The Clarkson family lived in the country near Cambridge，about half a mile from the nearest village and about a mile from the river．They had a big，old house with a beautiful garden，a lot of flowers and many old．trees．
One Thursday morning in July，Jackie came in from the garden．She was a tall，fat woman，thirty years old．It was the hottest day of the year，but she wore a warm brown skirt and yellow shirt．She went into the kitchen to get a drink of water．Just then the phone rang．
'Cambridge 1379，'Jackie said．
'Hello．This is Diane．I want to talk to Mother．'
'Mother isn't here，'Jackie said．'She's at the doctor's．'
'Nothing's wrong，'Jackie said．'Why are you telephoning？ You are going to come this weekend？ Mother wants everyone to be here．'
'Yes，I want to come，'Diane said．'I'm phoning because I have no money for the train ticket．'
'No money！Mother is always giving you money！'
'This phone call is very expensive，'Diane said coldly．'Tell Mother please．I need the money．'
Jackie put the phone down．She took a cigarette from her bag and began to smoke．She felt angry because her sister al-ways asked for money．Diane was twenty years old， the youngest in the family．She lived in London，in one room of a big house．She wanted to be a singer．She sang very well but she could never get work．
Jackie went back into the kitchen and began to make some sandwiches．Just then the back door opened，and her mother came in．
'It's very hot！'Molly said．She took off her hat and put it down on the table．She was a tall，dark woman with beautiful eyes．
Two big，black dogs came into the kitchen after her and ran across to her．She sat down and put her hands on their heads．
Jackie put the sandwiches on the table．'Mother，'she said，'Diane phoned．She wants money for her train ticket．'
Molly closed her eyes for a minute．Then she stood up．'This afternoon I want you to get the house ready for the weekend，'she said．'Oh，and please go to the village later and get my tablets．'
Molly went to the door．
'Mother，please wait a minute，'Jackie said．'Peter Hobbs came here this morning．He's very angry with you about that letter．He lost his job，you know．Why did you write to his office？He wants to talk to you about it．'
'Well，I don't want to talk to him，'Molly said．She opened the door．
'But Mother，you don't understand．He's seventeen，and it was his first job．He's very，very angry．He says… he says he's going to kill you！'
Molly did not answer．She went out of the room and closed the door．
It was seven o'clock on Saturday evening．Jackie stood at the window．A car drove slowly up to the front door and stopped．A tall man with white hair got out，It was Albert，the husband of Molly's sister．
'Here's Uncle Albert，'Jackie said．'Always late．'
She went out of the room and opened the front door．Albert came in and went at once to Molly．
'Oh，dear．I'm very late．I am sorry，'Albert said．'Fifty years old today！What a wonderful dress！'
Molly did not smile．'Thank you，Albert．We're all getting older．'Tonight she wore a long black dress，and the two black dogs sat at her feet．'Everyone is here now．Let's go in to dinner，'she said．
Everyone stood up and went to the table．
'The table looks nice，Jackie．What wonderful flowers！'Diane said．She was a beautiful girl，with long black hair and dark blue eyes．She wore a long red dress．
Albert sat down next to Roger Roger was Molly's son，her second child．He lived in Cambridge，in an expensive house．
'Someone called Peter stopped me down the road，'Albert said．'Who is he？ He's very angry with you，Molly．'
'That's Peter Hobbs，from the house across the road，'Jackie said quickly．She looked across the table at Molly．'He lost his job last week and he's angry with everyone．'
'It's Molly he doesn't like，'Albert said．
Molly said nothing．Everyone began to eat．
'How is Aunt Annie？'Jackie asked．
'She's much worse now，'Albert said．'She stays in bed all the time．She needs a nurse twenty-four hours a day．'
'I am sorry，'Molly said．
Albert stopped eating and looked at Molly．'It's very difficult and very expensive，you know．Annie feels very unhappy because you don't visit her，Molly．She loves you very much．You are her little sister；you know．'
Molly closed her eyes for a minute．' I know that，Albert．I am fifty years old，but I am always her“little”sister．Well，we can talk about it later．'
Albert laughed．'Oh yes，we can talk later．It's always later with you，Molly．Always tomorrow．Never today．'
