Du Pine watched them go, and a full minute passed before he roused himself. Then he took from his pocket a small phial of white tablets. This he carried to the lavatory opening out of Ballantine’s room. There he filled a glass with water, dropped a tablet in, and watched with eager eyes while it dissolved. He drained the mixture in one gulp and little by little the colour began to come back into his cheeks and the animation to his eyes. When the drug had done its work, he walked back with his usual quick, springy steps, into the room.
Maybe I am too much of an Agatha fan, but I really want to know what was in that phial.
Anyway, I am also well on the way in this week's buddy read, and am immensely enjoying the story so far.
I've liked everything I have read by Hare before, which was a good omen for this book, but there are also a few surprises in this story: I am intrigued by Hare setting this story in a part of London and among people who are struggling financially, and who - to my recollection - do not usually feature in Golden Age mysteries: older people who find it hard to make ends meet in retirement and who are not "working class" and probably have neither the social safety net of family nor the skills or opportunity to supplement their income by work.
A lot of GA mysteries seem to feature penniless young characters, who at least have prospects, or financially secure older characters, but not people turning their homes into boarding houses, or indeed, their lodgers.
I loved Hare's description of the buildings and how the buildings' facade went hand in hand with the respectability of the inhabitants.