Welcome to the penultimate episode of our Read Aloud of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie. The investigation takes a surprising turn and we go to trial.
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Georgia: Hello and welcome everyone to the penultimate episode of our reading of Agatha Christie’s mystery novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Before we begin, we like to share an interesting fact or insight about the book or Agatha Christie. Did you know that Agatha Christie once disappeared? In 1926 Agatha Christie was living in Sunningdale, Berkshire with her daughter Rosalind and first husband, Archibald, or Archie, Christie. In august her husband asked her for divorce, as he had fallen in love with another woman. In december they argued over Archie’s plans for a weekend trip without Agatha. On Friday, December 3rd 1926 Agatha Chrtistie kissed Rosalind goodnight and drove off into the night. The next morning her car was found abandoned by a chalk quarry with no sign of where Agatha Christie had gone. As the days passed speculation ran rampant in the media. Some believed that this was just a publicity stunt, other thought that Archie might have murdered her. 11 days after she vanished she was found in perfect health at “Swan Hydro”, a hotel in Harrogate. Even stranger was the fact that she claimed to have no memory of what had happened and she had checked in under the name of her husband’s mistress. What truly happened with Agatha Christie’s disappearance remains a mystery. With one mystery explored, let’s begin the penultimate episode of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
To my extreme annoyance, Poirot was not in, and the old Belgian who answered my knock informed me that he believed he had gone to London.
I was dumbfounded. What on earth could Poirot be doing in London! Was it a sudden decision on his part, or had he already made up his mind when he parted from me a few hours earlier?
I retraced my steps to Styles in some annoyance. With Poirot away, I was uncertain how to act. Had he foreseen this arrest? Had he not, in all probability, been the cause of it? Those questions I could not resolve. But in the meantime what was I to do? Should I announce the arrest openly at Styles, or not? Though I did not acknowledge it to myself, the thought of Mary Cavendish was weighing on me. Would it not be a terrible shock to her? For the moment, I set aside utterly any suspicions of her. She could not be implicated—otherwise I should have heard some hint of it.
Of course, there was no possibility of being able permanently to conceal Dr. Bauerstein’s arrest from her. It would be announced in every newspaper on the morrow. Still, I shrank from blurting it out. If only Poirot had been accessible, I could have asked his advice. What possessed him to go posting off to London in this unaccountable way?
In spite of myself, my opinion of his sagacity was immeasurably heightened. I would never have dreamt of suspecting the doctor, had not Poirot put it into my head. Yes, decidedly, the little man was clever.
After some reflecting, I decided to take John into my confidence, and leave him to make the matter public or not, as he thought fit.
He gave vent to a prodigious whistle, as I imparted the news.
“Great Scott! You were right, then. I couldn’t believe it at the time.”
“No, it is astonishing until you get used to the idea, and see how it makes everything fit in. Now, what are we to do? Of course, it will be generally known to-morrow.”
“Never mind,” he said at last, “we won’t say anything at present. There is no need. As you say, it will be known soon enough.”
But to my intense surprise, on getting down early the next morning, and eagerly opening the newspapers, there was not a word about the arrest! There was a column of mere padding about “The Styles Poisoning Case,” but nothing further. It was rather inexplicable, but I supposed that, for some reason or other, Japp wished to keep it out of the papers. It worried me just a little, for it suggested the possibility that there might be further arrests to come.
After breakfast, I decided to go down to the village, and see if Poirot had returned yet; but, before I could start, a well-known face blocked one of the windows, and the well-known voice said:
“Bonjour, mon ami!”
“Poirot,” I exclaimed, with relief, and seizing him by both hands, I dragged him into the room. “I was never so glad to see anyone. Listen, I have said nothing to anybody but John. Is that right?”
“My friend,” replied Poirot, “I do not know what you are talking about.”
“Dr. Bauerstein’s arrest, of course,” I answered impatiently.
“Is Bauerstein arrested, then?”
“Did you not know it?”
“Not the least in the world.” But, pausing a moment, he added: “Still, it does not surprise me. After all, we are only four miles from the coast.”
“The coast?” I asked, puzzled. “What has that got to do with it?”
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
“Surely, it is obvious!”
“Not to me. No doubt I am very dense, but I cannot see what the proximity of the coast has got to do with the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp.”
“Nothing at all, of course,” replied Poirot, smiling. “But we were speaking of the arrest of Dr. Bauerstein.”
“Well, he is arrested for the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp——”
“What?” cried Poirot, in apparently lively astonishment. “Dr. Bauerstein arrested for the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp?”
“Impossible! That would be too good a farce! Who told you that, my friend?”
