The Let's Play Archive

Murder off Miami

by SelenicMartian

Part 7: Pages 87 to 97. Rudeness and obstruction.

: Today we speak with the presumably richer part of the party.


: Good morning, Miss Rocksavage.

: Good morning.

: Sorry to trouble you again but there's just a little difference of opinion between Mr. Jocelyn and yourself as to what time you came down from the top deck on the evening of Blane's death. He says it was 7.30 and you say it was 7.15. Can you clear that up for me?

: I'm afraid not. I didn't really notice the time and perhaps it was twenty or twenty-five past seven, but surely you're not suggesting that I had anything to .......

: Of course not, Miss Rocksavage, of course not. But saying it was even as late as 7.25 you didn't get into the lounge changed until 8.40. That is an hour and a quarter after you came below. Surely that's a long time for even a lady to take changing for dinner.

: But I told you yesterday that I didn't start to change at once. I was reading a book in my cabin for half an hour or so after I came down.

: Yes, I remember that, but as you had so much spare time on your hands it seems a little strange that you should have been ten minutes late for dinner.

: I was interested in my book and I forgot the time. You must know how easy it is to do that if you are deep in an exciting story. My maid will tell you that I did not ring for her until nearly a quarter past eight. That's why I was late.

: I see, and you did not see Mr. Jocelyn again after, say, 7.30 at the latest, until you reached the lounge at 8.40?

: Why do you ask that?

: Well, I'm just going to let you in on something, Miss Rocksavage, which I want you to keep to yourself. It's not your movements that I'm interested in but Mr. Jocelyn's.

: You don't think .......

: I don't know, Miss Rocksavage, but unless he can bring somebody forward to vouch for what he was up to between 7.30 and 8.10 things aren't going to look too good for him. If, on the other hand, you were with him for longer than you say we'd forget your previous statement, and that might make just all the difference as far as he's concerned.

: No, no. I wasn't with him after, say, 7.30 at the latest.

: All right, Miss Rocksavage, thank you.

: Suddenly, Kettering remembers maids can talk.


: Come in. Don't look so scared now. I'm not going to bite you. Sit down kid.

: Oh, I'm not scared.

: That's the way. Now, you're Miss Rocksavage's maid, aren't you ? D'you help her to dress every evening?

: Yes.

: Did you help her the night that Blane got his?

: Yes.

: How long were you with her?

: She rang for me about ten after eight and we weren't through till near a quarter of nine.

: How d'you find her when you came along?

: All right. She's always cheerful. I'll give her that. She made me hustle though, getting her out of her dress.

: That so. How was the cabin?

: Just like any cabin always is.

: Can it. You know what I mean. Was it all tidy, or did it look as though she'd had a party there?

: If she'd had ten parties I wouldn't be telling you. I like Miss Ferri and I like my job.

: I get you. Maybe you wouldn't object to a party yourself some time?


: ... What just happened? Did she say something rude to him? Did they arrange a date? Did they have sex while Neame took notes?


: Good morning, Mr. Rocksavage.

: 'Morning, Mr. Kettering.

: What's the latest quotation for Argus Suds?

: Eh! Oh, they opened at 13½ this morning, but why the question?

: I was just thinking what a fine break it is for you that Blane should have faded out just when he did.

: What the devil d'you mean?

: Only that you must be picking up those Argus shares by the bucket full and making a fine thing out of it. That's all, Mr. Rocksavage.

: Now look here, what are you insinuating?

: I'm not insinuating anything. I'm only voicing what is quite apparent to anybody who knows anything of your financial situation during the past few weeks. You were up against it Mr. Rocksavage. Up against it pretty badly until Blane's death, but once that happened it was easy enough for you to get all the financial backing you needed and you're picking up Blane's shares as hard as you can go, so that before you're much older you'll have control of his companies as well as your own. That will make you the unchallenged king of the soap market with a secure future. It's a bit unfortunate though that Blane should have died on your yacht.

: Everything you say is perfectly true. I admit that, as you would see it, I had a strong motive for putting Blane out of the way, but very fortunately the facts of the case place me absolutely beyond any suspicion. I did not leave the lounge until ten past eight, so how could I possibly have murdered a man, disposed of his body, and changed for dinner - all in twenty minutes?

: Twenty-five, Mr. Rocksavage. You didn't get back to the lounge until 8.35 and I hear you are an expert quick-change artist. I've just been talking to Mr, Jocelyn. He tells me that you wagered Count Posodini a hundred dollars that you would change in under 4 minutes on the night before Blane's death, and that you won your bet. If you did that the night Blane died it would have left you a full 20 minutes to commit this crime and clear up afterwards.

: So Jocelyn said that did he, but wait a minute, how d'you know that he didn't do this job? I passed him in the passage still unchanged at ten past eight, when I went down to change myself.

: Did you now!

: I did, so perhaps you'll exercise your talents in finding out what he was up to between 7.45 and 8.10. There was much more time for him to have done this job than me.

: He hadn't got your motive.

: He certainly had. He's always lived above his income. For the last five years he's been entirely dependent on Lady Welter. She's in a jam because of those fool paper she runs. She loses a packet on them every year, yet she won't give them up because she just lives for this christian crusading business. If I'd failed to do a deal with Blane she would have gone under with me and young Jocelyn would have found himself on his uppers. He stood to benefit just as much by Blane's death as I did. More, in fact, because even if Rocksavage Consolidates had gone down the drain I have other resources.

