A murder, a mystery and Agatha Christie

Chapter 2

After a while, Rose wanted to go get changed for the evening meal and shut herself in the bathroom, wanting to take advantage of the luxurious bathtub and the free bubble bath that had been provided. The Doctor had to knock on the door twice to make sure she hadn’t fallen asleep in it. She finally came out, dressed in one of the bathrobes and went to choose a dress. She had been surprised that while they were on deck, a fairly large trunk had arrived, filled with dresses and other clothing and some really nice jewellery so she had hung them all up, deciding what to wear for their first night on board.

She choose a cream coloured dress with a lace collar and a pearl necklace and brushed her hair back, wondering how women managed before the invention of the personal hairdryer. She just hoped her hair would dry in time but it was warm so she didn’t worry too much. When she came out of the bedroom, she noticed that the Doctor had already changed into what he called his unlucky black suit but with it being the first night, he wanted to make an impression.

“Wow, look at you!” the Doctor remarked, letting out a low whistle. “You’re really getting into that thirties thing. There’s still half an hour before dinner, do you want to go get a drink at the bar?”

Rose picked up a thirties style women’s handbag and said, “Yeah, ok. You think I look ok? I’ve not overdone it have I?”

The Doctor looked at her. “No, you look lovely. I don’t know about this suit though, you know what happened the last time I wore it in the other universe.”

“Don’t even mention that. We’re on a river boat, no Cybermen here hopefully.”

The Doctor smiled at her and kissed her cheek. “Shall we go?” he asked, taking her arm.

They walked up on deck to the bar and dining area and saw Agatha Christie and her husband at the bar and went to join them.

“Ah, Doctor and Mrs Smith, I looked your names up, you neglected to give us your name. Will you join us at dinner?” Max asked.

“Yes, brilliant, Rose would like that wouldn’t you Sweetie?”

Rose swore if he called her that one more time she would kick him where it hurt or the Timelord equivalent of it. She smiled instead.

“Have you met any of the other passengers yet?” Agatha asked them, looking around as people were coming in.

“No, been getting ready for dinner but I think I may have eaten too much earlier. Do you know any of them?”

“No, not yet but there is plenty of time. Ah, we are being called to dinner.”

The Doctor offered his arm to Rose. “This way Rose, I hope you got your appetite back?” he smiled.

At least he hadn’t called her sweetie this time or she would be leaning over the side of the boat.

Over dinner, the Doctor did most of the talking for the two of them, Rose was being polite and trying to remember which piece of cutlery to use for which course, holding back to see what others were doing and managed to fumble through to the end of the meal.

“I think I need a walk around the deck after that,” Rose remarked when they were having another drink afterwards.

The Doctor smiled and helped Rose off the stool she was sitting on then opened the door. It was quite warm on deck even for the evening but he offered to go back to their cabin to fetch a cardigan for her.

There were other people at the opposite end of the deck but none of them looked her way. She didn’t see a shadow behind one of the life-rafts. The Doctor came back and wrapped the white cardigan around her shoulders.

“There you go, it will get cold later if you want to stay on deck for a while. The boat only goes at about 10mph you know, that’s why there isn’t much of a breeze. Best watch out for insects though, stay away from the lights.”

Rose laughed. “Now you tell me.”

Rose could hear music coming from the passenger cabin and wanted to go and dance.

“Rose, you know I’ve got two left feet,” the Doctor laughed. They hadn’t danced around the Tardis for quite some time and he not in that form.

“Don’t you go doing any of those modern dances then,” he relented as she gave him one of her sways that always got to him and he always gave in.

She kissed his cheek. “Thanks.”

After they had danced for a few hours, Rose declared she was tired and wanted to go back to their cabin, wondering if he would volunteer to take the chair or if she would have to lock the bedroom door on him.

“So, I get the bed, you take the chair?” Rose asked as she flung her shoes across the bedroom floor.