Jackie watched her mother．Her mother was angry with Albert．Molly never liked talking about her sister Annie and she did not like visiting her because she was very ill．
'That's a beautiful dress，Diane．Is it new？'Jackie asked．
'Thank you，Jackie．Yes，it's new，and very expensive．I got it on Wednesday，'Diane said．She smiled at Jackie．
'All your things are expensive，'Jackie said．She remembered the phone call on Thursday about the train ticket．
'I don't like cheap things，'Diane said．'And I'm going to need more money soon．I want to go to America．Can you help me，Roger？'
'Oh no，'Roger said．'Nobody wants to help you， Diane．You don't like working，we all know that，but we all want you to get a job．'
Diane laughed．'It doesn't matter，Roger．I don't need your help．Mother always helps me．Mother loves me best．'She suddenly smiled，a quick，beautiful smile．But her eyes were cold．
Jackie looked at her mother．Molly's face was white．Jackie did not understand．Was her mother afraid of Diane？Jackie wanted her mother to be happy today．
'Would you like some more meat，Uncle Albert？'Jackie asked．'Roger，can you give everyone some more to drink？
Roger got up and began to give more wine to everyone．'This is good wine，'he said．
Molly smiled for the first time．'Yes，your father loved this wine．He often drank it．'
'Yes，'Albert said，and looked at Molly．'Expensive，too．'
'Would you like to meet Mr Briggs this weekend，Roger？Jackie asked quickly．'He's the new man at the farm．He wants to meet you．'
'Briggs？Briggs？'Molly said，suddenly angry．'Don't talk to me about that man．I don't like him．He wants half my garden for his farm．He needs more land，he says．I don't want him in my house．He's always dirty and he has bad teeth．'
Jackie stood up and got her bag．'Excuse me，I want a cigarette．'
'Cigarettes！Always a cigarette in your mouth，'Molly said．'I don't like it．Cigarettes aren't good for you．'
Jackie began to smoke．She felt angry but she said nothing．She wanted her mother to be happy this evening，but it was very difficult．
Roger drank some more wine．'Well，Mother，perhaps Mr Briggs is right．The garden is very big，you know，'he said．'It's a lot of work for you．The house is big，too．You're fifty now．You need to be more careful．'
'Roger！I don't need a nurse，you know！I work in the garden every day；I feel happy there．'Molly stood up．'I know you all want my money．You come here for a free dinner，you don't want to see me．You don't love me．You want my house，and my money．Well，you can all wait．No-body is getting more money from me，not before I die！'
'Don't say that，Mother！'Jackie cried．
Molly walked across the room to the door．'I feel ill now．I'm going upstairs to bed．'
Molly left the room．Nobody moved．
'One day I'm going to kill that woman，'Diane said quietly．
Roger looked at Diane but said nothing．Albert moved his head slowly up and down．'Ill！She's angry，that's all，'he said．'Molly always gets angry about money．Why can't she be good to her sister？Annie's going to die soon．Molly knows that．'
Jackie finished her cigarette and stood up．'Would everyone like some coffee？Come into the kitchen and let's drink it there．'
Early next morning the house was quiet．Suddenly there was a cry from the room next to Roger's，his mother's room．Roger opened his eyes and looked at the clock．It was nearly seven o'clock．He got out of bed and opened the door quietly．At the same time the door of his mother's room opened and Diane came out．Her face was very white．
'Roger！It' s Mother！I brought a cup of coffee for her and I found her dead．She's dead…dead in her bed，'she cried．
Roger went quickly to the door of his mother's room and looked in．The window was open but the room was warm．Molly was on the bed，one hand under her head．Roger went across to the bed and put his hand on her arm．It was cold．On the little table next to the bed was a hot cup of coffee and an empty cup．
'I'm going to call the doctor，'Diane said．
'She's dead，'Roger said slowly．His face，too，was white．'Mother is dead！'
Diane walked across the room to the door．'I'm going to phone the doctor，'she said again．
'Wait a minute！'Roger called．'Let's tell the family first．'
'Family！Nobody loved Mother！'Diane went out and ran downstairs．
Roger slowly went downstairs after her and stood by the telephone．
'Dr Pratt，this is Diane Clarkson．It's my mother—she's dead．Can you come quickly？'
Diane put the phone down．'It isn't true，Roger！Mother dead！Daddy died last winter，and now Mother．'Diane began to cry．
