Olivia looked beautiful in black.
At the inquest it was decided that death was caused by a single self-inflicted bullet wound to the head. The autopsy had revealed a very high level of alcohol in the blood stream, and the coroner recorded a verdict of suicide whilst the balance of the mind was disturbed and released the body for burial.
She made a lovely widow, slim and elegant, her face pale behind a patterned black veil. David couldn’t take his eyes off her. And now he was counting the days until he could make her his own.
They had agreed that they must still be very careful, very discreet, with no hint of a motive for foul play. But they could meet for business reasons.
Olivia had handed the administration of Drake’s estate to Mr David Gilmore to apply for Letters of Administration since there was no will. Other businessmen in the town were coming to him, and a couple of builders building big estates had instructed him to do the conveyancing work.
Olivia’s instructions to David were basically the same as her husband’s except, of course, without the dogs.
“I want you to sell everything, David. Sell the house as quickly as you can. Take any reasonable offer, even if it’s below what you think it’s worth. I just want it sold.”
So when he received a reasonable offer below market value he phoned Olivia to get her consent, which she gave.
“Oh, by the way, Mrs Drake, I have a few documents that need your signature. If you like I can drop them off this evening.”
And by seven-thirty she was in his arms.
“As soon as the house is sold, let’s move away where we can be together. I’ll set up my business somewhere else.”
She gently moved away.
“We still need to be careful. The police can still come back. And your business is doing so well now. Let’s wait a little longer.”
She sat on the sofa.
“Come and show me these papers I need to sign.”
So he sat beside her, but not too close, which was just as well, because the drawing-room door opened and Mrs Norris came in.
She stood before the couple, her face serious, unsmiling.
“Is something the matter, Mrs Norris?” Olivia asked.
Mr Norris pursed her lips.
“I’m afraid there is, Mrs Drake, yes. You see . . . you see, I know.”
There was a silence.
Olivia and David avoided looking at each other.
“Know what, Mrs Norris?”
David thought there was a slight tremor in Olivia’s voice.
“I know about you and him.” She glanced at David. “I know that you’ve been carrying on. You’re lovers. Only a blind man, or a drunk, could fail to see it.” She looked at David. “You can’t keep your eyes off her.”
“Mrs Norris!” David protested. “This is absolute nonsense. And even if it were true, what business could it possibly be of yours?”
Mrs Norris shook her head and went on, pale but determined.
“That’s not the worst of it. You killed him, the pair of you.”