"Aren't you ashamed of yourself, Albert?" asked Mrs Bullfinch. "You haven't got the right figure for that at all!"
"Mrs Bullfinch wants me to retire," Albert continued. "I discussed the matter with my partners today, and they agree to settle everything nicely. They will buy me out, and I shall have an income of just under nine hundred pounds. There are three of us, so it gives us nearly three hundred a year each."
"How am I to live on that?" cried Mrs Forrester, using the last argument she could think of.
"You have a wonderful pen, my dear."
"You know very well that my books don't bring me any money. The publishers always say that they lose by them."
And just then Mrs Bullfinch suddenly asked:
"Why don't you write a good detective story?"
Mrs Forrester burst out laughing. "Me?" she exclaimed. "What a wild idea! I could never hope to please the masses and I have never read a detective story in my life."
"It's not a bad idea at all," said Albert.
"I love a detective story," said Mrs Bullfinch. "Give me a lady in evening dress lying dead on the library floor and I know I'm going to enjoy it."
"Personally, I prefer a respectable gentleman with a gold watch chain, lying dead in Hyde Park," said Albert. "There's something particularly interesting to the reader in the murder of a respectable gentleman!"
"I see exactly what you mean," said Mrs Bullfinch. "He knew an important secret, and his murderers had said they would kill him unless he kept his mouth shut. He just didn't manage to run away from them."
"We can give you all the advice you need, my dear," said Albert, smiling kindly at Mrs Forrester. "I've read hundreds of detective stories."
"That's what first brought Mrs Bullfinch and me together. I gave them to her when I'd finished them. And I must say you can't find two stories that are alike. There's always a difference when you compare them."