pleasure looking at the picture of the Lord of the Isles you gave me. I see it every day.’ He gestured at her latest work. ‘This is another wonderful example of what you can do when you pick up a paint brush.’

‘There is one condition, Robert,’ she warned.

‘What sort of condition?’

‘You can have your turntable in the Round House if I can have an explanation of why you weren’t surprised that the Reverend Follis asked me to read a particular passage from the Bible.’ She crossed to the bookshelf. ‘Shall I find it for you?’

‘There’s no need Madeleine,’ he said. ‘Leave your Bible where it is. I know that chapter from Corinthians very well. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Did I get it right?’

‘You quoted it word for word.’

‘That depends on the translation you use because one of those words is the key to the entire chapter. The word is “charity”. Change it to its true meaning of “love” and you’ll perhaps understand why Mr Follis wanted it read to him by a beautiful young woman.’

Madeleine was uneasy. ‘I’m not certain that I like that.’

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’m sure that he had no impure thoughts inside his church. He reserved those for elsewhere. Instead of treating the word in its widest sense, embracing all forms of love, the rector saw only its more physical aspects. When I confronted him about his transgressions, he told me that they were crimes of passion.’

‘I’m surprised that you left me alone with the man.’

‘You were in no danger, Madeleine,’ he said, ‘especially when you were on consecrated ground. And at that point, of course, I was unaware of how unholy his private life actually was. I took you to Brighton to confirm my suspicion that Ezra Follis was far more interested in women than someone in his position ought to be.’

‘I wish you’d told me that beforehand, Robert.’

‘It was better if you had no preconceptions. That’s why I was so interested to see what your reaction to him was.’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘it’s taught me one lesson. I’ll be a lot more careful when somebody asks me to read from the Bible again.’

He smiled broadly. ‘Does that include me?’

‘You’re the exception, Robert,’ she said, kissing him softly. ‘I’ll read anything you ask me.’

‘I was hoping you’d say that,’ he told her, taking a gold-edged card from his inside pocket. ‘I’d like you to read this.’

She was amazed. ‘It’s an invitation to the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery,’ she said, reading the card and gasping with joy. ‘I’ll be able to meet some famous artists.’

‘I’ll have the most accomplished one of all on my arm,’ said Colbeck, proudly. He lifted the painting off the easel. ‘How many of them could bring a steam locomotive to life like this? Precious few, I daresay.’ He regarded the painting with a fond smile. ‘Perhaps we should take it along with us to show them how it’s done.’

About the Author

EDWARD MARSTON was born and brought up in South Wales. A full-time writer for over thirty years, he has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre and is a former chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. Prolific and highly successful, he is equally at home writing children’s books or literary criticism, plays or biographies.

The Inspector Robert Colbeck series

The Railway Detective

The Excursion Train

The Railway Viaduct

The Iron Horse

Murder on the Brighton Express

The Silver Locomotive Mystery

Railway to the Grave

Blood on the Line

The Christopher Redmayne series

The King’s Evil

The Amorous Nightingale

The Repentant Rake

The Frost Fair

The Parliament House

The Painted Lady

The Captain Rawson series

Soldier of Fortune

Drums of War

Fire and Sword

Under Siege

Вы читаете Murder on the Brighton Express
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату