Friday, 13 February 2015

The Alkan Murder - Chapter 4

The Alkan Murder | Fiction: Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

While these two elderly men were engaged in esoteric discussion in the study, another visitor slipped into the house round the back. This was Mrs Holdsworth’s nephew Alan, son of her brother William. Alan Wells was a disappointment to his aunt and a source of considerable antipathy to his uncle-by-marriage, Mr Stephen Holdsworth. He was an unprepossessing individual: scrawny, meagre, unappealing in appearance, unattractive in temperament, but no doubt a joy to his parents (except that his mother had long since abandoned his father for a more attractive life’s-companion). His greatest, and possibly his sole, talent was a technical turn of mind which attracted him to equipment and machines of all kinds, notably the mechanical and electronic contrivances which make living so much less arduous in the modern age than in previous ages. As usual, Alan was short of money, and he had come to call on his aunt in the hope of a subvention. His reasoning was that, because she had helped in the past, she might be persuaded to do so again, particularly as his present situation approached, in his estimation, the dire.

‘Alan,’ she told him firmly, ‘no. No, I won’t help you. I can’t – and I wouldn’t if I could. You’ve really got to get yourself in hand. You’ll go on being careless and irresponsible for ever, if every time you get into a scrape someone bails you out.’
‘But aunt, this is the last time I shall ever ask. Promise. I’ll lose my job, and I might never get another one if you don’t help me.’
‘So it’s pinching from work again, is it? When are you ever going to learn? I don’t know how your father puts up with you.’
‘Two hundred squid, that’s all I need, aunt. Come on, be a sport.’
‘I’ve told you no, Alan. You know your uncle’d have a fit if he found out. Tap your friends, raise a loan somehow, but don’t come here bothering me again. Believe me, I’m doing it for the best.’
‘So you won’t help? You absolutely refuse? Then I shall have no choice but to kill…