her, right up to her neck, deliberately covering the fearful gash in her throat.

Narraway stepped back to allow Dunkeld past.

“Yes,” Dunkeld said after a few moments. “Yes, that is one of the women from last night’s party.”

“You are certain?”

“Of course I’m certain!” Dunkeld shouted. Then he gasped, put his hand over his brow and pushed his fingers back over his scalp as if he had hair. “For the love of God, who else could it be? I don’t look at prostitutes’ faces. She’s ordinary enough. She was hired for her. . her skills, not her looks. Brown hair, blue eyes, like a hundred thousand other women.”

Pitt looked at her again, this time just at her face. Dunkeld was right; she was ordinary: pleasant features, clear skin, slightly crooked teeth. He guessed she had been in her early thirties. She had been handsomely built, with full breasts, small waist. That was very probably more where Dunkeld’s attention had been. He was right; who else could she be but one of last night’s prostitutes? She was certainly not one of the guests, and a maid would have been reported missing and identified by one of the other staff.

“Thank you, sir,” he said aloud. He reached forward and closed her eyes.

“Can’t we move her?” Dunkeld demanded. “This is. . obscene.

One of the women might find her, by accident. And we’ve got to have maids back here to change the linen, clean the rooms. Let’s put her somewhere decent, and get this cleared up. It would be very nice to keep it secret, but the staff will have to know. You’ll have to question them.”

“In a little while,” Pitt replied.

“I asked Narraway!” Dunkeld raised his voice again, temper flaring.

Narraway stared at him, eyes cold, his face almost expressionless.

When he spoke, his voice was fully under control. “Mr. Dunkeld, Inspector Pitt is an expert in murder. I employ him because I trust his knowledge and his skill. You will do as he tells you, otherwise I regret that we will not be able to accept the case. You can call in the local police. In fact, now that we are aware of it, we will be obliged to do so ourselves.”

Dunkeld searched Narraway’s face. His eyes were savage. He was hot with rage at being cornered. It was obviously a situation he had not been forced to endure in a long time. But he saw no wavering whatever, no fear in Narraway and no mercy. He yielded with sufficient grace to maintain his dignity, but Pitt had no doubt whatever that he would await his time for revenge.

“Look all you wish, Pitt,” he said grimly. “Then attend to it. Can you arrange for a mortuary van discreetly, disguised as a delivery of some sort?” His expression made it plain that the inquiry was as to his competence, not a request for his help.

“Once I have learned all I can,” Pitt answered him, “I will ask Mr. Tyndale to have the cupboard cleaned up.”

“See to it.” Dunkeld turned on his heel and strode away, leaving Narraway to follow him, and Pitt to do whatever he wished.

Pitt took the sheet off the body again and dropped it in the corridor, then looked once more at the scene in the linen cupboard, trying to vi-sualize what had happened. Why had they been here at all, this woman and whoever had killed her? With what? A knife of some sort; the slashes were clean-edged as far as he could see through the blood.

He looked around, felt between all the stacked and folded sheets, on the floor, under her body, then he did it again even more carefully.

There was no weapon, and no evidence that someone had wiped it here before removing it: there were no smear marks on any of the sheets he could see, only spatters and deep-soaked stains.

And where were her clothes? She would hardly have come here naked, no matter how wild the party. Prostitutes gave only what they were paid for; it did not normally include even kissing, let alone running around without clothing. But then he had never dealt with those who catered to such an elevated clientele as this. Still, the question remained: Where were her clothes? She had certainly arrived at the Palace in them.

He studied the body again, looking for marks, scratches or bruises, pinches, anything to indicate whether she had taken her garments off herself or they had been torn from her while alive, or stripped off after she was dead.

The wound in her stomach was more jagged than the one in her throat, as if it had been made through something resistant, like cloth.

It would be difficult to strip a lifeless body that was heavy, limp, and covered in blood. Why on earth do it? What could it be about her clothes that mattered so much? Something that would identify her killer?

Once the heart stops beating, blood gradually stops flowing, even with wounds like these. From the amount of blood on the sheets and the floor, she had to have died here. What was she doing in a linen cupboard? She was an invited guest, sanctioned by the Prince himself.

She had no need to hide.

Unless she had left the Prince, already asleep or in a drunken stupor, and gone to earn a little extra money? Or possibly simply to enjoy herself with someone else, someone without a better place in which to be private? The obvious answer was one of the servants.

Still, Pitt could see no sense to it. Why had he then killed her?

Had she threatened him with exposure? Would anyone care? Not a servant, unless his job were at risk. Would the Prince dismiss a servant for using the same prostitute he had used himself? What about one of the guests? Hardly, since their wives had gone to bed knowing the nature of the party they left. They might be hurt, angry, revolted, but no woman in such a position would expose herself to ridicule and, worse than that, public pity by drawing attention to her husband’s habits.

Pitt considered the possibility of a servant again. Perhaps one had been pressured into the theft of some small, valuable object, but killed his tormentor rather than fall into such a trap? No, that would not do. It did not answer the violence of the crime, the slashes across both throat and stomach. And who went to an assignation carrying the kind of knife that had done this damage?

There was nothing more to learn from this scene. He could sketch it quickly into his notebook to prompt his memory, then call a mortuary van and give them Narraway’s instructions to come and collect the body for the police surgeon.

He was on his way back down the stairs to find Narraway when he met Cahoon Dunkeld on the landing.

“Where have you been?” Dunkeld demanded, his face dark. “For heaven’s sake, man, don’t you realize this is urgent? What’s the matter with you?”

Pitt’s temper rose. Was it guilt, embarrassment, or fear that made Dunkeld so ill-mannered? Or was he simply an arrogant man who saw no need to be civil to those he considered inferior?

“Come on!” Dunkeld said abruptly. “His Royal Highness is waiting to see you.” He started up the stairs. “I assume you have made arrangements to have the body removed so the staff can clean up the cupboard and we can begin to get back to normal? With all your staring, did you find anything to indicate who this maniac is?”

Pitt ignored the question and kept up with Dunkeld, pace for pace. They were of equal height, although very differently built.

Dunkeld was muscular, heavy-shouldered. Pitt was gangly, inelegant in any fashionable sense, and yet he had a certain grace. He took more care of his clothes now than he had done in the past, but he still put too much into his pockets, with the result that they bulged and poked, very often weighing down one side of his coat. He was clean-shaven, but most of the time his hair was unruly and too long.

It took several minutes to reach Narraway waiting outside the door of the room where presumably the Prince of Wales would receive them.

Pitt’s anger evaporated and he found himself suddenly intensely nervous. He had met the Prince before, at the end of the Whitechapel matter, but he did not expect to be remembered. At that time all attention had been on Charles Voisey, the man who had apparently saved the Throne at such great personal risk. But Voisey was dead now, and the whole issue was history.

Narraway turned as they arrived, his face bleak, his mouth a thin line. He met Pitt’s eyes questioningly, but Dunkeld allowed them no time to speak to each other. He walked straight up to the door and knocked. It was answered immediately and he opened it and went in, closing it behind him just as Narraway stepped forward.

Narraway swiveled on his heel. “Anything?” he demanded of Pitt.

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