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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIX Jane Finn
|Page 3 of 7||
"I had, sir!" Tommy grinned reminiscently. "I was never in a tighter place in my life."
Helped out by questions from Sir James, he gave an abbreviated account of his adventures. The lawyer looked at him with renewed interest as he brought the tale to a close.
"You got yourself out of a tight place very well," he said gravely. "I congratulate you. You displayed a great deal of ingenuity and carried your part through well."
Tommy blushed, his face assuming a prawnlike hue at the praise.
"I couldn't have got away but for the girl, sir."
"No." Sir James smiled a little. "It was lucky for you she happened to--er--take a fancy to you." Tommy appeared about to protest, but Sir James went on. "There's no doubt about her being one of the gang, I suppose?"
"I'm afraid not, sir. I thought perhaps they were keeping her there by force, but the way she acted didn't fit in with that. You see, she went back to them when she could have got away."
Sir James nodded thoughtfully.
"What did she say? Something about wanting to be taken to Marguerite?"
"Yes, sir. I suppose she meant Mrs. Vandemeyer."
"She always signed herself Rita Vandemeyer. All her friends spoke of her as Rita. Still, I suppose the girl must have been in the habit of calling her by her full name. And, at the moment she was crying out to her, Mrs. Vandemeyer was either dead or dying! Curious! There are one or two points that strike me as being obscure--their sudden change of attitude towards yourself, for instance. By the way, the house was raided, of course?"
"Yes, sir, but they'd all cleared out."
"Naturally," said Sir James dryly.
"And not a clue left behind."
"I wonder----" The lawyer tapped the table thoughtfully.
Something in his voice made Tommy look up. Would this man's eyes have seen something where theirs had been blind? He spoke impulsively:
"I wish you'd been there, sir, to go over the house!"
"I wish I had," said Sir James quietly. He sat for a moment in silence. Then he looked up. "And since then? What have you been doing?"
For a moment, Tommy stared at him. Then it dawned on him that of course the lawyer did not know.
"I forgot that you didn't know about Tuppence," he said slowly. The sickening anxiety, forgotten for a while in the excitement of knowing Jane Finn was found at last, swept over him again.
The lawyer laid down his knife and fork sharply.
"Has anything happened to Miss Tuppence?" His voice was keen-edged.
"She's disappeared," said Julius.
"A week ago."
Sir James's questions fairly shot out. Between them Tommy and Julius gave the history of the last week and their futile search.
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