“Well, no one exactly told me,” I confessed. “But he is arrested.”
“Oh, yes, very likely. But for espionage, mon ami.”
“Espionage?” I gasped.
“Not for poisoning Mrs. Inglethorp?”
“Not unless our friend Japp has taken leave of his senses,” replied Poirot placidly.
“But—but I thought you thought so too?”
Poirot gave me one look, which conveyed a wondering pity, and his full sense of the utter absurdity of such an idea.
“Do you mean to say,” I asked, slowly adapting myself to the new idea, “that Dr. Bauerstein is a spy?”
“Have you never suspected it?”
“It never entered my head.”
“It did not strike you as peculiar that a famous London doctor should bury himself in a little village like this, and should be in the habit of walking about at all hours of the night, fully dressed?”
“No,” I confessed, “I never thought of such a thing.”
“He is, of course, a German by birth,” said Poirot thoughtfully, “though he has practised so long in this country that nobody thinks of him as anything but an Englishman. He was naturalized about fifteen years ago. A very clever man—a Jew, of course.”
“The blackguard!” I cried indignantly.
“Not at all. He is, on the contrary, a patriot. Think what he stands to lose. I admire the man myself.”
But I could not look at it in Poirot’s philosophical way.
“And this is the man with whom Mrs. Cavendish has been wandering about all over the country!” I cried indignantly.
“Yes. I should fancy he had found her very useful,” remarked Poirot. “So long as gossip busied itself in coupling their names together, any other vagaries of the doctor’s passed unobserved.”
“Then you think he never really cared for her?” I asked eagerly—rather too eagerly, perhaps, under the circumstances.
“That, of course, I cannot say, but—shall I tell you my own private opinion, Hastings?”
“Well, it is this: that Mrs. Cavendish does not care, and never has cared one little jot about Dr. Bauerstein!”
“Do you really think so?” I could not disguise my pleasure.
“I am quite sure of it. And I will tell you why.”
“Because she cares for someone else, mon ami.”
“Oh!” What did he mean? In spite of myself, an agreeable warmth spread over me. I am not a vain man where women are concerned, but I remembered certain evidences, too lightly thought of at the time, perhaps, but which certainly seemed to indicate——
My pleasing thoughts were interrupted by the sudden entrance of Miss Howard. She glanced round hastily to make sure there was no one else in the room, and quickly produced an old sheet of brown paper. This she handed to Poirot, murmuring as she did so the cryptic words:
“On top of the wardrobe.” Then she hurriedly left the room.
Poirot unfolded the sheet of paper eagerly, and uttered an exclamation of satisfaction. He spread it out on the table.
“Come here, Hastings. Now tell me, what is that initial—J. or L.?”
It was a medium sized sheet of paper, rather dusty, as though it had lain by for some time. But it was the label that was attracting Poirot’s attention. At the top, it bore the printed stamp of Messrs. Parkson’s, the well-known theatrical costumiers, and it was addressed to “—(the debatable initial) Cavendish, Esq., Styles Court, Styles St. Mary, Essex.”
“It might be T., or it might be L.,” I said, after studying the thing for a minute or two. “It certainly isn’t a J.”
“Good,” replied Poirot, folding up the paper again. “I, also, am of your way of thinking. It is an L., depend upon it!”
“Where did it come from?” I asked curiously. “Is it important?”
“Moderately so. It confirms a surmise of mine. Having deduced its existence, I set Miss Howard to search for it, and, as you see, she has been successful.”
“What did she mean by ‘On the top of the wardrobe’?”
“She meant,” replied Poirot promptly, “that she found it on top of a wardrobe.”
“A funny place for a piece of brown paper,” I mused.
“Not at all. The top of a wardrobe is an excellent place for brown paper and cardboard boxes. I have kept them there myself. Neatly arranged, there is nothing to offend the eye.”
“Poirot,” I asked earnestly, “have you made up your mind about this crime?”
“Yes—that is to say, I believe I know how it was committed.”
“Unfortunately, I have no proof beyond my surmise, unless——” With sudden energy, he caught me by the arm, and whirled me down the hall, calling out in French in his excitement: “Mademoiselle Dorcas, Mademoiselle Dorcas, un moment, s’il vous plaît!”
Dorcas, quite flurried by the noise, came hurrying out of the pantry.
“My good Dorcas, I have an idea—a little idea—if it should prove justified, what magnificent chance! Tell me, on Monday, not Tuesday, Dorcas, but Monday, the day before the tragedy, did anything go wrong with Mrs. Inglethorp’s bell?”
Dorcas looked very surprised.
