A femme fatale


Vita carefully adjusted her fox fur stole around her shoulders and decided to amuse herself with Bunty’s beau. There was something very attractive about Branwell and her nostrils twitched as she recalled the heady aroma of potting compost and sweat.

“While the cat’s away” she murmured and went to give the maid orders for tea.

The ship sailed out of the port and headed towards their next stop, Rome! Bunty and Lola lay on the steamer chairs staring at the winking lights receding into the night and sipping their cocktails.

“A good day’s work!” Bunty and Lola clinked glasses and downed their drinks. Lola waved her empty glass at a shadowy form that was approaching them.

“Top up required here my man”

The shadowy figure came closer but it was not an attendant but the ‘funny little man’

“Alas madam, I do not have the skill to mix your cocktail but I would be honoured to summon someone who can” he bowed and smiled at Bunty and Lola who peered at him intrigued.

“Jolly decent of you” said Bunty struggling to sit up.

“Allow me to introduce myself” he produced an embossed card

“Pierre Puree, Master Detective!” he clicked his heels and twirled his handlebar moustache.

Bunty and Lola felt a little uneasy at that information but he allayed their fears by telling them of his interest in ancient Greek architecture and that he was on holiday and not pursuing criminals.

Bunty was still unconvinced and decide she should get ready for the quoits final and left Lola to it.

She went back to the cabin and put on her deck shoes. She could hear a noise, it sounded like chewing and oddly enough it seemed to be coming from her bag containing her bowls.

Damn mouse she thought and picked up one of Lola’s stiletto’s, she unzipped the bag slowly and to her surprise she saw her prize bowls chewed to dust and a large bloated caterpillar with a hairy spotted back dropped to the floor and scuttled under her bed.

Branwell presented his newly printed card to the slatternly maid who answered the door to Vita’s house. It was a pleasing mansion, modern and comfortable. He waited, as instructed by the maid, (who he was convinced winked at him) by the circular table with a very competent flower arrangement in the middle of it. He stood admiring it and didn’t here Vita come up to him,

“I do enjoy arranging flowers for the house, it is quite a passion” she licked her lips and stroked the soft tops of the show chrysanthemums as she passed. Branwell straightened his waistcoat and followed her into the drawing room.

Vita had, unknown to him seen him demonstrate at several local village halls and knew exactly what buttons to push. Over tea and scones she put forward a plan to bring the world of flower arranging out of the realms of the local WI and into the world of show business.

Branwell looked at Vita, this was exciting stuff, he felt warm and removed his jacket..

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