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Author's Chapter Notes:
Just a short chapter to get us down from those cliffs! Thanks for the reviews - I really appreciate them!

Lucy has to explain her truanting to Miss Annersley.

A moment later

‘Miss Annersley, you’re supposed to be at a conference!’ Lucy exclaimed, forgetting herself.

‘And you are supposed to be in school doing your prep,’ Miss Annersley pointed out. ‘Would you care to explain what you’re doing here?’

Lucy sank down into a chair, her legs giving way under her after the stresses and strains of the day.

‘I’m sorry, Miss Annersley. I wouldn’t have broken school rules if I could have thought of any other way.’

She looked up and saw that her headmistress was smiling. ‘I know, child. I have a feeling that you are destined to become a true Chalet School girl. That is, if we can keep you safe for long enough. And provided the school survives.’

Lucy looked from her headmistress to Miss Marple and back. ‘You know what’s going on? I was pretty sure you weren’t in on it.’

Miss Annersley smiled still more broadly. ‘Well thank you for that, Lucy! No, I’m not in on it but I have realised there is something going on. Miss Marple isn’t the only one with a brain, you know!’

‘Yes, Miss Annersley. Sorry.’

Miss Marple intervened. ‘Lucy dear, why don’t you run along and ask Cousin Maud for a cup and a fresh pot of tea. Then we can have a chat with Miss Annersley.’

Lucy got up and, before going off to collect a cup, she gave the regulation curtsey.

‘Oh you don’t need to bother about that when we’re out of school, Lucy,’ Miss Annersley told her. ‘It’s a ridiculous tradition. I’ve tried to get Mrs Russell to agree to abolish it but every time I suggest getting rid of it Joey has an asthma attack. She’s such a drama queen.’

Lucy, somewhat shocked at the discovery that her headmistress was human, went as instructed and returned presently with a teapot and a cup and saucer. When they were all settled with a cup of tea, Miss Annersley put Lucy out of her misery.

‘I did go to London, but not for a conference as I told the staff but to see Inspector Haddock at Scotland Yard.’

‘How did you know about Inspector Haddock?’ Lucy put in, with more regard for her curiosity than politeness.

‘He had visited the school a few months ago,’ Miss Annersley explained. ‘He pretended he was looking for a boarding school for his daughter. I didn’t think he was married, let alone a father. He didn’t have the look of a married man. He reminded me of Percy Jones from my home town. He didn’t marry till later in life.’

Lucy was fairly sure she heard Miss Marple say, sotto voce, ‘A woman after my own heart.’ But her headmistress was continuing and she needed to pay attention.

‘It occurred to me that his visit might mean he harboured suspicions about the school. I was growing more and more concerned about various happenings. When I saw Inspector Haddock, I discovered that he had sent you and Miss Marple under cover into the school and I telephoned your supposed Aunt Jane to ask if I may visit her. Now, tell us what has happened that has brought you here in such a hurry.’

‘Aunt Jane and I discovered that something was happening on the seventh of October,’ Lucy explained. ‘I managed to find out that the outhouses were involved and so I started a game of hide and seek with the younger ones at break time. I took the opportunity to check out the outhouses.’

‘Even though they are out-of-bounds,’ Miss Annersley said, her blue-grey eyes, which had never yet needed spectacles, twinkling.

Lucy lifted her chin and looked her headmistress squarely in the eye. ‘Even so.’

‘That’s fine, child. I would have done the same.’

Imagining Miss Annersley as a schoolgirl was a bit much for Lucy so she went on with her story. ‘The first outhouse was empty but the second one had boxes in. I think they had probably been brought in the day before and that’s what the seventh of October signified on the laundry list.’

Miss Annersley looked enquiringly at Miss Marple, who mouthed ‘Tell you later’ and nodded towards Lucy who was continuing her tale. Miss Marple had sensed increasing tension in Lucy’s voice and didn’t want to interrupt her.

‘I went past the boxes to the sarcophagus on the back wall,’ Lucy said. ‘It was difficult getting the lid open.’ She stopped.

‘And what did you find, dear?’ Miss Marple prompted gently.

‘A body.’ Lucy said.



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