Night and Day

By: Caron Allan

a Dottie Manderson mystery




Acknowledgements


A huge thank you to those lovely people who so kindly plodded through the various edited forms of this book and emerged still smiling and who still take my calls. And especially to Alana, without whom this book would still be a total mess.

Many thanks to Pixabay for a stunning range of fabulous images, one of which was used for this book cover, which I fell completely in love with.





Dedication


As ever to my family: my two children and my lovely husband of 35 years. Thank you gang!







Characters




Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Manderson

Protagonist – 19 in this book;



Florence ‘Flora’ or ‘Flossie’

Her sister, 22;



George Gascoigne

Flora’s hubby



Mr Herbert Manderson

The sisters’ father; amiable, easy-going;



Mrs Lavinia Manderson

Their scary mother;



The Honourable Peter St Clair St John

Posh but boring chap who fancies Dottie only slightly more than he fancies himself;



Mrs Aggie Carmichael

Owner and manager of the fashion house Carmichael and Jennings, Exclusive Modes where Dottie works as a mannequin;



Alistair Parrish

George’s doctor friend who helps when she finds the dead man;



Charles Holt

Another friend who was with them;



Archibald ‘Archie’ Dunne

The dead man; 31, a stockbroker with a reputation for infidelity;



Susan Dunne nee Moyer

Archie’s wife; aged 25; dowdy, thin, discontented;



Leonora Simmons

The Dunne’s maid;



Janet

Dottie’s maid;



Mrs Angkatell

Friend of their mother’s;



Scaredy Cat

Unnamed friend of Dottie’s;



Jennie

Another friend of Dottie’s;



Muriel Moyer

Susan’s sister, was at school with Dottie; aged 20; about to get married to a boffin;



Colonel and Mrs Moyer

The parents of Susan and Muriel;



Mrs Gerard

An elderly friend of Dottie’s and aunt of Cyril Penterman;



Police Sergeant William Hardy

Later Inspector Hardy, the investigating officer in the case. Aged 28. He was at Oxford with George;



The Honourable Cyril Penterman

The man Dottie falls for;



Mrs Penterman

His mother and a friend of Susan’s;



Isabel Hardy

William’s mother, a widow;



Eleanor Hardy

William’s sister, aged 17;



Diana Gascoigne

George’s sister;



Cissie

Flora’s maid;



Greeley

George and Flora’s butler;



Mrs Greeley

George and Flora’s cook;



Overton

Butler to the Gascoignes;



Valerie Knight

Cigarette girl at the theatre;



Mrs Green

Flora’s dressmaker;



Inspector Longden/

Various of Hardy’s superiors;



Superintendant Edward Williams/



Chief Superintendant William Smithers/



Assistant Chief Constable Henry Rhys-Meadowes



Frank Maple

Uniformed beat constable who becomes Hardy’s sidekick





Chapter One


Dottie Manderson had planned to walk the short distance to her sister’s house, but as soon as she came out of the warm theatre and onto the pavement, she realised it was raining again. Hitching up the white chiffon and satin of her flowing gown, she put up her hand to hail one of the cabs. There were a dozen of them queuing to catch people as they came out into the miserable late November evening in London’s West End. Obligingly, one pulled up and with a profound sense of relief, she got in.

‘327 Mortlake Gardens, please,’ she said and sank back against the leather. It was so nice to be out of the weather even though a moment ago she had been far too hot in the theatre, but the rain was coming down in torrents and her fashionable but tiny hat being virtually useless, her hair was already dripping. It was also good to be off her feet. She stretched one elegant foot out in front of her and regarded her neat ankle with a mixture of satisfaction and concern. Being on your feet all day may be good for the figure, but it played havoc with your ankles. If she wasn’t careful, by the time she was thirty she’d end up with fat, bulging ankles like Mrs Carmichael, and then the only models the old dragon would allow her to show would be the longest, most covering-up clothes, the floor-length gowns and the lounging pyjamas.

She looked out at the rainy street. It would be rather late by the time she arrived of course, but she had warned Flora about that. And Flora never cared about that sort of thing, she wouldn’t throw anyone out before one o’clock at the earliest—later if they were all having too much fun.

In spite of the weather—or perhaps because of it—the normally quiet residential streets were just as busy now as they were at six o’clock in the evening. She gazed out the window at the glistening world of night-time London, but her mind was elsewhere, remembering the show, remembering her companion. She hoped she would see Peter again. He was such a nice chap and danced beautifully. And he was the only chap she knew who didn’t smoke cigars. Dottie abhorred the smell of cigars.

But Peter had been difficult to get rid of this evening, wanting to escort her home. She had thought of asking him to come back with her to Flora’s but in the end decided it would be better not to: having only dined with him twice, she didn’t want to make more of it than it was, and Flora was always the last person you introduced a young man to—unless you wanted her to start ordering the orange blossom and white satin. Just because she was married, she seemed to think everyone else ought to be married too. All the same, Mother would be furious if she knew Dottie was wandering around London in the middle of the night unescorted. But it was barely eleven o’clock, and to Dottie’s mind, travelling door-to-door by cab didn’t count as being unescorted. The nice cabby would never let anything bad happen to her, she was certain.