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Valentine Williams

Death Answers the Bell

Hodder & Stoughton 1931
Jacket artwork by TK

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FIRST PAGE

ON this fine May morning, which ushered in a fateful day of her life, Miss Aline Innesmore came tripping through Mayfair Row. The day seemed fraught with importance to her by reason oŁ the fact that, somewhere between ten and eleven of the clock that evening, Lady Julia Rossway, with whom she was staying at Frant House, was to present her at Court. Mayfair Row wears a forlorn and weatherbeaten air. The bricked-in midden dumps, the hoary granite setts, the horse rings rusting on the walls, still speak of the day when the great lords and ladies occupying the proud mansions whose sombre silhouettes rise from the adjacent square above the lowly stable roofs, stabled their horses and carriages in this placid Mayfair backwater. But now coach-house and stall have been modernized into garages and Mayfair Row, behind its battered brick and blistered paint, seems to be brooding over fallen greatness. In the light of what took place after one would have said that, for all the May sunshine, a witch-doctor would have smelt out death as it hovered over the mews, would have shrieked out in horror on coming into sight of the house with the yellow door. But 23 is neither intuitive nor imaginative, and that part of the future into which young Miss Innesmore was peering centred solely about her frock, her hair and her forthcoming, appalling ordeal before the Throne of their Britannic Majesties. She did not find the mews in the least repellent. Its homely atmosphere appealed to her with the intimacy and picturesqueness of a Dutch Old Master, rounding off, as it were, the eternal wonder which the splendours

Valentine Williams     TK Artist

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