“Yes, sir, now you mention it, it did; though I don’t know how you came to hear of it. A mouse, or some such, must have nibbled the wire through. The man came and put it right on Tuesday morning.”
With a long drawn exclamation of ecstasy, Poirot led the way back to the morning-room.
“See you, one should not ask for outside proof—no, reason should be enough. But the flesh is weak, it is consolation to find that one is on the right track. Ah, my friend, I am like a giant refreshed. I run! I leap!”
And, in very truth, run and leap he did, gambolling wildly down the stretch of lawn outside the long window.
“What is your remarkable little friend doing?” asked a voice behind me, and I turned to find Mary Cavendish at my elbow. She smiled, and so did I. “What is it all about?”
“Really, I can’t tell you. He asked Dorcas some question about a bell, and appeared so delighted with her answer that he is capering about as you see!”
“How ridiculous! He’s going out of the gate. Isn’t he coming back to-day?”
“I don’t know. I’ve given up trying to guess what he’ll do next.”
“Is he quite mad, Mr. Hastings?”
“I honestly don’t know. Sometimes, I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter; and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is method in his madness.”
In spite of her laugh, Mary was looking thoughtful this morning. She seemed grave, almost sad.
It occurred to me that it would be a good opportunity to tackle her on the subject of Cynthia. I began rather tactfully, I thought, but I had not gone far before she stopped me authoritatively.
“You are an excellent advocate, I have no doubt, Mr. Hastings, but in this case your talents are quite thrown away. Cynthia will run no risk of encountering any unkindness from me.”
I began to stammer feebly that I hoped she hadn’t thought—— But again she stopped me, and her words were so unexpected that they quite drove Cynthia, and her troubles, out of my mind.
“Mr. Hastings,” she said, “do you think I and my husband are happy together?”
I was considerably taken aback, and murmured something about it’s not being my business to think anything of the sort.
“Well,” she said quietly, “whether it is your business or not, I will tell you that we are not happy.”
I said nothing, for I saw that she had not finished.
She began slowly, walking up and down the room, her head a little bent, and that slim, supple figure of hers swaying gently as she walked. She stopped suddenly, and looked up at me.
“You don’t know anything about me, do you?” she asked. “Where I come from, who I was before I married John—anything, in fact? Well, I will tell you. I will make a father confessor of you. You are kind, I think—yes, I am sure you are kind.”
Somehow, I was not quite as elated as I might have been. I remembered that Cynthia had begun her confidences in much the same way. Besides, a father confessor should be elderly, it is not at all the role for a young man.
“My father was English,” said Mrs. Cavendish, “but my mother was a Russian.”
“Ah,” I said, “now I understand——”
“A hint of something foreign—different—that there has always been about you.”
“My mother was very beautiful, I believe. I don’t know, because I never saw her. She died when I was quite a little child. I believe there was some tragedy connected with her death—she took an overdose of some sleeping draught by mistake. However that may be, my father was broken-hearted. Shortly afterwards, he went into the Consular Service. Everywhere he went, I went with him. When I was twenty-three, I had been nearly all over the world. It was a splendid life—I loved it.”
There was a smile on her face, and her head was thrown back. She seemed living in the memory of those old glad days.
“Then my father died. He left me very badly off. I had to go and live with some old aunts in Yorkshire.” She shuddered. “You will understand me when I say that it was a deadly life for a girl brought up as I had been. The narrowness, the deadly monotony of it, almost drove me mad.” She paused a minute, and added in a different tone: “And then I met John Cavendish.”
“You can imagine that, from my aunts’ point of view, it was a very good match for me. But I can honestly say it was not this fact which weighed with me. No, he was simply a way of escape from the insufferable monotony of my life.”
I said nothing, and after a moment, she went on:
“Don’t misunderstand me. I was quite honest with him. I told him, what was true, that I liked him very much, that I hoped to come to like him more, but that I was not in any way what the world calls ‘in love’ with him. He declared that that satisfied him, and so—we were married.”
She waited a long time, a little frown had gathered on her forehead. She seemed to be looking back earnestly into those past days.
“I think—I am sure—he cared for me at first. But I suppose we were not well matched. Almost at once, we drifted apart. He—it is not a pleasing thing for my pride, but it is the truth—tired of me very soon.” I must have made some murmur of dissent, for she went on quickly: “Oh, yes, he did! Not that it matters now—now that we’ve come to the parting of the ways.”
“What do you mean?”
She answered quietly:
“I mean that I am not going to remain at Styles.”
“You and John are not going to live here?”
“John may live here, but I shall not.”
“You are going to leave him?”
She paused a long time, and said at last:
“Perhaps—because I want to be—free!”
And, as she spoke, I had a sudden vision of broad spaces, virgin tracts of forests, untrodden lands—and a realization of what freedom would mean to such a nature as Mary Cavendish. I seemed to see her for a moment as she was, a proud wild creature, as untamed by civilization as some shy bird of the hills. A little cry broke from her lips:
“You don’t know, you don’t know, how this hateful place has been prison to me!”
“I understand,” I said, “but—but don’t do anything rash.”
“Oh, rash!” Her voice mocked at my prudence.
Then suddenly I said a thing I could have bitten out my tongue for:
“You know that Dr. Bauerstein has been arrested?”
An instant coldness passed like a mask over her face, blotting out all expression.
“John was so kind as to break that to me this morning.”
“Well, what do you think?” I asked feebly.
“Of the arrest?”
“What should I think? Apparently he is a German spy; so the gardener had told John.”
Her face and voice were absolutely cold and expressionless. Did she care, or did she not?
She moved away a step or two, and fingered one of the flower vases.
“These are quite dead. I must do them again. Would you mind moving—thank you, Mr. Hastings.” And she walked quietly past me out of the window, with a cool little nod of dismissal.
No, surely she could not care for Bauerstein. No woman could act her part with that icy unconcern.
Poirot did not make his appearance the following morning, and there was no sign of the Scotland Yard men.
But, at lunch-time, there arrived a new piece of evidence—or rather lack of evidence. We had vainly tried to trace the fourth letter, which Mrs. Inglethorp had written on the evening preceding her death. Our efforts having been in vain, we had abandoned the matter, hoping that it might turn up of itself one day. And this is just what did happen, in the shape of a communication, which arrived by the second post from a firm of French music publishers, acknowledging Mrs. Inglethorp’s cheque, and regretting they had been unable to trace a certain series of Russian folksongs. So the last hope of solving the mystery, by means of Mrs. Inglethorp’s correspondence on the fatal evening, had to be abandoned.
Just before tea, I strolled down to tell Poirot of the new disappointment, but found, to my annoyance, that he was once more out.
“Gone to London again?”
“Oh, no, monsieur, he has but taken the train to Tadminster. ‘To see a young lady’s dispensary,’ he said.”
“Silly ass!” I ejaculated. “I told him Wednesday was the one day she wasn’t there! Well, tell him to look us up to-morrow morning, will you?”
But, on the following day, no sign of Poirot. I was getting angry. He was really treating us in the most cavalier fashion.
After lunch, Lawrence drew me aside, and asked if I was going down to see him.
“No, I don’t think I shall. He can come up here if he wants to see us.”
“Oh!” Lawrence looked indeterminate. Something unusually nervous and excited in his manner roused my curiosity.
“What is it?” I asked. “I could go if there’s anything special.”
“It’s nothing much, but—well, if you are going, will you tell him——” he dropped his voice to a whisper—“I think I’ve found the extra coffee-cup!”
I had almost forgotten that enigmatical message of Poirot’s, but now my curiosity was aroused afresh.
Lawrence would say no more, so I decided that I would descend from my high horse, and once more seek out Poirot at Leastways Cottage.
This time I was received with a smile. Monsieur Poirot was within. Would I mount? I mounted accordingly.
Poirot was sitting by the table, his head buried in his hands. He sprang up at my entrance.
“What is it?” I asked solicitously. “You are not ill, I trust?”
“No, no, not ill. But I decide an affair of great moment.”
“Whether to catch the criminal or not?” I asked facetiously.
But, to my great surprise, Poirot nodded gravely.
“‘To speak or not to speak,’ as your so great Shakespeare says, ‘that is the question.’”
I did not trouble to correct the quotation.
“You are not serious, Poirot?”
“I am of the most serious. For the most serious of all things hangs in the balance.”
“And that is?”
“A woman’s happiness, mon ami,” he said gravely.
I did not quite know what to say.
“The moment has come,” said Poirot thoughtfully, “and I do not know what to do. For, see you, it is a big stake for which I play. No one but I, Hercule Poirot, would attempt it!” And he tapped himself proudly on the breast.
After pausing a few minutes respectfully, so as not to spoil his effect, I gave him Lawrence’s message.
“Aha!” he cried. “So he has found the extra coffee-cup. That is good. He has more intelligence than would appear, this long-faced Monsieur Lawrence of yours!”
I did not myself think very highly of Lawrence’s intelligence; but I forebore to contradict Poirot, and gently took him to task for forgetting my instructions as to which were Cynthia’s days off.
“It is true. I have the head of a sieve. However, the other young lady was most kind. She was sorry for my disappointment, and showed me everything in the kindest way.”
