on top of Bast and began to smooth his ruffled coat.

Nearly dark, but light enough still to see Alison with her back to him, shoulders looking very stiff, at the telephone table across the room. And Angel in the entrance-hall doorway watching her. Somewhere in the distance one of the twins was wailing.

'He can't possibly-'

Mendoza yawned again. He felt, he decided, all right.

He got up and crossed the room, put one arm around Alison, and took the phone away from her. The twin stopped wailing abruptly.

'Oh!' said Alison. 'Luis-'

'Mendoza here.'

'Well, I'm sorry to wake you up,' said Higgins, 'but we've got a sort of funny one down here. Just turned up.'

'Luis!' said Alison. 'You are not--'

'Mmh?' said Mendoza. He felt, on the whole, pretty good, he thought.

'Woman strangled with her own belt, it's obviously murder, but there was the damnedest odd note left beside the body--'

'?Que interesante! ' said Mendoza. 'All right, I'll come down and look at it.” He put the phone down.

'Luis, no!' exploded Alison. 'You ought to sleep the clock round-'

'But you've got,' exclaimed Angel from the door, 'to have something to eat before you-'

'With,' said Mrs. MacTaggart firmly, coming up the hall, 'a wee drop of whiskey to hearten you beforehand.'

Mendoza kissed Alison and started toward the bedroom for tie, jacket, and shoes. 'Get me a cup of coffee, that's all. I'm O.K.'

And Alison and Angel sent one unanimous bitter comment after him.

'Cops!' they said.

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