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SHORT STORY: The Tischler inheritance — a Ms Winslow investigation: CHAPTER 1


Spotlight - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 7/2019 vom 29.05.2019

Ms Winslow besucht mal wieder ihre Nichte Lucy in Deutschland. Eines Nachts findet sie eine Leiche im Wohnzimmer…


MEDIUM AUDIO

Dorothy Winslow turned the bedside table light on and gently shook her niece, Lucy.

“Lucy, dear, you need to get up”, she whispered. “But don’t wake the children…” Trotsky, who always slept upstairs when Lucy’s husband, Klaus Tischler, was away on business, wagged his tail at Dorothy, then settled down again with a sigh. Lucy squinted at the clock next to her bed.

“What’s the matter, Aunt Dot?” she asked, yawning.

“It’s two o’clock in the morning.”

“There’s an elderly gentleman ...

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... wearing a beret sitting in the armchair next to the fire in the sitting room”, said Dorothy. Lucy sat up, now wide awake.

“Poor Klaus! No wonder he…” but then Dorothy had to stop because the vicar, Frau Apfelbaum, had begun the service.

Afterwards, Lucy and Klaus provided food for everybody at their house. At some point, Dorothy found herself in a corner with the two sisters. How very different they were. Gertrude was tall and thin and peered down at people like a stork hunting for frogs around her feet. Evangelina was short and round, and Dorothy suspected that she wore a wig.

Her black suit was at least two sizes too small for her.

“You’re Lucy’s aunt, then?” asked Gertrude as she removed a bit of lettuce caught between her teeth with a long fingernail.

“Where are your manners, Gertrude?” interrupted Evangelina. “You must introduce yourself and shake the hands. So you do it in England!” She transferred the chicken leg she’d been holding to her plate and offered her hand. “Miss Winslow, can I me introduce, Evangelina Steinherz, and that is my sister Gertrude Grüber. How do you do?”

“How do you do?” answered Dorothy, shaking Gertrude’s sticky hand. “Please, call me Dorothy.”

“So, you were the one who found poor Peter, then.

How did that happen?” asked Gertrude.

“I couldn’t sleep”, said Dorothy. “So, I came downstairs to make some cocoa and found Mr Tischler sitting in the chair opposite the secretaire.”

Evangelina looked confused. “The secretary?”

“She means Peter’s old writing desk”, explained Gertrude, pointing out the piece of furniture on the other side of the room. “The one he gave to Lucy when she and Klaus got married.”

“Oh, yes!” said Evangelina, and Dorothy noticed a small frown appear. “The Biedermeier piece of our mother’s. Most generous of Peter.” She pressed her lips together as if to stop herself saying anything else.

“Well, I said ‘hello’, but he didn’t answer and, when I got up close, I could see he was dead”, Dorothy continued.

“I woke Lucy and she called the doctor and his nurse.”

“I told the agency to fire that damn nurse”, said Gertrude. “She had one job, to make sure Peter didn’t come to any harm, and she blew it.”

“But what for was he coming here?” said Evangelina.

“That is what I am wondering.”

“Perhaps he just wanted to see the house one last time”, said Dorothy. “I understand Lucy and Klaus have left it very much as it was when he lived here.”

“Yeah, well, that’s going to change”, said Gertrude.

“Soon as Klaus moves out, we’ll knock this place down. We could put four houses on this land, sell them and make a load of money for all of us… for Klaus, too.”

“Oh, yes”, added Evangelina enthusiastically. “My husband, you know, he told Peter much times he could make big profit with this land. But Peter say always no, no, no. The house is for the young ones to live in. Now, we see!”

“Oh, dear”, said Dorothy. “But doesn’t the house belong to Klaus and Lucy? Lucy said Mr Tischler promised to…”

The sisters smirked.

“That’s what she believed”, said Gertrude. “But as the lawyers don’t have a will and nothing has been found at his apartment, everything will be split amongst the three of us.”


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