A Taste of Murder-New

Sue Arengo

chapter one

I arrive at The Grange

'Claremont Private Nursing Agency. This is Angela speaking. Can I help you?'

'Angela? It's Anne... Anne Harrison. Have you got the information about that new job?'

'Oh, hello Anne. Wait a minute... Yes, here it is! We need a private nurse for Mrs Kitty Blakemore.'

'Kitty Blakemore? The famous writer?'

'Yes,' said Angela. 'That's right. But, listen Anne, there isn't really much wrong with her. Her heart is a little weak, but she's not really ill. She's just a hypochondriac.'

'Oh, I see... one of those. What's the address?'

'The Grange, Kingsfield, Sussex,' said Angela. 'She wants you to be there tomorrow morning. Good luck!'

Early next morning, I drove to Kingsfield, a pretty little village near the sea. The Grange was just outside the village, at the end of a private road. It was a large grey house.

I rang the bell and waited. No one answered, so I rang it again. At last, the door opened and a young blonde girl appeared. She wore a dark blue dress and a white apron. She stood there and stared at me.

'Yes?' she said.

'I'm Nurse Harrison,' I said. 'The nursing agency sent me.'

'Oh, yes. Come in.'

I followed her into the hall. A tall woman, about forty years old, was coming down the stairs.

'Nurse Harrison?' she asked. We shook hands. 'I'm Stella Vixon, the housekeeper.'

She was quite beautiful, but also a little strange and frightening. She was very controlled and there was something mysterious about her eyes.

'I hope you'll be happy here,' she said. 'Charlotte will show you to your room now.' Then she smiled at me strangely and walked away.

I followed Charlotte up the stairs and down a long corridor. She pushed open a door at the end.

'Here's your room,' she said.

I put down my suitcase. I waited for her to go away but she didn't. Instead, she sat down on my bed.

'Why do you want to work in this place?' she asked.

'It's just a job,' I replied.

'Mrs Blakemore's terrible,' said Charlotte. 'She's not really sick. She just wants to lie in bed all day and give us orders. I don't know why her husband likes her. He's famous too, you know. He writes wonderful music. Have you ever heard of him? No? Well, he's lucky. He's away at the moment. He's working in Wales. Poor us! We have to stay here with her!'