He spoke in such an uncompromising tone that the girl saw it was useless to pursue the matter further.
“Suppose I went to the police and told them that Hill is the murderer?” she suggested.
Kemp shook his head slowly.
“There is only your word for it that Hill killed him,” he said. “It doesn’t look to me as if he did, when he went over to your flat and told Fred that Sir Horace had come back from Scotland. If he had killed him he would have let Fred go over without saying a word about it.”
“That was part of his cunning,” said the girl. “If he had said nothing about Sir Horace’s return, Fred would have suspected him when he found the dead body. I’m as certain that Hill committed the murder as if I had seen him do it with my own eyes.”
Kemp shrugged his shoulders as though realising the uselessness of attempting to combat such a feminine form of reasoning.
“Didn’t Fred say that the body was warm when he touched it?” he asked.
She meditated a moment over this evidence of Hill’s innocence.
“Well, if Hill didn’t kill him, the woman Fred saw leaving the house must have done so,” she declared.
“There is something in that,” said Kemp. “Look here, we’ve got to get Fred a good lawyer to defend him, and we must be guided by his advice as to what is the best thing to do. He knows more about what will go down with a jury than you do.”
“I paid a solicitor to defend him at the police court,” said the girl, “but the money I gave him was thrown away. He said nothing and did nothing.”
“That shows he is a man who knows his business,” replied Kemp. “What’s the good of talking to police court beaks in a case that is bound to go to trial? It’s a waste of breath. The thing is to see that Fred is properly defended when the case comes on at the Old Bailey. We want somebody who can manage the jury. I should say Holymead is the man if you can get him. I don’t know as he’d be likely to take up the case, for he don’t go in much for criminal courts—and yet it seems to me that he might. You ought to try to get him, at least. He used to be a friend of your friend Sir Horace, so if he took up the case it would look as if he believed Fred had nothing to do with the murder. It would be bound to make a good impression on the jury.”
“Wouldn’t he be very expensive?” asked the girl.
“Not so expensive as getting hanged,” said Kemp grimly. “You take my advice and have him if you can get him. Never mind what he costs, if you can raise the money. You’ve got some money saved up, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I’ve nearly L200. Sir Horace put L100 in the Savings Bank for me on my last birthday. And the furniture at the flat is mine. I’d sell that and everything I’ve got, for Fred’s sake.”
“That is the way to talk,” said Kemp. “You go to this solicitor you had at the police court, and tell him you want Holymead to defend Fred. Tell him he must brief Holymead—have nobody else but Holymead. Tell him that Holymead was a friend of Sir Horace Fewbanks’s and that if he appears for Fred the jury will never believe that Fred had anything to do with the murder. And I don’t think he had, though he did lie to me and swear he hadn’t been up there that night,” he added after a moment’s reflection.