CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
13 Belgravia Park Road
Guy located his warrant card then knocked once on the mahogany street door. “I hope we’re right about this, Henri. Stay here till it’s over.”
Henrietta grimaced, standing on the pavement behind him, selecting a lens to couple into her Nikon. “You’re the policeman. Don’t you know?”
Guy had to admit he didn’t. He never knew until the perp coughed up. The trick was to look like you knew. The PA opened the door. This time he didn’t wait for an invitation to enter. Guy pressed through and strode on alone into Lady Irewood’s office drawing room. He wanted to take control of the interview from the start. A confident air was a necessity in his job. Elizabeth Irewood sat in her desk chair and watched his entrance. Her brow furrowed.
“You back, Guy? What are you here for?”
Guy didn’t need pleasantries. He wanted to get straight to it. The dead blonde deserved that from him. He had a last picture of her in the silver cocktail dress in his head, sitting in the Cabinet Room at Number Ten and he remembered the smell of Chanel. He introduced himself formally.
“Lady Irewood, I’m Detective Inspector Guy Royce from New Scotland Yard. I need to speak to you regarding the death of Marie Montague.”
Guy showed his warrant card. Her ladyship took a sharp breath. “What? You falsely presented yourself to me that day with Miss Fox?”
He offered no explanation. His rules of conduct only demanded he expose the wrongdoers by whatever means necessary and the subterfuge had been vital. He was happy that the end justified the means. She composed herself. “You know who the killer is?”
Guy lied. “Yes. You told me you took some dresses to Claridges that night? The night of her death. You remember that?”
She was watching his face for any reaction. “Of course. I did. You’ve found the madman who did this?”
Guy tried to unnerve her. “Lady Elizabeth, did you find Marie in bed there with your husband?”
She gripped the chair arms. “Of course not! What are you saying!”
Guy pressed. “Your rage would be quite understandable, Lady Elizabeth. Your good friend, Marie and your husband.”
“That’s preposterous! How dare you say these things.” Her knuckles whitened.
He postured. “She was taking your husband away, threatening your business. Possibly even your title? And now Marie was pregnant with his baby?”
Her eyes widened. “You’re talking nonsense! You must leave–”
“–or were you lovers, too? You came on to Henrietta, here in your office when we visited you previously. Did you love Marie, too?”
She blanched. “Stop this! Get out!”
Guy ignored her, pressing home his question. “Where did you go after you left Claridges that night?”
“I came home. I was here..”
“And you didn’t go out again that night?”
“Certainly not! Why would I? It was late.”
“Come on, Lady Elizabeth. You were seen entering Marie’s house in Chelsea. Half past twelve in the morning.”
“There’s no denying it. We have a witness. You were seen and identified. It’s over. Tell the truth.”
Lady Irewood was stunned into silence, then anger contorted her face. She took a deep breath and her eyes narrowed as she spat out. “She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew! But why do it to ME! She knew I loved her. She didn’t have to do THAT! I told her I couldn’t conceive. I confided in her. She was my friend! She was supposed to help me…my friend...my treacherous friend!” She slumped back into the chair, her fury spent.
Guy asked quietly. “And you killed her?”
Elizabeth Irewood had withdrawn into herself, her eyes glazed with the guilt of the memory. Consumed by it, she nodded agreement and Guy moved to her side, helping her to stand.
“Lady Elizabeth, you need to come with me now to New Scotland Yard.”
Without protest she allowed Guy to lead her out. They walked down the stone steps into the street. Henrietta’s flashgun burst over them as the paparazzo fired her motor drive, filling her camera’s memory card with images of the arrest. She didn’t stop until the woman was placed into the rear of a police patrol car which drove off, blue lights flashing, clearing a path through the afternoon traffic filling Belgravia Park Road.
Within minutes Lady Elizabeth Irewood was gone.