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Patricia Cornwell. Keigo Higashino. Louise Penny. Kim Lock. Mark Haddon. Terry Hayes. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. The Valley of Ghosts. Notify me. Murder comes to a quiet settlement of the English countryside, and with more than one ghost. Why was Stella Nelson with the victim in the middle of the night, shortly before the murder?

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I don't know what it is, but I'll know sooner or later. You can't stay in Beverley Green much longer. Your father has drunk two mortgages on to this house and he'll drink the furniture before he's through. I dare say you think it will be fine and large to earn your living, but it isn't.

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Five employers in seven will want to cuddle you, I know. I'm willing to put that poor soak into a good inebriates' home. It will be kill or cure, and, anyway, it has got to come to that.

I'm speaking plainly. I've tried the other way and it hasn't worked. You're woman enough to see that it is kindest to be cruel. I want you, Stella, I want you more than I've wanted anything. And I know!

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    The Valley of Ghosts

    They had been on such good terms that the reticences which separate ordinary friends from one another had been thawed away. He was the only man in the world, with the exception of her father, who addressed her by her Christian name. She called him "Arthur" naturally. To Stella Nelson he was a type of young business man who played tennis, danced well, talked about himself with satisfaction and owned a mid-opulent car. He was the most engaging of that type she had met, and she had studied him sufficiently well to know exactly what he would do in any given set of circumstances.

    Her first sensation when he began to speak was one of dismay and chagrin. She was not hurt; it was a long time before she was hurt.

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    But she was annoyed by the mistake she had made. She had felt that way when at a bridge party she had inadvertently or abstractedly led the wrong card, knowing that it was the wrong card, and had lost the rubber in consequence.

    She had an absurd desire to apologise to him for having misjudged his character, but, even had she not recognised its absurdity, she was incapable of speech. She was wrong, not he. He was right, natural, his own self, aggressive and 'hell-sure'. The Canadian professor had used that expression in her hearing and it had tickled her. Arthur Wilmot was hell-sure of himself, of his advantageous position, of her. In age she was little more than a child. She felt motherly towards him.

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    He was so pathetically foolish that she felt sorry for him. Why don't you? Call the servants he fired! You think I'm being a cad, but I'm underlining and italicising the fact that you arc alone, not in this house, but in the world.

    The valley of ghosts

    The silent variety was sure to produce his opposite sooner or later," she said. She leant against the back of a chair, her hands behind her. Her poise was disconcerting to this stormer of citadels. Neither hectic defiance nor surrender met him, but the consciousness that there was some hidden reserve.

    He felt it coming and was uneasy. I don't want to marry you, Arthur, because—well, you admitted that of yourself you have no particular quality or charm, didn't you? You must 'get me' by virtue of your better financial position. That is snobbish in you, isn't it? Or by blackmail, or some other thing. The villain in the melodrama does that. You should have had a green limelight focused on you—the strong, talkative man and the weak, silent woman. That would be novel, wouldn't it? You are the second drunken man I have met today, only you have swallowed a more potent intoxicant.

    You're vanity-drunk, and you'll find it hard to get sober again.

    Her voice never lost its command of him. He writhed, made grunting little noises. Once he tried to break in on her, but in the end he was beaten down, and arrested the employment of arguments which he had so carefully thought out in a shrinking fear that they would sound silly even to himself. She crossed to the door and opened it. He walked out without a word and she crossed and locked the door, behind him.

    She stood with one hand on the knob, thinking, her head bent low in the attitude of one who was listening. But she was only thinking, and still in thought she put out the lights and went upstairs to her room. It was very early to go to bed, but there was no reason why she should stay below.

    She undressed slowly by the light of the moon. Her room was on the top floor, on the same level as that of the servants. It was the gable window which Andrew Macleod had seen, and she chose it because it gave her a view uninterrupted by the trees. She pulled a dressing-gown over her pyjamas and, throwing open the casement windows, leant her elbows on the edge and looked out.

    The world was a place of misty hues.