Three people sat eating breakfast in the kitchen.
Outside, the sun shone. It was a lovely day. The storm was a thing of the past.
And with the change in the weather, a change had come in the mood of the prisoners on the island.
They felt now like people just awakening from a nightmare. There was danger, yes, but it was danger in daylight. That paralyzing atmosphere of fear that had wrapped them round like a blanket yesterday while the wind howled outside was gone.
“You’ve forgotten the nursery rhyme. Don’t you see there’s a clue there?...
”Four little soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.”
She went on:
“A red herring—that’s the vital clue. Armstrong’s not dead…. He took away the china soldier to make you think he was.”
They walked up the slope to the house. The terrace was peaceful and innocuous looking in the sunshine. They hesitated there a minute, then instead of entering by the front door, they made a cautious circuit of the house.
They found Blore. He was spreadeagled on the stone terrace on the east side, his head crushed and mangled by a great block of white marble.
He bent—tugging at the body. Vera leaned against him, helping him. She pulled and tugged with all her might….
They managed it… drawing the body clear of high water mark.
Lombard said as he straightened up:
Her tone warned him. He spun around. Even as he clapped his hand to his pocket he knew that he would find it empty.
She had moved a yard or two away and was facing him, revolver in hand.
“One little soldier boy left all alone.” What was the last line again? Something about being married—or was it something else?
She had come now to the door of her room. Hugo was waiting for her inside—she was quite sure of it.
She opened the door….
She gave a gasp….
What was that—hanging from the hook in the ceiling? A rope with a noose all ready? And a chair to stand upon—a chair that could be kicked away….
That was what Hugo wanted….