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Why, do you think, Mrs Parker was murdered?




2 Which of the twin brothers was the murderer and which of them was killed in the accident, to your mind?

3 Did the accident happen by chance? If not, who could push the twin brother on to the road?

4 Would the twin brother have a revenge on Mrs Salmon, in your opinion?

5 If you were Mrs Salmon, could you sleep at night?

 

k Imagine you are counsel for defence. Write down the closing speech you would make at this trial.

 

Not. Tonight. Danger

 

after Brett Halliday

 

The telephone in Michael Shayne's Miami apartment began ringing shortly after eleven o'clock.

A man's voice answered Shayne. It sounded agitated.

– Is that Michael Shayne, the detective? Thank heavens I've reached you. This is Mr Schoolman speaking. Harold Schoolman.

Shayne said,

– I don't know you, do I?

– No. I'm staying at the Splendide Hotel on Miami Beach. Something terrible has happened, Mr Shayne. I must consult you.

Shayne glanced at his watch.

- Can't it wait until morning?

– It definitely cannot. You see I... I hardly know how to say this. I... I've done a horrible thing. I'm... a thief.

- Wait! Splendide Hotel? Are you telling me you stole the Duchess Montalba's diamond this afternoon?

– Good heavens, no! I wasn't even present at the concert when it happened, though my wife was. This is another matter. I'm not far from your place at the moment. If I could come up and explain...?

– Come along, said Shayne.

Harold Schoolman arrived a short time later. He was a slight, middle-aged man with a bulging forehead and rimless glasses. He gave Shayne a limp hand.

- This is the most upsetting experience of my life. I find myself a criminal, Mr Shayne. I want you to find the owner of the stolen property and return it without publicity.

– Sit down and tell me about it.

Schoolman sat on the edge of a chair, reached in a side pocket and brought into view a small, beautiful evening bag with gold clasp and a thin gold chain.

– I bought this for my present wife last Chritsmas. It cost three hundred dollars, and you see there's a chain to go over the wrist for safety while it is being carried.

Shayne nodded.

– But my wife is very careless. She refused to use the chain, though I often warned her how easily a thief might snatch it from under her arm. So I decided to teach her a lesson. We were leaving the hotel at nine o'clock for a party here in Miami. It was raining hard and there was a crowd under the marquee waiting for taxis.

I left Alice to give the doorman a dollar bill, and when I pushed back to her I saw the bag just begging to be stolen. So I took it. She had tucked the bag in the crook of her white fur sleeve, and she was not even aware it had been taken. At that moment some men shouldered their way between us and I lost sight of Alice. Then the doorman waved that he had a taxi and we both pushed forward through the crowd and drove away with the bag in my pocket.

Then I put my plan into effect. I said, I have nothing smaller than a ten for the driver. Do you have a dollar bill in your bag, my dear?' Mr Shayne, you will never guess what happened.

Shayne grinned at him,

– Your wife took a bill from her bag. You put your hand into your pocket and realized you had become a thief. In the crowd you mistook another woman for your wife, one wearing a similar white fur coat and with a similar evening bag. So you snatched the wrong one. Is there some identification inside?

– There was nothing inside the bag.

– Nothing? Shayne took the bag in his hands. It was empty except for a small torn piece of paper, with a margin on the right and printed lines on the left.

– Only that, said Schoolman. A piece torn from a galley proof, with proofreader's corrections on the margin.

– Galley proof? How do you know?

– I'm a publisher in Boston, you see, Schoolman explained. He pointed to the pencilled marks.

– Quotation marks, you see. The next is the symbol for more space. Then a single quote and a dollar sign that have evidently been omitted.

Shayne nodded.

– Three of the printed words are underlined. Not. Tonight. And danger. Looks like a message.

– A message? But what can it mean?

– That's what we'll have to find out. I'd like to talk to your wife, said Shayne.

– Yes. Of course. Schoolman looked at his watch. I must be getting back to the hotel. I expect a long distance call at twelve fifteen from my daughter in Boston – from my first marriage. I left Alice at the party while I came here, and she promised to return to the hotel at twelve thirty. Would you like to see her?

– Very much. Shayne replaced the scrap of paper in the bag and rose. I'll drive you to the hotel, he said.

