Tuesday, June 12, 2007

# 3 In a Progressive Reading of Chapter One of A Trial of One by Mary E. Martin

What is Harry Jenkins up to now? Find out as we continue with the progressive reading of chapter one with Email #3 of A TRIAL OF ONE by Mary E. Martin

“Harry, I would never harm Archie or David. I loved them dearly.” Glancing downward, she spoke in darker tones, “Granted, George was another matter.”

Patiently, Norma explained away all the suspicious deaths to which she had confessed. “I was caught up in a terrible nightmare!”

He shook his head solemnly. “No. You got out of a real corner last time. Besides, admitting the confessions were false lands you right back here.”

Norma sat in obstinate silence. At last, she said quietly, “If you can’t get me out, then you’d better find the money, Harry.”

She was right, of course. As her legal guardian, he was sworn to locate all her assets and prepare an inventory. Even suspected ill-gotten gains had to be listed. Although George Pappas and Archie Brinks were dead, Harry was chilled by the prospect of an endless chain of ruthless pretenders.

As if reading his mind, Norma shifted the brim of her hat against the sun and said, “Really, Harry!” Her glance was withering. “You know everyone is dead. They never had any right to that money. It was Arthur’s and mine.”

“They didn’t think so!”

Norma, her jaw rigid, jerked away.

A fine time for her to become difficult, he thought. “Any more information will make my job a lot easier and less expensive,” he said.

Norma’s lower lip trembled. After a few sniffles, she spoke angrily. “I know you, Harry Jenkins! You think Arthur bilked a bunch of rich old biddies with some crazy scheme for a wonder drug.”

“I never said that. But George and Archie certainly had a fraudulent scheme. Who’s behind them?”

“You’re right!” she said primly. “Those two jailbirds were at the very center of the whole scheme. We knew nothing of it.”

“So where did all this money come from?”

“There was only a tiny bit to begin with, and it was just our share,” she insisted. “Arthur was a genius at investing!”

“All right, Norma. I’ll try to find the accounts with what I’ve got. You said I should start with the banks in London. But when I find them, we have to establish your right to ownership in court.”
“I told you it belonged to Arthur and me.”

“That’s not good enough. We need a court declaration stating you’re the lawful owner.”

Norma was aghast. “That’s useless! Those people laugh at court orders. Just scraps of paper.”

“What people?” he demanded. “Just a minute ago you said they were all dead!”

Her eyes glassed over. “So I did. Well then…” She began to fidget.

“What aren’t you telling me? Who’s behind Pappas and Archie Brinks?”

Norma gazed at him. In the beating sun, Harry loosened his tie.

“All I know is they’re a very dangerous, rapacious bunch, who won’t give a damn about any court orders!”

Norma’s expression chilled him. “Like who?” he asked more quietly.

She touched his hand. “Be very careful, Harry! They’re always watching and working together!”

“Where are they?” Harry pushed back his matted hair and swallowed hard.

“Mrs. Dinnick? There you are!” The nurse who had rescued him earlier was now marching around the rose bushes. “You’re due for your medication.”

Immediately, the intelligence in Norma’s eyes faded.

The nurse held out her hand. “Come with me, dear. It’s time for your injection.”

Harry knew Norma’s mad act was coming. “Don’t, Norma!” His desperation mounted swiftly.

“Who are these people?”

But the transformation was swift. Her face slackened, and her body slumped against his. The nurse helped her up, and Norma limped and swayed up the path after her. There was nothing he could do. Norma had raised the curtain just an inch, only enough for him to glimpse her shadowy world, where no one else could enter.

He stared at the huge roses looming grotesquely over him. In the lengthening shadows, the patients at the foot of the garden had grown to sinister proportions. And the damned crows were still circling! It seemed unnatural.

Alone, Harry climbed up the pathway. Norma would be lying down in a cool, dark room to receive her injection. Smiling docility would soon erase her shrewd intelligence along with any chance for further information. He knew he was on his own.

To enter the contest to win an autographed copy of A Trial of One, the third in THE OSGOODE TRILOGY by Mary E. Martin, go to http://www.theosgoodetrilogy.com/events.html to read this month's question. Then email me your answer. There will be a random drawing of those who submit the correct answer.

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