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Leo Bruce

Neck and Neck

Gollancz 1951

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MY BROTHER VINCENT'S telegram was on the breakfast table. It had been addressed, I noticed, to the telephone number of my London flat and must have been delivered by the first post. I had been out all the day before and there had been nobody in the flat to answer the telephone. It was marked as being handed in at 4.30 p.m. at Hastings. I read it again. "Aunt Aurora died suddenly this afternoon. Can get no answer from your phone. Will try in the morning. Vincent," I had hardly finished breakfast when the telephone bell rang and I heard Vincent's voice at the other end. It was not, I thought, quite his usual tone, which I am afraid I always found a little too self-satisfied and pedagogic. "This is Vincent." He began assertively enough, but became rather shaky as he went on. "This is a most frightful business, Lionel. No, no, I don't mean her death—she wasn't a young woman. It's that Dr. Rowley won't sign the death certificate and there's a police doctor here now. I do wish you'd come down as soon as you can. Yes, there are policemen here, too," "Of course I'll come," I answered at once. "When I got your telegram I planned to do so, anyway. But, Vincent, what was wrong with her? Aunt Aurora was never ill in her life." "I think I'd better tell you everything when you get here. Briefly, she felt terribly ill just after lunch, and by tea-time she was dead. Now when can you get here ?" "I'll be down by lunch-time," I replied, and rang off.

Leo Bruce

Classic Crime Fiction

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