Few days ago was Agatha Christie’s birthday. Here is one of her novels I like very much.
“(…)It was a pair of boots Miss the tick kind you rubs oil into and which the Captain would have worn if he had gone out in the snow but he didn’t go out in the snow it doesn’t seem to make sense. But missing they are and who took them nobody knows and though I well know it’s of no importance I felt it my duty to write and hoping this finds you as it leaves me at present and hoping you are not worrying too much about the young gentleman I remain Miss Yours truly
Poirot took a quick step forwards. “You should not do that. Mademoiselle–“ The young woman started nervously at the sound of his voice. The revolver slipped through her fingers. She was standing by the edge of the pool and the revolver fell with a splash into the water.
Her mouth opened and she uttered an “Oh” of consternation, turning her head to look at Poirot apologetically. “What a fool I am,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
The first person that Anthony saw as he alighted from his train on the following afternoon was Superintendent Battle. His face broke into a smile. ‘I’ve returned according to contract,’ he remarked. Did you come down here to assure yourself of the fact?’ Battle shook his head. ‘I wasn’t worrying about that, Mr Cade. I happen to be going to London, that’s all.’ You have such a trustful nature, Battle.’ ‘Do you think so, sir?’ ‘No. I think you’re deep-very deep. Still waters, you know, and all that sort of thing. So you’re going to London?’ I am, Mr Cade.’ I wonder why.’ The detective did not reply.
Just for a moment an odd restlessness came to him – a rippling of his previous placidity. He felt, There’s something – something I haven’t got – something I want – I want – I want…. The golden green light, the softness in the air – with them came a quickened pulse, a stirring of the blood, a sudden impatience. A girl came through the trees toward him – a girl with pale, gleaming hair and a rose-flushed skin. He thought, How beautiful – how unutterably beautiful. Something gripped him; he stood quite still, as though frozen into immobility. The world, he felt, was spinning, was topsy-turvy, was suddenly and impossibly and gloriously crazy! The girl stopped suddenly, then she came on. She came up to him where he stood, dumb and absurdly fish-like, his mouth open.
“You see, Watson, but you do not observe. I wonder now whether one of these haughty damsels would condescend to notice us? Splendid, she drifts this way. It is true that she appears to be thinking of something else, but doubtless her subconscious mind is functioning busily with such matters as ham and eggs and pots of tea. Chop and fried potatoes, please, Miss, and a large coffee, a roll and butter, and a plate of tongue for the lady.” The waitress repeated the order in a scornful tone, but Tuppence leant forward suddenly and interrupted her. “No, not a chop and fried potatoes. This gentleman will have a cheese cake and a glass of milk.” “A cheese cake and a milk,” said the waitress with even deeper scorn if that were possible. Still thinking of something else, she drifted away again. “That was uncalled for,” said Tommy coldly. “But I’m right, aren’t I? You are the Old Man in the Corner? Where’s your piece of string?” Tommy drew a long twisted mesh of string from his pocket, and proceeded to tie a couple of knots in it. “Complete to the smallest detail,” he murmured. “You made a small mistake in ordering your meal, though.” “Women are so literal minded,” said Tommy. “If there’s one thing I hate it’s milk to drink, and cheese cakes are always so yellow and bilious looking.”
‘Hallo,’ said the young man. ‘Nice place this. Do you often come here?’
‘Nearly every day.’
‘Just my luck that I never came here before. Was that your lunch you were eating?’
‘I don’t think you eat enough. I’d be starving if I only had two sandwiches. What about coming along and having a sausage at the SPO in Tottenham Court Road?’
‘No thanks. I’m quite all right. I couldn’t eat any more now.’
She rather expected that he would say: ‘Another day,’ but he did not. He merely sighed – then he said: ‘My name’s Edward, what’s yours?’
‘Why did your people want to call you after a railway station?’
‘Victoria isn’t only a railway station,’ Miss Jones pointed out. ‘There’s Queen Victoria as well.’
‘Mm yes. What’s your other name?’
‘Victoria Jones,’ said Edward, trying it over on his tongue. He shook his head. ‘They don’t go together.’
Whether the key word to the situation is the phrase “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” or not doesn’t seem to me to matter much since you’ve no clue to who Evans is or as to what he was to have been asked. Let’s put it that the murderer or murderers assumed that Jones was in possession of some knowledge, whether he knew it himself or not, which was dangerous to them.
‘You see, you’ve asked the same question that Carstairs asked. Why didn’t they ask the parlourmaid? Why didn’t they ask Evans?’ ‘Ohi Bobby, we’re getting there at last” ‘The same thing must have struck Carstairs. He was nosing round, just as we were, looking for something fishy – and this point struck him just as it struck us. And, moreover, I believe he came to Wales for that reason.’
Softly Dr. Gerard quoted: “‘So I returned and did consider all the oppressions done beneath the sun. And there was weeping and whining from those that were oppressed and had no comfort; for with their oppressors there was power, so that no one came to comfort them. Then I did praise the dead which are already dead, yea, more than the living which linger still in life; yea, he that is not is better than dead or living; for he doth not know of the evil that is wrought forever on earth. . . .'” He broke off and said: “My dear sir, I have made a life’s study of the strange things that go on in the human mind. It is no good turning one’s face only to the fairer side of life. Below the decencies and conventions of everyday life, there lies a vast reservoir of strange things. (…)“
Stepmothers! It was rotten to have a stepmother, everybody said so. And it was true! Not that Arlena was unkind to her. Most of the time she hardly noticed the girl. But when she did, there was a contemptuous amusement in her glance, in her words. The finished grace and poise of Arlena’s movements emphasized Linda’s own adolescent clumsiness. With Arlena about, one felt, shamingly, just how immature and crude one was.
I think the Adams girl did it,’ said Japp, rising. ‘A fine bit of work on your part, M. Poirot, to tumble to that. But there, of course, you go about to theatres and amusing yourself. Things strike you that don’t get the chance of striking me. Pity there’s no apparent motive, but a little spade work will soon bring it to light, I expect.’
‘There is one person with a motive to whom you have given no attention,’ remarked Poirot.
For what he was looking at was a highly artificial murder scene. By the side of the pool was the body, artistically arranged with an outflung arm and even some red paint dripping gently over the edge of the concrete into the pool. It was a spectacular body, that of a handsome fair-haired man.
“Imagine, Hastings,” he said, “that house there-the one on the point that we have admired so much, it belongs to Mademoiselle here.” “Indeed?” I said, though I was unable to recall having expressed any admiration. In fact I had hardly noticed the house. “It looks rather eerie and imposing standing there by itself far from anything.” “It’s called End House,” said the girl. “I love it but it’s a tumble-down old place. Going to rack and ruin.”
“I talked a bit about you, and this girl was standing around listening. When you said an unattractive Ophelia it clicked somehow. I thought,
“now who does that remind me of?’ And then it came to me: “Of course.
The girl at the party that day.’ I rather think she belonged there (…)”
There they were well down to it, their faces serious, the bids coming quickly.
And the raised voice was his official voice, so different that all the heads at the
bridge table turned to him, and Anne Meredith’s hand remained poised over an
ace of spades in dummy.
“I’m sorry to tell you all,” he said, “that our host, Mr. Shaitana, is dead.”
“It was a hot, airless morning towards the end of June. Poirot had a particular routine when opening his morning correspondence. He picked up each letter, scrutinized it carefully and neatly slit the envelope
open with his papercutter“.
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