Amock Comedy Magazine 2
“Good God, no. I am a diplomat, Doctor, and I was out east in an administrative role, assisting the government
there in setting up a democratic system of elections.”
He must have sensed my disappointment from my features for he continued, “I know this must let you down,
doctor. You had imagined me to be some brave hero who had come by his injuries in action, but the truth is I am
no more than a pen pusher.”
I hid my feelings by sipping at my wine, an excellent Burgundy.
Holms who, in truth, had no feelings to disappoint, probed further. “You failed to tell us that your home was now
a casino, Sir Clifford.”
“I did not think it important,” the knight confessed blandly, “I let the largest part of the Hall to some Italian
businessmen, because a diplomat’s salary will not allow for the upkeep of such a splendid pile, but I have little
to do with the running of the establishment.”
“Italians?” I queried, my suspicions aroused.
“I have no great time for them with their Continental ways, I must admit, but needs must.”
“But the rents you must get from the estate,” I insisted.
“A pittance. My grandfather sold off large parts of it and what is left is hardly enough to keep poor Connie in
Holms himself was not satisfied. “The position of this man Millars is not explained then.”
“Millars? Oh, he’s a fine chap, saved Connie’s life once out on the lake when she was a girl. Showed my gratitude
by making him general dogsbody around the Hall but the Italians wanted a local to mind the door so I suggested
“He referred to himself as your gamekeeper, your little joke, I am told.”
The beautiful Constance herself now entered the conversation. “You must not criticise poor Clifford’s sense of
fun, Mr Holms, it is the only thing which makes his life worth living at times.” Then she turned her pretty eyes
on me, “When will you be examining Clifford, Dr Wilson?”
I melted under her gaze. “This afternoon, if he is free.”
“He must have an early nap then,” and then with a beam at her husband, “Finish your chop, Clifford. Let us hope
that the Doctor can do something about those wretched nerves in your legs.”
She hurried him through what was a splendid lunch and wheeled him off immediately after the coffee was finished.
Immediately they left Holms passed me a glance with an arched eyebrow. “Italians, Wilson? Matters become
“Sound like the mafia to me.”
“Indeed, the Cosa Nostra spread their tentacles wide, even into rolling Derbyshire.”
“But we are here to investigate Lady Constance’s infidelity, not organised crime,” I emphasised.
“Italian gentlemen, with their Latin temperament and swarthy good looks have led many a married English lady
“Gad!” I cried, “Do you think she’s carrying on with one of these gangster chaps?”
“We shall discover soon enough. Now, some air, I think. A stroll round the grounds is called for.”