She walked as fast as she possibly could. She’d have to get to the bottom of this. She changed quickly into a white sari and dashed to the Morgan’s home. People had already started dropping in. She saw Mrs Jones by the buffet table, helping herself to canapes.
“Hello, Mrs Jones,” she said quietly.
“Quite a gathering,” said Mrs Jones, biting into a smoked salmon blini. She wiped away an absent tear. “Who would have said we had gathered for a celebration a couple of nights ago?”
“True.” Mrs Jhaveri wrung her hands together. Where would she get any clues?
“Did you try the canapes, Mrs…er… Mrs J?” Mrs Jones smiled.
“Oh no, thank you.” Mrs Jhaveri was shocked to see this gathering was more like a party. No mourning and wailing. No one in white clothes. She stood out in her Vanish Oxy Action white. People were giving her funny stares.
Well, who cares. In my country, one should wear white, she thought defiantly and went to find Mr Morgan. He was talking to the cleaning woman/cousin in the kitchen. Rather softly and urgently. Certainly not asking her to hoover the crumbs off the carpet, she thought. She watched them. They seemed to be arguing about something. The woman had her arms crossed and she leaned against the back door. Like a flash of lightening, an image streaked through Mrs Jhaveri’s head. The nurse… in the hospital… she used to stand like that by Mr Morgan’s bed every time they visited. Yes, yes…. Confused, shaken by her discovery, Mrs Jhaveri backed out into the hallway. She made her way to the shoe closet, and opened it. It was as if she knew it would be there.
A pair of cream coloured satin shoes, wedged in a corner, behind a pair of boots. They had not been there yesterday. They had been stuffed there today, after she had mentioned the shoes to Mrs Jones at the burial service. And who had been eavesdropping then? The cleaning woman. The nurse. Certainly not a cousin. Mr Morgan’s lover. The killer.
Mrs Jhaveri stepped back, trembling.
“Are you alright?” A man touched her shoulder, supporting her. “Are you alright, madam?”
“Yes, I am.” Mrs Jhaveri whispered. “I just found out who murdered Sian Morgan. I need to call the police.”
The man stared at her, then back at his salmon canapé. He turned pale and nodded. He led her towards the telephone.
“Mum,” Monica shouted over the blaring television. “You’re on telly.”
Rani squealed and positioned herself in front of the television. “Nani, Nani, you’re famous,” she chanted.
Mrs Jhaveri sat dumb-struck on the sofa. She looked at herself on the screen through narrowed eyes. She was talking to the news reporter in a high-pitched voice. It wasn’t her voice at all. It was all a bit much for her.
“Super sleuth from India,” shouted Monica, gleefully. “Mum, you’re a star.”
“So,” the reporter was saying. “How did you know who the killer was?”
“Well,” Mrs Jhaveri heard herself say. “I knew something was wrong when I heard Mrs Morgan had worn black shoes with her purple dress and pearls. That didn’t seem right. And then, the shoes were by her head, not on her feet.”
The journalist nodded. Rani clapped her hands and whooped for joy. The cameras focused on Mrs Jhaveri again. She stood stiffly and stared into the camera. She had that horrible fleece on. Mrs Jhaveri winced. She desperately needed a shopping trip if she was going to be famous.
The camera panned back to the journalist. He continued.
“Mr Morgan has confessed to the murder. He has been arrested. He and Miss Alison Smith, a nurse, connived together to kill Sian Morgan. They met two years ago when Mr Morgan had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack. He was there for nearly a month and that’s where he met Nurse Alison Smith…”
“The bastard,” whispered Monica.
Mrs Jhaveri shifted uneasily in her chair. She shot a glance at Rani, but the child was staring gleefully at the television screen.
“They had an affair, you know,” she said quietly. “They fell in love when he was in hospital, and she would wait outside, hating us, hating Sian for being his wife.”
“Would you believe that?” Monica shouted. “Shameless old man.”
“Well, he did say he felt betrayed by Sian. She never wanted children And he did. And then when he met the nurse, there was a future there. She wanted to have his baby. It was a big temptation for him.”
“That woman is his daughter’s age, if he had one,” Monica said. “But why kill Sian? Couldn’t he just divorce her?”
“Yes. But greed came in the way. When Sian inherited her father’s money, the nurse thought that money would come into use in bringing up the child. Mr Morgan didn’t have money. Sian was the rich one. Probably that’s why he had to cook.”
“Oh-oh. It always boils down to money, doesn’t it?” Money chewed on her lip.
“Yes. So on the day of the anniversary party, Mr Morgan made that special mushroom soup for his wife. The nurse planned it all. And then they had the champagne for the party at night.” Mrs Jhaveri wiped her eyes. She couldn’t bear to think of her friend’s dreadful end.
“She literally toasted to her death.”
“Yes, that was awful.” Monica continued. “Just awful. The poison reacted when she went to the bathroom.”
“Yes, she was dying when the nurse … that spiteful woman, came up to her and whispered that she’d be in her shoes soon. And literally, took off Sian’s shoes and wore them. What a horrible thing to do. Sian died knowing the ghastly truth.”
“Didn’t Mrs Jones hear all this? I mean, she was in the loo as well.” Monica looked puzzled.
“Yes, she was. But she was too drunk to register much. Why, she even joked with Sian while she was dying. Silly woman.” Mrs Jhaveri shook her head. “Well, that’s that. The two of them thought they had managed to go scot free. Not knowing that Alison’s one stupid gesture cost them their freedom.”
“Yes,” Monica smiled and hugged her mother. “They didn’t know that Sian Morgan had such a clever neighbour, a certain Mrs Jhaveri, who did not believe a woman could wear the wrong shoes to a party.”
They laughed and Mrs Jhaveri hugged her back. “I am glad I found out the truth. For my friend, Sian. Alison Smith will never get into her shoes ever.”
“Amen to that,” smiled Monica. “So, who wants to go out for dinner tonight? Who wants to go out with a celebrity?”
“Me, me, me,” shouted Rani, jumping on the sofa.
“Well,” laughed Mrs Jhaveri. “Let’s go to that restaurant in Cardiff Bay then. Sian would have liked us to celebrate with her there.”