A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell 3 (Chapters 8 – 11)



The members of the Women’s Abstinence Association are upset about Miss Stapleton’s death, but they think that they need to go on and continue the work Miss Stapleton has done for years.

Freddie visits St John in the offices of his newspaper. Jameson had told him that he suspected that the Radical, St John’s newspaper, was used for sending messages, and he showed Freddy an ad, which started with Daddy Dearest and a series of numbers, and this is just one of many. So now Freddie discreetly questions St John about it, but he doesn’t know anything about the sender. As luck will have it, when the post arrives, there is another add from Daddy Dearest. At that moment a few other people arrive, Miss Flowers, who wants to put an ad about her crocheted garments herself. I am wondering if there is more to Miss Flowers than meets the eye, and even though the woman is not young, I have even considered that she might be part of Intelligence working for Jameson. After all, the password that Jameson told Freddie he must used if approached by the secret agent is about green and purple mittens, and maybe that is the kind of password someone like Miss Flowers might come up with. Apart from Miss Flowers, the Schusters and Ruth arrive, and Mrs Schuster invites Freddie to the soiree in her house on Saturday.

Freddie decides to attend the Communist Alliance meeting the following week. Mildred is there, and he decides to ask her what she thinks. Mildred tells him about what things made Miss Stapleton suspicion. One was when she walked into the kitchen and found Mr Schuster and Everett together and they stopped talking as soon as she stepped in, and the second is a book that Miss Stapleton found, and Mr Bishop snatched from her hands straightaway. Freddie wonders whether this is the book used to send messages through the Radical. Then she tells Mildred that he is going to do a little investigation of his own as he knows the people involved and these might not be ready to speak to the police. Mildred thinks that she can help, trying to glean some information from the members of the association, and even though Freddie tries to dissuade her, Mildred is like a dog with a bone, and won’t give up, especially when she hears that Freddie is going to the Schusters’ soiree and she decides to go with Freddie.

On Saturday Freddie and Mildred go to the Schusters’, and Mildred makes a stance, trying to adapt to the environment. She smokes a cigarette even though she has never smoked in her life, and she asks for a cocktail, which she simply sips, even though she belongs to the Temperance Association. Freddie talks to the people there. He finds out that Bishop used to be a tailor and came into contact with the Communist Alliance through Trevett, who used to be a client of his. Dyer is also there, and he starts asking him why Freddie has come to the soiree and he should be careful, but before he can say anything else, they are interrupted.

As the men and women gather to listen to some people playing the piano, Freddie uses the opportunity to explore upstairs. He finds the Schusters’ bedrooms, and then at the end of the corridor there is a study with a bookcase full or books, and a typewriter. Freddie had rescue from the bin the envelope that contained the ad for Daddy Dearest, and from the typed address, he could gather that the ‘e’ and ‘R’ had some definite features, so he uses a paper to see if the typewriter in the study could be the one which was used to send the ad, and the two characters match the ones in the envelope. Then he hears someone outside, so he quickly turns off the light and hides behind a wardrobe. Two men come into the room and switch on the light, and it is then that he remembers that he left the paper in the typewriter, and with the light on anybody could see him reflected in the window. Who are the people who have surprised Freddy? Will they discover him?

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