Chapter 10 Root of all evil?

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Chapter 10 Root of all evil?

'Damn!' said Christopher. 'I forgot to ask him if he knew Maisie Sue - '

'There must be thousands here!' said Big Dave.

Mrs Stevenson said nothing: perhaps she was silently mulling over how many new woolly hats or Dubonnets and lemonade she could buy with all that money.

'But why?' said Christopher helplessly.

Marina sniffed at the ruined package.

'Yuck,' she said, 'it smells of old fish and chips.'

'You could get a lot of Playstation games with that,' said Faisal greedily.

'Who gave you it? What do they expect in return?' said Amaryllis, eyes sharp and watchful.

'He didn't say. Sounded a bit American to me, but I'm no use at accents. But he was pretty determined I should have it. He shoved it through the letter-box when I wouldn't take it.'

'Maybe there was somebody taking photographs,' suggested Mrs Stevenson. 'Maybe it's some kind of a sting.'

'I hope there was somebody taking photographs,' said Christopher. 'They'll have seen this man behaving like a complete idiot. Pushing fish and chips through my letter-box - it isn't the act of a rational man, is it?'

'But what if you get caught with the money?' persisted Mrs Stevenson. 'How are you going to explain it?'

'It isn't up to me to explain it!' said Christopher. 'Anyway, I'm not going to get caught with it. I'm taking it straight round to the police station.'

As if someone had been waiting for their cue, a thunderous knocking suddenly resounded round the house.

'Police! Open up!'

'Oh, for God's sake,' said Christopher.

'Quick, hide the money!' said Amaryllis. 'In the oven. Then if they search the house and find it, you can claim you were just re-heating a fish supper.'

'That's criminal in itself,' said Big Dave. 'Shouldn't be allowed. Fish and chips should be eaten - '

'Out of the way!' said Christopher, pushing past him to get to the oven as the thunderous knocking continued. He shoved the package on to the middle shelf. 'Should I turn the heat on?'

'Only if you want the fire brigade here as well as the police,' said Amaryllis. 'I've got to go now. I can't be seen here.'

She disappeared abruptly. Christopher opened the door. Finding the police on his doorstep twice in two days was a bit much, he reflected as they rushed in to search the house. At least they wouldn't find a woman covered in blood in the kitchen this time - unless Mrs Stevenson had gone haywire with one of the knives in an attempt to divert their attention.

They searched everywhere except in the oven. It was almost as if they were deliberately avoiding it. Christopher asked one of them what they expected to find, but predictably there was no answer. Eventually they told him not to leave town for the next few days - chance would be a fine thing! - and left again empty-handed. Christopher decided that for reasons only known to himself, the American had tipped them off, this time having planted evidence - of what? - in the house. Perhaps he was connected with Simon Fairfax, whose determination to get Christopher into trouble was almost comical, but Christopher found it sinister as well - and he sincerely hoped it would backfire sooner or later. He wished Amaryllis had stayed on.

'So - what are you going to do with the money?' said Mrs Stevenson, eyes gleaming.

'I don't think we'd better talk about the money,' said Christopher. 'What if they've bugged the place?'

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