“The 3 of Cups usually signifies a close group of friends, but I think in this case it may be a team, even a family,” I replied. I wasn’t satisfied with what the cards were saying so I drew another card, that would give me more insight into the case: it was Judgement.
“Well whoever is at the heart of this will have to stand in front of his peers and answer some serious questions about his actions,” I said. I looked at the card closely; the picture of the bodies rising from their coffins made me shudder. Daniel noticed me shiver.
“You OK?” he asked, I nodded.
“I think the dead are going to play a big part in this case, and the murderer will have to answer for his crimes.”
I telephoned Nell, and we agreed to meet at the Savoy for lunch. Daniel called friends he had at the newspapers and agreed to meet them in a pub in Fleet Street. We went our separate ways and agreed to meet back at the office in the afternoon.****It had been a few weeks since I’d seen Nell; she’d been busy taking photographs on the French Riviera during the winter months for the Tatler as well as portraits for the Royal Family.
I was shown to a table and asked for a lemonade to drink, I wanted to keep a clear head as far as I could. I spotted Nell coming through the door and waved, she came towards me and we kissed cheeks and she sat down.
“Lovely to see you again Amy, it’s been a long time, what with us both being working girls now.” She poked my ribs with her elbow and chuckled. “So how is the detective trade?” she asked. I sighed.
“Ninety percent of it is really boring, following errant husbands and trying to catch them in flagrante with other women, but we got one in today that I think you might be able to help us with,” Nell sipped the drink the waiter bought for her.
“How?” she asked.
“The brother of James Munroe, the racing driver killed in Italy last week, thinks it wasn’t an accident. I was wondering if you knew anything, you’ve been at a lot of races lately, also, did anything come of Jasmine Butler-Monkton’s crush on that Italian, Pietro Fallini?” I asked. Nell thought for a couple of minutes.
“I can’t say I’ve noticed anything, but I don’t go behind the scenes, I take pictures of the cars or motorbikes on the tracks, or I take pictures of the drivers and their cars as well as them receiving their laurels and trophies. I did have a fling with Johnny Markham in Nice over the winter, his father owns Markham Motors – I think your father has one of his cars.”
I nodded, he was very pleased with it and enjoyed driving it. He often remarked on how well it handled, even at speed.
“Well he’s a mechanical engineer with the Nelumbo team, they’re fairly new on the racing circuit but are doing really well, much to the disgust of the Cheetah team. Johnny’s uncle, Reginald is in charge of the team at races, it’s owned by the Cheetah cars board, but I know Uncle Reggie wants to buy them out, run it himself and build his own cars, like the Italians and the Germans. What is really interesting is that Uncle Reggie went to his brother and practically begged him to supply them with cars, but he said no, he wasn’t interested in racing cars and when Reggie found out Johnny was working for Nelumbo, he hit the roof. I don’t know if it’s relevant but it’s all the gossip I know, apart from Jasmine, she was getting very cosy with Pietro in Nice over the winter. If you and Daniel are looking for a way into this, Jasmine might be someone who could help. She’s about the most tolerable of the Bouquet Girls, not that they’re as close as they used to be, with what happened to Daisy and Peony, then Rose being shunned by all and sundry.”
Daisy Knellar and Peony Carmichael had died at the hands of Daisy’s husband and her father last year when Daisy wanted a divorce and her father couldn’t allow her to go through with it because it would cost him his seat on the board of the bank. Rose was looking at being the next Duchess of Guernsey and had turned a blind eye to what her father and brother in law were doing.
“It’s an idea. I’ll have to see if Daniel has any thoughts, this is more his area, undercover and general sneakiness,” I said with a laugh. We ordered our lunch along with an excellent Sancerre and talked about this and that, our ‘Jobs’ and our parents. Nell’s father had died over the winter; he’d been separated amicably from Lady Beatrice Stockton-Ellis for over ten years and had died from a heart condition in Italy, in the arms of his mistress Elena.
Recently, Lady Stockton-Ellis had started stepping out with my father – I remember the day he told me, he’d worried that my brother Charlie and myself would be angry, but we told him that Mama would not want him to be lonely and we gave him our blessing as we both liked Beatrice and thought they were well suited. Nell and I often joked that this time next year we could be sisters. Nell asked about my brother Charlie, I told her that he was still happy working for a law firm in Lincolns Inn and that he was making a name for himself helping women through the minefield that was divorce. I made a mental note to ask if he knew anything about the wills of the racing drivers that had been killed; one thing I’d learned from working with Daniel, was that money WAS the root of all evil.
“If you want to talk to Jasmine she’s going to a party at the Aston-Lacey’s tonight and dragging Pietro with her,” Nell said.
“We got an invitation a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I could make it, with all the work we’ve had to do lately, but it sounds like it’s an ideal time to get digging into the world of motorsport,” I replied. Nell raised her glass.
“Here’s to an exciting case for you,” she said, I clinked her glass in salute and hoped so too.