It was a little after midnight when they reached the Splendide Hotel. As they entered the lobby, Shayne said,

– Suppose you go up to wait for your call. I'll nose downstairs a while and join you in half an hour.

– Very well. Our room is 610.

Shayne crossed the lobby to a nail-studded leather door. He knocked and entered.

A pudgy man, seated at a desk, looked up at him with a smile.

– Hi, Mike. What brings you here?

– Hello, Branson. Had any robberies lately?

– Do you mean that crazy Spanish Duchess and her quarter-million-dollar diamond? asked the security officer.

– Yes. How did it happened?

– It was a benefit concert in the main ballroom. A hundred or more guests were present. It happened at the punch bowl. A dame stumbled into the Duchess just as she was drinking a cup of punch. It spilled on her and there was a lot of confusion. A minute later she screamed that her medallion was missing. There were four persons close enough to steal it. A Mrs Davis from Atlanta, who stumbled into her... insisted that she was pushed. A Myrtle Hodson, unemployed secretary. Lucille Lassale, the movie actress, and... John Tarleton, who registered here yesterday.

– Gentleman John? Good Lord, Branson!

– Gentleman John Tarleton. With a record of arrests in every major world capital for suspested jewel thefts. Sure he got it. Right under my nose. I recognized him at once and grabbed him. We also grabbed the three women and they agreed to be searched, after we explained that John is suspected of always working with a woman confederate to whom he passes the loot. But it had no result.

– So he passed the diamond to some other woman before you got him?

– Yes. To any one of two or three dozen. He had sixty seconds. That's all Tarleton needs.

– Arrest him?

– How the devil could we? We had to let him go with an apology. All we can do is tail him and wait for him to contact his confederate. Monitor his telephone line.

– Any idea how many of your guests wear white fur coats?

– There were three at the concert. The Duchess, Miss Lassale and a woman from Boston. Mrs Schoolman.

Shayne drew the evening bag from his pocket.

– I hoped that this bag had been reported stolen this evening. About nine o'clock.

– Sorry. Branson looked bewildered.

«Nothing like that was reported stolen. – Shayne said,

– See what you make of the paper inside.



– Three words underlined. Could be some sort of message. A warning?

– Could be, agreed Shayne. You say you've got men on Tarleton. What were his movements this evening?

Branson picked up one of the papers and read: «Stayed in his room until eight. Down to lobby at eight twelve. Bought newspaper and cigar. Sat alone in chair and read until nine six. Spoke to no one. Went out at nine six where there was a crowd waiting for taxis. Stayed there, closely observed, for ten minutes. Returned to room».

Suddenly the telephone began ringing. Branson listened a moment while his pudgy face went white.

– I'll be up at once. Stay right there.

He put down the phone and told Shayne: – Harold Schoolman has just been murdered upstairs. The woman who confronted them in Room 610 was obviously fighting hard to hold back tears. She stepped aside to show them the body of her husband lying on the floor beside a small table where a portable typewriter stood. Schoolman's head was crushed, and the blood still flowed from the wound onto the carpet. A heavy, bloodstained whiskey decanter lay beside the body. From his position, it appeared that Schoolman had been seated in a chair before the typewriter, with his back to the door, when the fatal blow was struck. A single sheet of paper was in the typewriter with the figures 2 and 3 typed on it.

Schoolman had died instantly, and not more than ten minutes the detectives arrived. Mrs Schoolman's white fur coat lay on the floor, with a pair of white gloves and an evening bag beside it.

– I returned from a party just a few minutes ago, she explained. I expected Harold to be in because he was expecting a telephone call. I rang the bell but he didn't answer. I thought he was on the phone, and used my key. He was... like that. She covered her face with both hands.

Shayne said:

– Branson, check Tarleton's room.

- Is it on this floor?

– One above. Branson turned to the phone. Shayne looked down at the dead man and the typewriter.

– Did you or your husband use this machine, Mrs Schoolman?

– I... mostly.

– What do the figures two and three mean to you?

– I don't know, she said.

Branson came from the phone. – Gentleman John has been on the phone in his room chatting with a friend in New York for the past twenty minutes.

Shayne nodded. He took out the evening bag that Schoolman had given to him and asked Alice Schoolman.

– Have you ever seen this before? She looked at it with surprise.

– It's like mine on the floor. Isn't it the one Harold grabbed by mistake? Didn't he explained that to you?