: I get your point, Mr. Rocksavage.

: How about the Jap too?

: How about him?

: Well, he stood in to lose a million dollars if Blane had lived long enough to come to an arrangement with me.

: I'd certainly like to hear some more about that, Mr. Rocksavage.

: It's this way. Officially he's acting for the Shikoku people and he's been trying to sell me the Japanese soap monopoly on their behalf for months past, but he's playing ball with another crowd called the Totomi Soap Company on the side. They're in a position where they might be able to queer the pitch as a home producing firm by rousing national opinion against the monopoly going outside Japan, unless they're squared first. Their price was a million, so Hayashi wouldn't have got it all, but I'll bet he stood in for a pretty useful split. I wouldn't conclude though, once I got the idea of coming to terms with Blane, but if my deal with him had fallen though Hayashi knew he could count on my signing up. It's plain sailing for him now Blane's out of the way, and you know what these Orientals are. He had a mighty strong motive to do in Blane in order to prevent Blane and me getting together.

: Does Kazuma Kiryu's orphanage come into this plot?

: That's certainly something to work on Mr. Rocksavage and I'll get down to following up what you've said of Jocelyn and Hayashi right away.

: Good. And there's no trouble I won't go to in helping your investigation. I don't need telling the sort of thing that people are going to say on account of Blane having died on my yacht, so its to my interest, more than anybody's, that poor Blane's murderer should be brought to book.

: Don't worry, Mr. Rocksavage, we'll get him.

: Right away Kettering follows up on the info about Hayashi and Jocelyn by calling Lady Welter.


: Come in, Lady Welter. I hope you're feeling a little more reasonable this morning. I've got to ask you a few more questions and the sooner you realise that rudeness and obstruction will only prolong the ordeal the better it will be for you.

: I find all this most tiresome. I've already told you that I know nothing whatsoever about this man Blane's death.

: I hasn't occurred to you I suppose that you might be charged with it?

: What! I! You're mad, my man. I shall report you.

: Wow, he's not even trying to butter them up first any more.

: You can make any report you like but it won't alter the fact that you had a very strong motive for wishing Bolitho Blane out of the way.

: This is ridiculous.

: Not at all. You lost a big portion of your fortune in 1929, you've been paying up the losses on these papers which you run for years and now you are up against it, because the Rocksavage companies in which the remainder of your money is invested passed their dividend last year. Owing to Blane's death Rocksavage is back on his feet again and you with him.

: Well, if that is so Mr. Rocksavage benefits by this man Blane's death just as much as I do.

: You're wrong there. Rocksavage has other assets outside his soap companies, whereas you haven't, so motive is stronger in your case.

: This is absurd, as though an elderly woman like myself could murder a man and push him out of the porthole.

: You're only 55 Lady Welter and a strong, well preserved woman at that. Let me assure you from my police experience that many a woman with less physical strength than yourself could have done this business and in your case the motive was there. Moreover, there is no check on your movements from the time you came below with the Bishop at 7.5 until you arrived in the lounge changed at 8.5 on the night of Blane's death.

: Oh, yes there is, young man. My maid was with me, helping me to dress for dinner.

: Ah, now that puts a very different complexion on it, but why didn't you tell me that before Lady Welter?

: Because I didn't think you could be such a fool as to suspect a woman like myself of a crime like this.

: Was she with you the whole time?

: No, I rang for her when I reached my cabin and she was with me for about half an hour, until I had finished dressing.

: Wait a moment then, that only gets us to about 7.35, and we know Blane was alive at 7.45. You were already changed and you had twenty minutes, therefore, in which you might have done this job before arriving in the lounge.

: I was in my cabin the whole time.

: So you say Lady, but I want proof of that and, if you're a wise woman, you'll do your best to produce it.

: Proof! But how can anybody prove such a thing. You must take my word for it.

: I'm afraid I want something more than that. What were you doing all that time?

: Well, if you must know, I was knitting a jumper. I only had one sleeve to do so I thought I would finish it before I went in to dinner.

: Can you give my any proof of that?

: Yes. My maid knows just how far I had got with the jumper before I dressed that evening and I left it finished on the table for her to press when I left my cabin half an hour later.

: Can you produce the jumper Lady Welter?

: She did, two days ago.

: Yes.

: All right. That'll do for the moment ....... no, not out of that door. D'you mind stepping into the next cabin for a few moments. I'm going to see your maid and I don't want there to be any chance of your fixing things up between you before I've had a word with her.

: What impertinence!

: Women Kettering stashed in the next cabin: 2.


: Come in Mildred. Just a few questions I want to ask you about what happened on the night Mr. Blane me his death.

: Yes, sir.

: What time did Lady Welter ring for you to come along and help her dress that night?

: I think it was about ten past seven, sir, that is when I got to her ladyship's cabin.

: How long were you with her?

: Just under half an hour sir. I was back in the service room below by twenty-five to eight.

: Lady Welter was busy knitting a jumper that day, wasn't she?

: Yes, sir.

: Do you remember how far she had got with it before she sent for you to help her to dress?

: She only had one sleeve left to do, sir.

: How long would that take her?

: About half and hour, sir. It as only a short sleeve, you see.

: When you came back to her cabin, after she had gone up, did you notice if the jumper was just the same, or had she done anything with it?

: I didn't see it then, sir. In fact, I was wondering yesterday what had happened to it because I haven't seen it since.

: Is that so? All right. You can go. Mildred.

: Next time: