One reads, and reads, and reads… and one forgets how good it feels to consider the world through the jolly eyes of a clever and forgiving judge. P.D. James, for example.
Consider the small Anglican college of St Alselm’s, faithful not only to God and Church but to the immemorial tradition of English eccentricity.
Miss Betterton, sister of one of the fathers, is found at the bottom of the cellar stairs. Adam Dagliesh, ace investigator, investigates: Have you any idea what she was doing here, father?
Father Sebastian turned back and hesitated.
Then he said, “I’m afraid I have”. “Miss Betterton helped herself to a bottle of wine on a fairly regular basis… All the priests knew about it and I imagine that the ordinants … may have guessed. She never took more than one bottle about twice a week, and it was never the best wine. Naturally, I discussed the problem with Father John as tactfully as I could. I decided to take no action unless matters got out of hand. Father John regularly paid the price of the wine… Of course, we realized the danger the steep steps posed for an elderly woman. That’s why we had the stairs so brightly lit and replaced the rope with the wooden rails.”
Dagliesh said: “So, finding you had a regular pilferer in the community, you provided a secure bannister rail to facilitate the pilfering and to prevent her from breaking her neck.”
“Do you have difficulty with that, Commander?”
Posted By: () Date: 01/31/2005 11:15 am