"Then what was it that caused you to take a gigantic leap in the dark and come to the conclusion that the man posing as Sir Nicholas Moncrieff was in fact Daniel Cartwright?"
"I didn't for some time," said Craig, "not until I was introduced to the supposed Sir Nicholas at the theater one evening and was shocked by the similarity in looks, if not in manner, between him and Cartwright."
"Was that the moment when you decided to contact Chief Inspector Fuller and alert him to your misgivings?"
"No. I felt that would have been irresponsible, so I first made contact with a member of the Moncrieff family in case, as you have suggested, I was taking a gigantic leap in the dark."
Alex placed another tick on the list of questions. So far, his father hadn't laid a glove on Craig.
"Which member of the family did you contact?" asked Sir Matthew, knowing only too well.
"Mr. Hugo Moncrieff, Sir Nicholas's uncle, who informed me that his nephew had not been in touch with him since the day he'd been released from prison some two years before, which only added to my suspicions."
"Was that when you reported those suspicions to Chief Inspector Fuller?"
"No, I still felt I needed more concrete evidence."
"But the chief inspector could have relieved you of that burden, Mr. Craig. I am at a loss to understand why a busy professional gentleman like yourself chose to remain involved?"
"As I've already explained, Sir Matthew, I felt it was my responsibility to make sure that I wasn't wasting the police's time."
"How very public-spirited of you." Craig ignored Sir Matthew's barbed comment, and smiled at the jury. "But I'm bound to ask," added Sir Matthew, "who it was that alerted you to the possible advantages of being able to prove that the man posing as Sir Nicholas Moncrieff was in fact an impostor?"
"Yes, the advantages, Mr. Craig."
"I'm not sure I follow you," said Craig. Alex placed the first cross on his list. The witness was clearly playing for time.
"Then allow me to assist you," said Sir Matthew. He put out his right hand and Alex handed him a single sheet of paper. Sir Matthew ran his eye slowly down the page, giving Craig time to wonder just what bombshells it could possibly contain.
"Would I be right in suggesting, Mr. Craig," said Sir Matthew, "that if you were able to prove that it was Nicholas Moncrieff and not Danny Cartwright who committed suicide while in Belmarsh prison, Mr. Hugo Moncrieff would not only inherit the family title, but a vast fortune to go with it."
"I was not aware of that at the time," said Craig, not flinching.
"So you were acting with entirely altruistic motives?"
"Yes, I was, sir, as well as the desire to see a dangerous and violent criminal locked up."
"I will be coming to the dangerous and violent criminal who should be locked up in a moment, Mr. Craig, but before then, allow me to ask you when your acute sense of public service was overcome by the possibility of making a quick buck?"
"Sir Matthew," interrupted the judge, "that is hardly the sort of language I expect from junior counsel when addressing a QC."
"I apologize, m'lord. I will rephrase my question. Mr. Craig, when did you first become aware of the chance of making several million pounds from a piece of information you had picked up from a friend over dinner?"
"When Sir Hugo invited me to act on his behalf in a private capacity."
Alex placed another tick against another anticipated question, although he knew Craig was lying.
"Mr. Craig, do you consider it ethical for a QC to charge twenty-five percent of a man's inheritance in exchange for a piece of second-hand information?"
"It is now quite common, Sir Matthew, for barristers to be paid on results," said Craig calmly. "I realize the practice has only been introduced since your day, so perhaps I should point out that I did not charge a fee or any expenses, and that had my suspicions been proved wrong I would have wasted a considerable amount of my time and money."
Sir Matthew smiled at him. "Then you will be delighted to learn, Mr. Craig, that the altruistic side of your nature has won the day." Craig didn't rise to Sir Matthew's barb, although he was desperate to find out what he meant by it. Sir Matthew took his time before he added, "As you may be aware, the court has recently been informed by Mr. Fraser Munro, the late Sir Nicholas Moncrieff's solicitor, that his client bequeathed his entire estate to his close friend Mr. Danny Cartwright. So you have, as you feared might be the case, wasted a considerable amount of your time and money. But despite my client's good fortune, let me assure you, Mr. Craig, that I shall not be charging him twenty-five percent of his inheritance for my services."
"Nor should you," snapped Craig angrily, "as he'll be spending at least the next twenty-five years in prison, and therefore will have to wait an awfully long time before he can benefit from this unexpected windfall."
"I may be wrong, Mr. Craig," said Sir Matthew quietly, "but I have a feeling that it will be the jury who makes that decision, and not you."
"I may be wrong, Sir Matthew, but I think you'll find that a jury has already made that decision some time ago."
"Which brings me neatly on to your meeting with Chief Inspector Fuller, which you were so keen that nobody should find out about." Craig looked as if he was about to respond, then clearly thought better of it, and allowed Sir Matthew to continue. "The chief inspector, being a conscientious officer, informed the court that he would require a little more proof than photographs revealing a close similarity between the two men before he could consider making an arrest. In an answer to one of my leader's questions, he confirmed that you supplied him with that proof."
Sir Matthew knew that he was taking a risk. Had Craig responded by saying that he had no idea what he was talking about, and that he had simply passed on his suspicions to the chief inspector and left him to decide if any action should be taken, Sir Matthew had no follow-up question. He would then have to move on to a different subject, and Craig would have realized that he had merely been on a fishing expedition-and had landed nothing. But Craig did not respond immediately, which gave Sir Matthew the confidence to take an even bigger risk. He turned to Alex and said, in a voice loud enough for Craig to hear, "Let me have those photographs of Cartwright running along the Embankment, the ones that show the scar."
Alex handed his father two large photographs.
After a long pause Craig said, "I may have told the chief inspector that if the man living in The Boltons had a scar on his left thigh, just above the knee, that would prove that he was in fact Danny Cartwright."
The look on Alex's face revealed nothing, although he could hear his heart beating.
"And did you then hand over some photographs to the chief inspector to prove your point?"
"I may have done," admitted Craig.
"Perhaps if you were to see copies of the photographs they might refresh your memory?" suggested Sir Matthew, thrusting them toward him. The biggest risk of all.
"That won't be necessary," said Craig.
"I would like to see the photographs," said the judge, "and I suspect the jury would as well, Sir Matthew." Alex turned to see that several members of the jury were nodding.