Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy by James Anderson

By James Anderson

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The foul-mannered, ugly old barrel, she thought to herself. How dare she speak to me like that? ' She hadn't meant to say this: the words had just come. But they were out now, and Jane suddenly felt very much better. For several seconds Mrs. Bottway did not react at all. Then slowly her face started to go purple. Jane suddenly realised that she was the centre of attention. There were three or four other customers in the shop, and, together with the assistants, they were all staring at her speechlessly.

What about this oil millionaire? ' 'I don't know. He hasn't arrived yet. ' 'Perhaps I can entice him away from her. ' 'If they have, he's not coming with them. Just a secretary. ' Jane applied lipstick. 'I'm not interested in secretaries unless they've got double-barrelled surnames if English, or have "Van" in front of them if American. ' 'There's somebody Richard brought. From the FO. I don't know if he's married. Nice enough, but a bit of a stick. Then there's Algy—' 'Stop. There's no need to be obscene.

Jane gave a puzzled frown, then her face changed, as from another compartment the figure of Algernon Fotheringay emerged. He was wearing a blazer in two-inch wide red and yellow stripes and the most voluminous plus-fours Jane had ever seen. She turned and hurried out to the sleepy station yard. Lord Burford's Rolls Royce was waiting there, the liveried figure of the chauffeur Hawkins, an old ally of Jane from her schoolgirl days, standing beside it. Jane walked across. ' Hawkins touched his cap and permitted himself a discreet smile of welcome.

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