by Trevor Hopkins

Clathy never did get to a proper trial, with judge and jury and all that. She was just declared officially bonkers. Yes, I'm sure there is a more scientifically precise and politically correct term, but she was in reality criminally insane, a danger to the public and to herself. So she was simply locked away in a lunatic asylum for the rest of her life.

She must have been pretty unbalanced to begin with, just to fall in with Alva's crazy scheme in the first place. I suppose Clathy had been driven by a need for revenge for the treatment she had received at Monzie Hosh's hand, a deep and festering resentment later amplified when she was discarded by Merton Vale in favour of Clunie. Somehow, it had been enough for her to cool-headedly plot Hosh's murder and the subsequent removal of his body.

Then, there was the stress of the siege at Garrick's place and the death - at least partially her own fault - of her grandmother, even though it was Drummond who actually pulled the trigger. The final straw, the blow that tipped Clathy over the edge, was the underhand trick that made Alva believe that she had ratted on her, and the sudden realisation that there was no way out. I don't suppose Luncardy really wanted, or even expected, that to be the outcome; she was just looking for a way to get the ladies to talk. But I'd bet the Inspector had sleepless nights over the result.

By the way, Drummond did stand trial and admitted his guilt: accessory after the fact to Hosh's murder, and the manslaughter of Argaty Dupplin. I didn't attend the proceedings - which were very short - but I was later told that he seemed surprised to find that he was going to jail. Perhaps he too had got it into his head that some powerful friends were going to set him free, and he had never quite understood the changes in his circumstances.

The last time I saw Clathy was through the viewing hatch in the steel-reinforced door of a padded cell in a forbidding building in one of the remoter caverns which certainly looked like a prison, even though it was officially designated a hospital. Her slender frame was encased in a clinically-white straight-jacket. She displayed no recognition when I spoke, when I called her name. She just sat on the mat, staring blankly at the wall. There was nothing I could do.


Part 97 Part 99