'Don't cry，Diane，'Roger said．'Let's go upstairs and tell Uncle Albert and Jackie．'
'No！You tell them！Nobody loved Mother．You aren't sorry．Look at you！You want her money．That's all．'
Roger suddenly wanted to hit Diane．'Be quiet！'he said．'What about you？You didn't love Mother．You wanted her money，too．Don't forget that！'
'It's true，'Diane said．'Oh，I can't stay in this house．I'm going out．I'm going to the river with the dogs．'
'No，'Roger said．'The doctor's coming and I want you here．'
Diane said nothing．She went into the kitchen and at once the dogs got up and came to her．'Beautiful dogs！Daddy loved you and Mother loved you．Now I'm going to love you．'She opened the back door and went out with the dogs．
Roger did not move．He stood by the telephone．'It's true，'he thought．'I am happy about the money．I needed money，and now I'm rich．Things are going to be easier for me now．But Mother…why didn't I love her more？ And now she's dead．'Slowly，Roger went back upstairs．He wanted to dress before Dr Pratt arrived．
Dr Pratt was a little fat man without much hair．He was the family doctor and he knew all the Clarkson family very well．He went upstairs at once and looked at Molly's body．He looked carefully at the cup of coffee and the empty cup on the table next to her bed．
'I'm sorry，Roger，'he said．'Where is Diane？She phoned me．'
'She went out with the dogs，'Roger said．'She was angry with me—angry with everyone．'
Dr Pratt said nothing for a minute．'This is going to be very difficult．I'm going to phone the police，Roger．'
'I don't know．Your mother wasn't ill．I saw her on Thursday and she was very well．Why did she die？I don' t understand．I want to find out．'
Roger went across to the window and looked out at the gar-den．It was a beautiful summer morning．The sky was blue and the garden was green．It was all very quiet．His mother loved this garden．But Tom Briggs wanted the garden．And Roger wanted the garden，too．Roger felt worse and worse．
'Your mother took sleeping tablets，'Dr Pratt said．'Did you know？On Thursday she had a new bottle of tablets，but I can't find it here in her room．'
'I didn't know，'Roger said．'Very well．Let's go down-stairs and you can phone the police．'
Roger went into the kitchen and made some coffee．Just then Diane came in with the dogs．
'Roger，'she said．'Look，I'm sorry．I was angry and said some angry things．'
'It doesn't matter，'Roger said．'Here you are，have some coffee．Dr Pratt is phoning the police．Did you know Mother took sleeping tablets？Well，the bottle is not in her room．'
'What？I don't understand．'Diane took the coffee and be－gan to drink．Her eyes looked big and dark．
Just then Dr Pratt came into the kitchen．'They're coming at once，'he said．'Diane—I'm sorry about your mother．'
'Dr Pratt，I want to tell you about last night．Everyone was very angry…'
'Be quiet！'Roger said quickly．
'Diane never thinks before she opens her mouth，'he thought angrily．
Diane did not look at Roger．'Last night Mother went to bed early because everyone…'
'Don't tell me，'Dr Pratt said．'You can tell the police．'
Roger's face went red．Suddenly he felt afraid．'The police are going to talk to everyone，and ask questions，'he thought．'And they're going to want answers．It's going to be very difficult．'He finished his coffee and stood up．
'I'm going upstairs，'he said．'I'm going to tell Uncle Al-bert and Jackie about Mother…and about the police．'
The police arrived very quickly．There were a lot of them．Some of them with cameras went upstairs to Molly's room．Two detectives talked to Dr Pratt in the kitchen．The family waited in the sitting room．It was a hot day again and the windows were open．The dogs sat quietly at Diane's feet．Nobody talked．Jackie smoked．They waited for a long time．Suddenly the door opened and the two detectives came in．
'Good morning．I am Detective Inspector Walsh and this is Sergeant Foster．'The Inspector did not smile．He was a big man in an old black suit and a black hat and coat．He wore a coat because he always felt cold．'Last night someone put sleeping tablets in Mrs Clarkson's hot milk．We are going to question everybody，and we need a room，please．'
Roger stood up．'I'm Roger Clarkson．You can have my father's old office．Come with me，it's along here，'
The office was not a very big room，but there was a table and three or four chairs．Roger opened the window．