– He told me. Shayne opened the bag and withdrew the scrap of paper. He also showed you this. Do you agree that these are proofreader's marks in the margin?

– I suppose so. He said they were. He was a publisher, you know.

Shayne told Branson:

– Ask the Duchess and Miss Lassalle to come here at once and bring their evening bags with them.

In a few minutes Branson turned from the phone. Miss Lassalle is out. Her maid insists that she has only jewelled evening bags. The Duchess refuses to come and denies owning such a bag like these.

Shayne was looking down at the scrap of paper and the two digits on the sheet in the typewriter.

– I think I know why Schoolman typed those two figures. Where is the private safe in this room?

Alice Schoolman pointed to a silver dial in the wall above the divan. Shayne went to it, asking her,

– What is the combination?

– I don't... know. Harold set it this morning and didn't tell me.

– Can you get the combination? he asked Branson.

– Not a chance. Each guest sets his own. It's a simple one. Just two figures on the dial. You make two full turns to the right and stop. Then back to the second figure you've chosen.

Shayne turned the dial two full circles to the right, stopped on two and started to turn back to three.

– Not that way, said Branson. The first digit has to be larger. You can't turn back past zero.

Shayne made two more full turns, stopped at three. He turned back to two. Nothing happened. He glanced at Alice Schoolman. She was pale and frightened.

Shayne went to the typewriter and studied the scrap of paper again. Then he pressed one of the keys of the typewriter. An eight appeared next to the two and three already on the sheet. He pressed another key and had four figures in a row: two, three, eight, four.

He told Branson:

– That's the real message that was hidden in the bag. Not the three underlined words. They were camouflage to draw attention away from the four pencilled symbols in the margin. Quotation marks, a space symbol, single quote, a dollar sign...

He pointed to the symbols on the top row of the top line of keys.

– A beautifully simple code. The same key that has quotes is also the figure two. The space symbol is a three. A single quote and a dollar sign – eight and four.

– So what? asked Branson.

– Try eight and four on the wall safe, said Shayne. When it opens, reach inside and take out the diamond medallion that Gentleman John snatched this afternoon and passed on to his confederate for safe keeping while he was being searched.

Branson was on his way to the safe when Alice Schoolman rushed to him like a fury, crying hysterically.

 

 

..............................................................................................................................................................................

– She had to kill her husband, Shayne told Branson later. As soon as she entered the room and saw the sheet of paper in the typewriter with the two and the three typed on it. He'd evidently remembered the proof marks and just noticed the position of those symbols and numbers on the top row of keys. Twenty-three and the combination to the safe.

..............................................................................................................................................................................

 

– What was the twenty-three for? asked Branson.

– Twenty-three hours. Eleven o'clock. Those were the two items of information she had to pass on to Tarleton after bringing the diamond up and putting it in her-own safe this afternoon. The two things they couldn't set beforehand when they planned all this in Boston where Tarleton picked her as his confederate. They couldn't afford to see each other or speak together in the hotel, yet Tarleton had to know when the room would be vacant and the safe combination.

Tarleton knew he'd be watched every moment after the robbery, and bought her another evening bag as a means of passing the information. She had them both with her when she went down tonight.

Imagine how Tarleton must have felt when he followed her from the lobby to pick up the information... and had to stand helplessly by while her husband snatched the bag from her in front of his eyes. To teach his wife a lesson on the perils of carelessness, Shayne ended sardonically.

 

