Sunday, September 19, 2010


“There was a gas boiler, comparatively modern, mounted above a deep square porcelain sink much stained and with a clean but crumpled tea towel hanging on a hook beside it. Dalgliesh peeled off his gloves and felt the towel. It was slightly damp not in patches but all over as if it had been soaked in water then wrung out and left to dry through the night. He handed it to Massingham who took off his own gloves and ran it through his hand. He said:
‘Even if the murderer was naked, or half-naked he would have needed to wash his hands and arms. He could have used this. Berowne’s towel is presumably the one hanging on the chair and that looked dry enough.’
Massingham was back beside him. He said:
‘The towel next door is perfectly dry and only slightly dirtied. It looks as if Berowne could have washed his hands when he arrived and that’s all. It’s odd that he didn’t leave it in here, except that there’s nowhere convenient to hang it. Odder, though, that the killer, assuming there is a killer, didn’t use it to dry himself rather than the smaller tea towel.'
Dalgliesh said:
'If he remembered to take it out with him to the kitchen. If he didn’t, he’d hardly want to go back for it. Too much blood, too much risk of leaving a clue. Better to use what he found at hand.'”

P.D. James, A taste for death, Faber and Faber 1986, p. 41, 42


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