

Frank walked along to the engine cab. The Guard, whom he fount there told him he'd gone up the track about 8:45 to meet the fireman on his way back from the signal box. He had gone as far as the place where he'd put down his for signals earlier; here just before nine, he and the fireman met, as the latter corroborated. Returning to the train the Guard had climbed into the last coach, noticed Kilmington sitting alone in a first class apartment (it was then that the man announced to the Guard his intention of walking if the relief engine had not arrived within five minutes). The Guard then got out of the train again, and proceeded down the track to talk to his mates in the engine cab.

This evidence would seem to point incontrovertibly at Kilmington's having been murdered shortly after 9 PM, Frank reflected as he went back to the dining car. Everyone was there.

"Well, did you find him?" asked David

"Kilmington? Oh yes, I found him. In the snow over there. He was dead."

The waitress gasped and seemed about to faint again. The Waiter's haughty sneer was wiped off his face as if by magic and turned a sickly white. "The poor man" said Karyn.

"What happened then," asked Karen "He tried to walk it then? Died of exposure?"

"No", said Frank flatly, "he was murdered."

This time the waitress did scream and faint. And like an echo, a hooting shriek came from far up the line: the relief engine was approaching at last.

Installment 7

"The police will be awaiting us back at Penrith, so we'd better all have our stories ready." Frank turned to the waiter. "You for instance, sir. Where were you between 8:55, when you left the dining care and 9:35 when I met you returning? Are you sure you did not see Kilmington?"

The waiter asked Frank who he thought he was.

"I am really an inquiry agent employed by Cosmopolitan Insurance Company. Before that, I was a Detective Inspector in the CID. Here is my card."

The man hardly glanced at the card. "That's all right. Only wanted to make sure. You can't trust anyone these days. He had taken on the ingratiating, oleaginous heartiness of a small town businessman trying to clinch a deal with a bigger one. Just doing my job. And stretching my legs. Didn't see a soul."

"Who were you expecting to see? Didn't you see someone in the platelayers shack along there, and smoke a cigar while you were waiting? Who did you mistake me for when you said, "What's the idea of keeping me waiting half an hour?"

"Here, draw it mild Sir." Said the waiter sounding injured. "I certainly looked in at the huts: smoked a cigar a bit. Then I toddled back to the train, and met up with your good self on the way. I didn't make no appointment to meet-"

"Oh! Well I must say," interrupted Karyn. And told Frank that upon leaving the lavatory shortly after the waiter she'd overheard voices on the track below the lavatory window. "I recognized this gentleman's voice. He said something like "You're going to help us again, chum, so you'd better get used to it. You're in it up to the neck-can't back out on us now" And another voice, sort of mumbling, might have been Mr. Kilmington's I dunno-sounded like him anyway - said "Ah right. Meet you in five minutes: platelayers' hut a few hundred yards up the line. Talk it over.""

"And what did you do then young lady" asked Frank.

"I met a gentlemen friend, farther up the train and sat with him for bit."

"Is that so" remarked the waiter menacingly. "Why you four flushing little---!"

"Shut up!' commanded Frank.

"Honest I did," said the Karyn, ignoring the waiter. I'll introduce you to him if you like. He'll tell you I was with him for, oh, half an hour or more."

"And what about the waiter?"

"I am not talking" said the man.

"He is not talking" said Frank to Karyn.

"I've been in the compartment ever since..."

"Ever since?" asked Frank

"Since I went to go get a hankerchief wet with smelling salts for the waitress when she fainted. Mr. Kilmington went just before me you'll mind. I saw him go through the guard's van."

"Did you hear him say anything about walking to the village?"

"No sir. He just hurried into the van, and then there was some havers about its no being locked this time and how he was going to report the Guard for it."

"I see" said Frank. And you have been sitting here with Mark and the others ever since?"

"Yes, all except the waiter, and you know he left for about 10 minutes after the incident with the fainting and all".

"What did you go out for?" Frank asked the waiter.

"Just to get some air" the waiter said.

"You weren't taking Mr. Kilmington's gold watch were you?" Frank asked with a steely stare as the waiters insolent expression visibly crumbled.

"I don't k now what you mean," he tried to bluster. "You can't do this to me!"

"I mean a man has been murdered and when the police search you, they will find his gold watch in your possession. Won't look too healthy for you my friend."

"Now give us a chance! It was only a joke see?" The wretched man was whining now. "He got me so riled - so stuck up and high and mighty and all. So I thought I would show em. I'd have given it back, straight I would only I couldn't find him afterwards. It was a joke I tell you. The waitress lifted the ticker!"

"You rotter!" screeched the girl.

"Shut up, both of you. You can explain your joke to the Penrith police. Let's hope they don't die laughing." Frank said.

Installment 8

"Of course you are not the only ones who had an issue with Mr. Kilmington", is'nt that right David? One by one Mr. Kilmington was shutting down your under the table operations. Its hard to be a card shark when someone is pulling all your teeth? He wouldn't be the first guy you've rubbed out, but he could be the first one we can pin on you!"

"And you Connie, haven't worked for years despite that engineering degree. And you knew why, Mr. Kilmington had blackballed you on your first job, because you turned down his advances. A scalding, cup, that might be cooled down considerably by icing Mr. Kilmington.!"

"Woolworth's was negotiating with Mr. Kilmington over a scandal, Sandra. Mr. Woolworth was willing to do anything so that his wife would not find out about the affair, wasn't he Sandra?"

"Karyn, Mr. Kilmington was engaged in delaying tactics to keep much needed medical supplies from the French resistance. Something you found untenable as a nurse, as did you Catherine. And you Mark. Since you are all members of the French underground resistance!"

"As a matter of fact, Mr. Kilmington was not much of a supporter of the war effort it seems. He openly spoke against all aspects of the war from the efforts of the Polish underground to the early response of the RAF. An obstacle to the war effort you so passionately support Tony. A lot of lives at additional risk, that could be spared if Mr. Kilmington were out of the way!"

"You had an unhappy first marriage to him, didn't you Karen. And you had to pay him alimony, despite the fact that he was the one having the affairs!"

"And Ellen, he did not approve of your dating his son, did he? To the point of ruining your father! Perhaps you thought it would be good to even the scoreŠ"

"So, I have some thinking to do" said Frank. But we will find the guilty party!


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