Note:    
upsetting experience досадный случай  
I saw the bag just begging to be stolen. Я увидел, что сумочка просто напрашивается на то, чтобы ее украли.  
She had tucked the bag in the crook of her white fur sleeve. Она сунула сумочку за отворот  
  своего белого мехового манто.  
to mistake smb for smb different принимать кого-либо за другого  
Is there some identification inside? Есть ли что-нибудь внутри, что подсказало бы, чья она?  
margin поля  
galley proof гранка  
proofreader's corrections корректорская правка  
quotation marks кавычки  
the symbol for more space знак, означающий пробел  
single quote одинарная кавычка  
lobby вестибюль  
nail-studded leather door обитая кожей дверь  
punch bowl чаша с пуншем  
to stumble into smb случайно толкнуть кого-либо  
with a record of arrests in every с целым списком арестов во всех  
major world capital for suspected jewel thefts крупных столицах мира по подозрению в краже драгоценностей  
to grab задержать  
woman confederate сообщница  
this bag had been reported stolen поступило заявление о краже этой сумочки  
bewildered озадаченный, сбитый с толку  
See what you make of the paper inside. Посмотрим, что ты скажешь о  
  клочке бумаги, которая лежала внутри.  
was obviously fighting hard to hold to back tears очевидно, изо всех сил пыталась сдержать слезы  
  bloodstained окровавленный
  decanter графин
  when the fatal blow was struck когда был нанесен роковой удар
  denies owning such a bag like these отрицает, что у нее есть сумочка, похожая на эти
  They were camouflage to draw attention away from the four pencilled symbols in the margin. Это была просто уловка, чтобы отвлечь внимание от сделанных карандашом четырех значков на полях.
  top row верхний регистр (на пишущей машинке)
  fury фурия
  picked her as his confederate выбрал ее себе в сообщницы
  peril опасность
         

 

Suggested activities

 

aChoose the correct answers:

 

  What did Mr Schoolman tell Shayne? He told him that someone had stolen his wife's bag.
      He told him that he had stolen a bag.
      He told him that he had stolen the Montalba diamond.
  What was there in the bag? There was a piece of a letter in it.
      There was a piece of a newspaper in it.
      There was a piece of a galley proof in it.
  Who was Gentleman John? He was a private detective.
      He was a famous thief.
      He was the owner of the Splendide Hotel.
  Who could steal the diamond medallion, in Branson's opinion? It was Mrs Schoolman who could do that.
    It was Miss Lassalle who could do that.  
    It was Tarleton who could do that.  
What did Branson learn answering the telephone? He learned that the medallion had been found.  
    He learned that Mr Schoolman had been murdered.  
    He learned that Tarleton had escaped from the hotel.  
Whal was Schoolman doing when the blow was struck? He was trying to open the safe.  
    He was speaking on the phone.  
    He was typing.  
Where was Tarleton at the moment of the He was in the Schoolmans' room.  
  murder? He was in his room.  
    He was in the lobby.  
Who put the medallion into the safe? It was Alice Schoolman who did that.  
    It was Harold Schoolman who did that.  
    It was Tarleton who did that.  
What did the symbols in the margin of the They meant the safe combination.  
  paper mean? They meant the time when the room would be vacant.  
    They meant both the safe combination and the time when the room would be vacant.  
             

 

b Say if you agree or disagree and support your point of view:

 

1 Mr Schoolman said that he had snatched his wife's evening bag because he was a cleptomaniac.

2 Alice Schoolman was very careful and she always used the chain not to lose her bag.

3 There were four persons close to the Duchess to steal the medallion.

4 Tarleton was known of always working alone.

5 When Schoolman and his wife were waiting for a taxi Tarleton was speaking on the phone in his room.

6 Tarleton and Alice Schoolman planned the robbery after they met each other at the hotel.

7 Alice Schoolman killed her husband because he had learned what the symbols in the margin meant.

8 The underlined words were camouflage to draw attention away from the four symbols in the margin.

 

с Paraphrase the following sentences in English:

 

1 This is the most upsetting experience in my life.

2 I want you to return the bag without publicity.

3 I'll nose downstairs.

4 A dame stumbled into the Duchess.

5 He got it right under my nose.

6 See what you make of the paper inside.

7 You ve got men on Tarleton.

 

d Translate the following sentences using these verbs: to teach, to beg, to shoulder, to mistake, to hold back, to mean, to own.

 

1 Я решил преподать ей урок.

2 Яувидел, что сумочка просто напрашивается на то, чтобы ее украли.

3 В этот момент какие-то люди протиснулись между нами.

4 Вы приняли другую женщину за вашу жену.

5 Она пыталась сдержать слезы.

6 О чем говорят вам эти цифры?

7 Герцогиня отрицает, что у нее есть подобная сумочка.

 

e Translate the following sentences using these nouns and adjectives: experience, sight, effect, wrong, mark, confusuon, eyes.

 

Это был самый досадный случай в моей жизни.

Япотерял ее из виду.

Я осуществил свой план.

Вы схватили не ту сумочку.

Он указал на пометки карандашом.

Произошел большой переполох.

 

f Think and answer:

 





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