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23. Inspector Aylesbury Cross-Examines
"Oh, I see," said Inspector Aylesbury, "a little private confab, eh?"
He sank his chin into its enveloping folds, treating Harley and myself each to a
stare of disapproval.
"These gentlemen very kindly called to advise me of the tragic occurrence at
Cray's Folly," explained Colin Camber. "Won't you be seated, Inspector?"
"Thanks, but I can conduct my examination better standing."
He turned to Paul Harley.
"Might I ask, Mr. Harley," he said, "what concern this is of yours?"
"I am naturally interested in anything appertaining to the death of a client,
Inspector Aylesbury."
"Oh, so you slip in ahead of me, having deliberately withheld information from the
police, and think you are going to get all the credit. Is that it?"
"That is it, Inspector," replied Harley, smiling. "An instance of professional
"Professional jealousy?" cried the Inspector. "Allow me to remind you that you
have no official standing in this case whatever. You are merely a member of the
public, nothing more, nothing less."
"I am happy to be recognized as a member of that much-misunderstood body."
"Ah, well, we shall see. Now, Mr. Camber, your attention, please."
He raised his finger impressively.
"I am informed by Miss Beverley that the late Colonel Menendez looked upon
you as a dangerous enemy."
"Were those her exact words?" I murmured.
"Mr. Knox!"
The inspector turned rapidly, confronting me. "I have already warned your friend.
But if I have any interruptions from you, I will have you removed."
He continued to glare at me for some moments, and then, turning again to Colin
"I say, I have information that Colonel Menendez looked upon you as a
dangerous neighbour."
"In that event," replied Colin Camber, "why did he lease an adjoining property?"
"That's an evasion, sir. Answer my first question, if you please."
"You have asked me no question, Inspector."
"Oh, I see. That's your attitude, is it? Very well, then. Were you, or were you not,
an enemy of the late Colonel Menendez?"
"I was."
"What's that?"
"I say I was. I hated him, and I hate him no less in death than I hated him living."
I think that I had never seen a man so taken aback, Inspector Aylesbury, drawing
out a large handkerchief blew his nose. Replacing the handkerchief, he produced
a note-book.
"I am placing that statement on record, sir," he said.