- Text Size +

Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you for all the reviews and apologies for keeping you waiting for the update - and sorry to JS for being late keeping my promise to submit an update on your birthday. I've got visitors at the moment which is having an effect on drabbling!!

Lucy returns to school to face the music.

The following morning

Miss Marple watched Lucy carefully as they travelled to the school but Lucy was showing no signs of concern. It was reassuring that Miss Annersley was alert to things being awry at the school and Miss Marple was confident that Lucy would be protected.

Miss Annersley met them at the door of her study with a serious face. ‘I don’t even want my secretary to know this is a set-up,’ she said when she got her visitors inside and sitting down. ‘It’s best we keep this amongst ourselves and don’t endanger anyone else if we can help it.’

Lucy wasn’t sure that “set-up” was the sort of word allowed in the Chalet School but it would have been tactless to mention it.

‘I went down to the outhouses this morning,’ Miss Annersley said. ‘The only time I could be sure not to be observed was during Prayers when the whole school is together. I made sure the domestic staff were fully occupied and there was no-one around before I went.’

‘And what did you discover?’ Miss Marple asked.

‘It was almost as you thought, Miss Marple. There were no boxes in the outhouse. There was a body in the sarcophagus, they obviously hadn’t had time to move it or thought it unnecessary.’

‘There really were boxes in there,’ Lucy exclaimed. ‘I didn’t imagine it, honestly!’

‘I know that, Lucy,’ Miss Annersley assured her. ‘So does Miss Marple. You are not the type of girl to imagine some things or make them up. I only hope that the removal of everything was natural caution on the part of the malefactors and doesn’t mean that they are on to us.’

Lucy wondered if Miss Annersley had been watching too many films, using expressions like “on to us” which was almost certainly slang and definitely not CS.

‘So what now, Miss Annersley?’ Miss Marple asked. ‘Have you phoned Inspector Haddock yet?’

‘I contacted him straight after prayers and he’s on his way here. The local police have arrived and are standing guard at the outhouses so nothing else can go walkabout.’

It was obviously inappropriate to remonstrate with her headmistress about her use of slang, but Lucy was very shocked at the deterioration in Miss Annersley’s language. She hoped that her headmistress would behave better when in her public role.

‘And now we are supposed to be dealing with you, young lady,’ Miss Annersley said, smiling. ‘I will let the staff know that you are in solitary confinement and that you are to remain here to do your lessons. I will accompany you at all meals and you will only be with the other girls at bedtime.’

‘You don’t think the other staff will be suspicious?’ Miss Marple asked. ‘It must be unusual for the headmistress herself to supervise solitary confinement. Especially as you’re going to have policemen crawling all over the place soon.’

Lucy was beginning to wonder if deterioration in language was catching and if she was the only one who could still speak the Queen’s English.

‘I shall tell them that Lucy’s behaviour whilst truanting was so heinous and the way she behaved on her return demands my personal attention,’ Miss Annersley said. ‘They may think it strange but they won’t question me on it and they will not be able to get to Lucy. I hope that Inspector Haddock will resolve the problem in a day or two and the malefactors will be removed from the school. Then it will be safe for Lucy to rejoin her classmates.’

‘But Miss Annersley, who is the body?’ Lucy could contain her question no longer. ‘Do you know?’

Miss Annersley looked across at Miss Marple. ‘You knew immediately, didn’t you?’

‘Yes. Well. There was always the question of the missing girl, wasn’t there?’

Miss Annersley looked at Lucy. ‘I’m afraid it was Marie Varick. The girl who went missing from the 4.50 from Haddington.’

Enter the security code shown below:
Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both.