The apparent confirmation of the new information (or at least a re-telling of it) indeed came later on that very day when one of the hotel maids, Agnes, spoke to Simmonds as he walked along the corridor back to the suite. She said that Eric had implored her to speak with him ‘but not here’ she said, begging him to follow a short distance, then unlocking what transpired to be the door to a linen cupboard and ushering him in. It was a small room. Shelves laden with clean and crisp white towels and bedding deadened the sound of their voices.
‘I’ve seen that Miss Margaret’ said Agnes in a distasteful tone ‘go into rooms with that brother of hers and I’ve heard ‘em and I know what they was up to. Incest it is. Disgusting. Pretending she’s so proper and all’. This had been Eric’s great revelation.
‘How do you know exactly what they were doing?’ asked Simmonds. ‘Presumably you saw nothing?’
‘I heard them. I know the noises. I’m not that innocent’
‘So how often was this?’
‘Oh regular. At least a couple of times a week. Been going on for ages. Get what she deserved did she? Did her Father find out? No doubt the brother will be next, mark my words’.
‘Good gracious. What a pickle’ exclaimed Piccolo after Simmonds had briefed her. ‘But does it have any relevance to the actual murder?’ Simmonds had no answer to that. ‘In a cupboard with a maid’ said Piccolo trying to lighten the atmosphere ‘that must be one of your fantasies. I know how you love black stockings’.
‘Can we really believe this story?’ said Piccolo as she and Simmonds lay in bed that night. ‘What I don’t understand is why, if you were going to behave this way, you would do so in your own front yard?’
‘Excitement’ proposed Simmonds.
‘Perhaps, but it does all sound rather preposterous’
‘Agreed. Still, by the book, I should be logging it’
Piccolo had the bit well and truly between her teeth. ‘We should do some digging around’ she said ‘see how reliable this Eric and Agnes are’
‘Well if it’s all a fiction and they have a motive for such slander I’d certainly like to know what it is’ said Simmonds.
‘So what are we doing for Christmas?’ said Piccolo changing tack and snuggling up to her husband.
‘I thought we were having a quiet time at home?’ he responded, fearing a plot to change that idyll.
‘Chance would be a fine thing’ Piccolo responded. ‘At least we don’t have family pestering us this year’. She paused. He had anticipated well. ‘Louise and Alexander have asked us over to theirs’ she said.
‘Your agent!’ he exclaimed.
‘Darling I know how you love dear Louise, but I’m quite successful and she’s keen to keep me on-side. Of course, Christmas away does presuppose the case will be done and dusted by then’. He hardly needed reminding – there would be no break until closure.