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datatime: 2022-12-03 11:20:34 Author:BQPrJScF

"Quite sure. I always peek through the cabin door from time to time, and he was always there."

"It's no good." She shook her head. "I was in the galley most of the time, getting the meal ready."

"Easy. You can get a little plastic tube with a central composition shield dividing it into two compartments. In one compartment you have a free acid, in the other a different acid enclosed in a glass tube. All you have to do is to crush the tube, break the glass, drop the tube in your chosen spot, walk away and after a predetermined time the acid that was in the glass eats through the shield, meets the other acid and starts a fire. It's been used hundreds of times, especially in war-time sabotage. If you're an arsonist looking for a cast-iron alibi and want to be five miles away when the fire starts, it's the perfect answer."

"And you didn't think this worth mentioning to me," I said heavily. "No importance at all?"

"I'm sorry," she repeated helplessly. "I was a little upset for a moment, then Captain Johnson was in front of me shooing everybody back to their seats and I couldn't see."

"That seems to cut him out," I said thoughtfully. "And reduce the number of suspects-though, I suppose, he could still have got an accomplice to plant the acid tube." Then, suddenly, I had what was, for me, an inspiration. "Tell me, Miss Ross, did anyone ask you earlier in the evening when dinner would be?"

"Right. And we're dealing, obviously, with hardened professional criminals. The whole success of their plan depended on causing this excitement. Do you for a moment believe that they were going to let the whole thing hinge on the mere off-chance of a smouldering butt-end setting some papers alight-especially setting them alight at the correct moment?"

"I don't know. What-why do you ask?"

"Yes. They all seemed to crowd down past the middle-"

"You bet there was. Can you remember who went there?"

"And you didn't think this worth mentioning to me," I said heavily. "No importance at all?"

"It doesn't matter. Who could have gone into the galley then -anybody in the front seats, I suppose?"

"You bet there was. Can you remember who went there?"

"Right. And we're dealing, obviously, with hardened professional criminals. The whole success of their plan depended on causing this excitement. Do you for a moment believe that they were going to let the whole thing hinge on the mere off-chance of a smouldering butt-end setting some papers alight-especially setting them alight at the correct moment?"

"Do you believe now that the fire was caused deliberately?" I asked.

"An hour? But the cigarette end-"

"They? Who were 'They'?"

"It doesn't matter. Who could have gone into the galley then -anybody in the front seats, I suppose?"

She looked at me for a long moment before answering, and even in the fading light of the aurora I could see the understanding coming into her eyes.

"Do you believe now that the fire was caused deliberately?" I asked.

"Yes. The powder room is on the port side."

She looked at me for a long moment before answering, and even in the fading light of the aurora I could see the understanding coming into her eyes.

She looked at me for a long moment before answering, and even in the fading light of the aurora I could see the understanding coming into her eyes.

"I don't know. What-why do you ask?"

"And you didn't think this worth mentioning to me," I said heavily. "No importance at all?"

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