“Hmm, so I sleep in the living area on that horrible pink chair?”

“You don’t sleep, remember?”

“No but you do, I also know exactly how long for. What am I going to do? There’s nowhere else to go. I never thought of that. I suppose I could go down and see if there are any books I can borrow. Won’t be long, I’ll take the key.”

“Ok then, I might just be asleep when you get back. Can I trust you enough not to have to lock the bedroom door?” Rose laughed.

“Rose Tyler, don’t you trust me?”

She just gave him one of her famous smiles. Getting ready for bed, finding a long silky pale green nightgown amongst the clothing, she thought she would chance leaving the bedroom door open, just to see if he could be tempted. It would be a good test since he had nowhere to hide.

Rose was woken just after 7am by a screaming coming from the deck above. The Doctor was already putting on his trainers and was halfway out of the door. Rose hurriedly got dressed and picked up their cabin key. Joining the others on deck, there lay a man with a long knife in his back, a pool of blood around him. The ship’s purser was already trying to get people to step back but in front of all of them stood Agatha Christie.

They had just docked, one of the crew had found the man but they were not in a port as such, there were no authorities to greet them. The purser ordered two crew members to move the man’s body out of sight below to the crew area. The Doctor stepped forward.

“So a death on the Nile eh? Just up your street Agatha. Any ideas?”

The woman looked at him. “You think this is amusing Doctor? Just exactly who are you? You don’t look or act like any professor of physics.”

The Doctor pulled a face. “Ok, you got me.” He reached in his pocket and brought out the psychic paper and flashed it around. “Chief Inspector Smith from Scotland Yard. I’m on holiday here with my wife, really. I knew nothing much would get past you. So, why don’t you get all the passengers into the bar and we’ll see exactly who is missing. Unless you already know who this is?”

Just then, there was another scream from behind as a woman stepped on deck. “Roger!” The woman was held back by one of the waiters who had just also come on deck.

The purser spoke up. “Please Madam, just step back. Who exactly is this man?”

“Roger. Roger Mycroft, my husband. How – how did this happen? He came on deck to watch the boat docking.”

Agatha stepped forward and put her arm on the woman. “Mrs Mycroft, why don’t you come with me, into the bar?” She led the now sobbing woman away.

Rose was now taking it all in. Surely Agatha Christie didn’t get followed around by a murderer? She caught The Doctor’s arm as he was about to follow everyone inside.

“You are kidding? A real murder and you expect Agatha Christie to solve it? And what’s with the chief inspector thing? You could have got me out of being your wife.”

Rose thought he’d said that on purpose.

“Now, now, Rose. They still frown upon men and woman sharing a cabin if they’re not married. Do you want to get us thrown off?”

Rose didn’t reply. Well if he wanted her to pose as his wife, he’d better stop calling her sweetie or it would be a swift divorce before he knew what had hit him. Plus, he could show her a little affection if he really tried. She thought she would have some fun.

The body was taken away and a crew assigned to clean the deck. People were gathering in the bar area, breakfast being forgotten for the time being. Agatha was consoling the poor woman whose husband had just be killed and she was looking at The Doctor.

He went to sit at a table and asked everyone to form a line, Rose sitting at his side. He had brought out a notebook and pencil out of one of his jacket pockets.

“Rose, write everyone’s names down and what cabin they are in and if they can vouch for each other.”

One by one, people gave their names and all swore they had been with each other when they had woken up. Of course, The Doctor could rule certain people out, him and Rose for a start plus Agatha and her husband. Since they were all meant to go ashore to visit some temple ruins, most of the passengers wanted to finish getting dressed and getting their breakfast so they were all told they could go.

The captain was going to radio ahead to a port further up the river that had a police presence but they were two days away or they could turn back. The Doctor supposed a dead body in the 1930′s was nothing to send a police boat down the river about. Rose was about to make a joke about CSI but changed her mind.

