No Wind of Blame
by Georgette Heyer
"It's a funny thing, but it's not often you'll find a lady who won't behave as though she thought a gun would bite her," remarked the Inspector. "But I understand you're not like that, miss?"
Vicky's seraphic blue eyes surveyed him for a moment. "Did the Prince tell you that?" she asked softly.
"It doesn't matter who told me, miss. Do you shoot?"
"No! I mean, yes, in a way I do," said Vicky, becoming flustered all at once. "But I practically never hit anything! Do I, Mary? Mary, you know it was only one of my acts, and I'm not really a good shot at all! If I hit anything, it's quite by accident. Mary, why are you looking at me like that?"
Mary, who had been taken by surprise by the sudden loss of poise in Vicky, stammered: "I wasn't! I mean, I don't know what you're talking about!"
"You think I did it!" Vicky cried, springing to her feet. "You've always thought so! Well, you can't prove it, any of you! You'll never be able to prove it!"
"Vicky!" gasped Mary, quite horrified.
Vicky brushed her aside, and rounded tempestuously upon the Inspector. "The dog isn't evidence. He often doesn't bark at people. I don't wear hair-slides. I'd nothing to gain, nothing! Oh, leave me alone, leave me alone!"
The Inspector's bright, quick-glancing eyes, which had been fixed on her with a kind of bird-like interest, moved towards Mary, saw on her face a look of the blankest astonishment, and finally came to rest on Hugh, who seemed to be torn between anger and amusement.
Vicky, who had cast herself down on the sofa, raised her face from her hands, and demanded: "Why don't you say something?"
"I haven't had time to learn my part, miss," replied the Inspector promptly.
"Inspector, it's a privilege to know you!" said Hugh.
Vicky said fiercely, between her teeth: "If you ruin my act, I'll murder you!"
"Look here, miss, I haven't come to play at amateur theatricals!" protested the Inspector. "Nor this isn't the moment to be larking about!"
Vicky flew up off the sofa. "Answer me, answer me! I was on the scene of the crime, wasn't I?"
"So I've been told, but if you were to ask me--"
"My dog didn't bark. That's important. That other Inspector saw that, and you do too. Don't you?"
"I don't deny it's a point. It's a very interesting point, what's more, but it doesn't necessarily mean --"
"I can shoot. Anyone will tell you that! I'm not afraid of guns."
"You don't seem to me to be afraid of anything," said Hemingway with some asperity. "In fact, it's a great pity you're not, because the way you're carrying on, trying to convict yourself of murder, is highly confusing, and will very likely land you in trouble!"
"There is a case against me, isn't there? You didn't think so at first, but the Prince told you that I could shoot, and you began to wonder. Didn't you?"
"All right, we'll say I did, and there is a case against you. Anything for a quiet life!"
Vicky stamped her foot. "Don't laugh! If I'm not a suspect, you must be mad! Quick, I can hear my mother coming! Am I a suspect or am I not?"
"Very well, miss, since you will have it! You are a suspect!"
"Angel!" breathed Vicky, with the most melting look through her lashes, and turned towards the door.
Ermyntrude same in. Before anyone could speak, Vicky had cast herself upon the maternal bosom. "Oh, mother, mother, don't let them!"
The Inspector opened his mouth, and shut it again. Mary said indignantly: "Vicky, it's not fair! Stop it!"
Ermyntrude clasped her daughter in her arms. Over Vicky's golden head, she cast a flaming look at Hemingway. "What have you been saying to her?" she demanded, in a voice that would have made a braver man than Hemingway quail. "Tell me this instant!"