'I would like to talk first to your uncle，Albert King，'In-spector Walsh said．He took off his hat and coat and sat down behind the table．
'Of course，'said Roger and left the room．
Sergeant Foster waited by the door．He was a very tall young man with black hair and a nice smile．He was not very happy this morning because he usually played tennis on Sunday mornings．He was one of the best players at the Cambridge Tennis Club．
Albert came in and sat down．
'I'm going to ask some questions，Mr King，'the Inspector said，'and Sergeant Foster is going to write it all down．'
Albert looked at his feet．'Yes，yes．It's your job．I know that．'
'Tell me about last night，'Inspector Walsh asked quietly．
'You were angry with Mrs Clarkson．'
Albert looked at Inspector Walsh for the first time．'Yes，I was．Everyone was angry．Roger was angry．Diane wanted money to go to America．Then there's a man called Tom Brig-gs…He wants half the garden for his farm．Molly was a rich woman．I need money because my wife Annie—Molly's sister—is very ill．I told Molly this．'
'What happened next？'
'Well，Molly was angry with everyone and went upstairs．We went into the kitchen for coffee．Jackie wanted everyone to go up and say good night to Molly．She lives here with Molly so she wanted Molly to be happy．At first Roger said no．He was angry and didn't want to see his mother．'
'And did you see Molly in her room？'
'Yes．I was tired and I went upstairs first．I went to Molly's room and asked her for money again．But no—there was no money for her sister．'Albert stopped and put his hand over his eyes．
Inspector Walsh watched Albert for a minute．'Did you hear noises after you went to bed？'
'Everyone went into Molly's room to say good night，I think．Later，I heard someone…He—or she—went down－stairs．That was about midnight．'
'Very well，Mr King．Thank you，you can go now．'Albert left the room．
Inspector Walsh put his hands behind his head．'What time is it？I'm hungry．We're learning a lot，but I need some coffee．'
'Shall I go to the kitchen？'Sergeant Foster asked．
'Oh，no．Later．Let's see Jackie Clarkson next．'
Jackie came in and sat down．She looked down at her hands and said nothing．
'We found the empty bottle of your mother's sleeping tablets in Diane's room，'the Inspector said suddenly．Then he waited．Jackie's face did not change and she said nothing．
'Tell me，did your mother get her tablets from the shop in the village？'
'Yes．My mother usually took a sleeping tablet every night so she needed a lot of tablets．Sometimes she got them from the shop，sometimes I did．On Thursday，I asked Peter Hobbs to get them．He lives in the house across the road，and he of－ten goes to the village on his bicycle．'
'I see．Your mother wanted to stay in this house．How about you？Did you want to move？'
Jackie looked up for a minute and then down at her hands a－gain．'This is Mother's house．I loved my mother．She was good to me．'
'Did you see your mother in her room last night？'
'Yes，everyone did．Diane made hot milk and took it to Mother．She usually drank a cup of hot milk before she slept．'
Inspector Walsh put his hands behind his head．Jackie was very quiet．'What did your mother say？'
Jackie opened her bag and looked for a cigarette．'Can I smoke？'
'Of course．This is your house，'Inspector Walsh said．He watched Jackie．'What did your mother say？'he asked again．
'She wanted to go downstairs again．She remembered the dogs—she wanted to get some dinner for them． I went to my room and she went downstairs．'
'What time was this？'
'I don't remember．About midnight，I think．'
'And the cup of hot milk？'
'It was on the table by her bed．'
'Did you need your mother's money？'
'No，Inspector．Money is not important to me．There are more important things，'Jackie said quietly．
'Well，your uncle Albert wanted money．Tom Briggs wanted the garden．You wanted nothing？'
Jackie finished her cigarette and looked up at the Inspector．Her eyes were suddenly angry．'Don't forget Peter Hobbs．He lost his job because of my mother．He wanted to kill her，you know．And what about Diane？You found the empty bottle in her bag．'
Inspector Walsh listened carefully．'We're going to question everyone，Miss Clarkson．'
Jackie said nothing for a minute．'Would you like some sandwiches and coffee，Inspector？'
'Ah！Yes，please！'Inspector Walsh said warmly．'I would like sandwiches and coffee very much．'
Jackie left the room．Inspector Walsh thought about her．Why was she suddenly angry？The room was quiet．