Nearly everyone went ashore, the dead man’s wife locked herself in her cabin, refusing to come out. When they all got back on board, Agatha gathered everyone in the bar area.

“Right then, since it seems everyone had an alibi, we can only presume someone is covering up or it was a crew member or someone posing as a crew member. The Doctor and I will interview all the crew after dinner when they finish their shifts. My advice is don’t be alone, stay with your husbands and wives and if you have to be alone, lock your doors and only come on deck with someone and stay where someone can see you. We will dock tomorrow as scheduled then the day after, the police will meet us and they will want to question everyone.”

Everyone went to get changed, including Rose, who was followed closely by her temporary husband.

“Rose, you know that goes for you as well, I don’t want you to be on your own. Make sure you don’t let anyone in if I go out, not even cabin crew.”

“Yeah, I got it. I’ll keep the windows locked as well. Where are you planning on going anyway?”

“To question the crew after dinner. You can stay in the bar if you want and wait for me there.”

Rose put her arms around him but he let go, stepping back. “Do you think the killer will go after anyone else?” Rose asked.

“I really don’t know Rose but I won’t leave you alone, I promise.”

He opened his arms and Rose walked back towards him. “Why don’t you get changed? I’ll be right here. I think everyone will be safe during the day.”

He put his arms around her and Rose put hers around his neck. He kissed her forehead but Rose looked up at him. He thought this was one of the occasions she needed a kiss.

They walked hand in hand to the dining room and bar, joining Agatha and Max. Agatha looked at them. She knew there was something about them, they were no ordinary couple, newly-weds or not.

“Agatha, I trust you will help me question the crew after dinner?” the Doctor asked her.

“Of course Doctor but what about your wife, don’t you want her to help?”

“Oh, I only got her to help earlier because you were busy with Mrs Mycroft.”

“Actually, it’s Lady Mycroft, I looked her up. She said her husband had no enemies, they had been in Egypt for two weeks. It seems it was a random choice, unless he saw something he shouldn’t have done. His wife said she was awake at six and he said he was going on deck so we know the time of death was between six and seven this morning. We need to question the whereabouts of the crew. It will save a lot of time when we reach the next town.”

“Yes, right. Let’s go have dinner. Rose, you’ll be ok if you stay in the bar until we come back, won’t you?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I won’t leave until you come back. If I go on deck, I’ll make sure I’m not on my own.”

They chatted through dinner, Agatha asking where they came from and The Doctor sticking to his invented story but he managed to avoid a lot of the questions.

He and Agatha were about to leave to question the crew when he took Rose to one side.

“Rose, promise me this time you won’t wander off.” He kissed her cheek.

Rose put her arms around him. “What was that about not getting ‘kissy’ in front of everyone?” she smiled.

“Well I think under the circumstances, I could make a few allowances, don’t you?”

Rose kissed his cheek back. “Yeah but can you stop calling me Sweetie? I think I’ll be sick if you call me that again.”

The Doctor smiled. Oh boy, would he keep calling her that now!

“Anything you say Dear.”

Rose pretending to hit his arm but he stopped her. “Now Rose, no physically assaulting your husband in public.”

He kissed her cheek again. “See you in a bit, keep out of trouble,” he winked.

While they were off questioning the crew, Rose went to sit with Max since she hadn’t really met any of the others. They all looked a bit stuck up to her.

When they had not returned after an hour, Rose decided she needed some air and asked Max if he would accompany her outside to which he agreed since they both could watch out for each other.

“So Rose, where did you and the Doctor meet? You seem a lot younger than he does.”

What was she supposed to say? “We met at the theatre actually, a bit of a whirlwind romance.” She decided to turn the tables. “What about you? It must be difficult, I mean with your wife writing all the time.”

“Oh, she helps me as well as writing her novels. Fortunately she shares the same passion for the past as I do.”

Rose was gazing up at the sky, it was just getting dark. She wished now they had brought the Tardis with them.

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