“Oh, well, that’s all right, then, and you must go to tea with Cynthia another day.”
I told him about the letter.
“I am sorry for that,” he said. “I always had hopes of that letter. But no, it was not to be. This affair must all be unravelled from within.” He tapped his forehead. “These little grey cells. It is ‘up to them’—as you say over here.” Then, suddenly, he asked: “Are you a judge of finger-marks, my friend?”
“No,” I said, rather surprised, “I know that there are no two finger-marks alike, but that’s as far as my science goes.”
He unlocked a little drawer, and took out some photographs which he laid on the table.
“I have numbered them, 1, 2, 3. Will you describe them to me?”
I studied the proofs attentively.
“All greatly magnified, I see. No. 1, I should say, are a man’s finger-prints; thumb and first finger. No. 2 are a lady’s; they are much smaller, and quite different in every way. No. 3”—I paused for some time—“there seem to be a lot of confused finger-marks, but here, very distinctly, are No. 1’s.”
“Overlapping the others?”
“You recognize them beyond fail?”
“Oh, yes; they are identical.”
Poirot nodded, and gently taking the photographs from me locked them up again.
“I suppose,” I said, “that as usual, you are not going to explain?”
“On the contrary. No. 1 were the finger-prints of Monsieur Lawrence. No. 2 were those of Mademoiselle Cynthia. They are not important. I merely obtained them for comparison. No. 3 is a little more complicated.”
“It is, as you see, highly magnified. You may have noticed a sort of blur extending all across the picture. I will not describe to you the special apparatus, dusting powder, etc., which I used. It is a well-known process to the police, and by means of it you can obtain a photograph of the finger-prints of any object in a very short space of time. Well, my friend, you have seen the finger-marks—it remains to tell you the particular object on which they had been left.”
“Go on—I am really excited.”
“Eh bien! Photo No. 3 represents the highly magnified surface of a tiny bottle in the top poison cupboard of the dispensary in the Red Cross Hospital at Tadminster—which sounds like the house that Jack built!”
“Good heavens!” I exclaimed. “But what were Lawrence Cavendish’s finger-marks doing on it? He never went near the poison cupboard the day we were there!”
“Oh, yes, he did!”
“Impossible! We were all together the whole time.”
Poirot shook his head.
“No, my friend, there was a moment when you were not all together. There was a moment when you could not have been all together, or it would not have been necessary to call to Monsieur Lawrence to come and join you on the balcony.”
“I’d forgotten that,” I admitted. “But it was only for a moment.”
“Long enough for what?”
Poirot’s smile became rather enigmatical.
“Long enough for a gentleman who had once studied medicine to gratify a very natural interest and curiosity.”
Our eyes met. Poirot’s were pleasantly vague. He got up and hummed a little tune. I watched him suspiciously.
“Poirot,” I said, “what was in this particular little bottle?”
Poirot looked out of the window.
“Hydro-chloride of strychnine,” he said, over his shoulder, continuing to hum.
“Good heavens!” I said it quite quietly. I was not surprised. I had expected that answer.
“They use the pure hydro-chloride of strychnine very little—only occasionally for pills. It is the official solution, Liq. Strychnine Hydro-clor. that is used in most medicines. That is why the finger-marks have remained undisturbed since then.”
“How did you manage to take this photograph?”
“I dropped my hat from the balcony,” explained Poirot simply. “Visitors were not permitted below at that hour, so, in spite of my many apologies, Mademoiselle Cynthia’s colleague had to go down and fetch it for me.”
“Then you knew what you were going to find?”
“No, not at all. I merely realized that it was possible, from your story, for Monsieur Lawrence to go to the poison cupboard. The possibility had to be confirmed, or eliminated.”
“Poirot,” I said, “your gaiety does not deceive me. This is a very important discovery.”
“I do not know,” said Poirot. “But one thing does strike me. No doubt it has struck you too.”
“What is that?”
“Why, that there is altogether too much strychnine about this case. This is the third time we run up against it. There was strychnine in Mrs. Inglethorp’s tonic. There is the strychnine sold across the counter at Styles St. Mary by Mace. Now we have more strychnine, handled by one of the household. It is confusing; and, as you know, I do not like confusion.”
Before I could reply, one of the other Belgians opened the door and stuck his head in.
“There is a lady below, asking for Mr Hastings.”
I jumped up. Poirot followed me down the narrow stairs. Mary Cavendish was standing in the doorway.
“I have been visiting an old woman in the village,” she explained, “and as Lawrence told me you were with Monsieur Poirot I thought I would call for you.”
“Alas, madame,” said Poirot, “I thought you had come to honour me with a visit!”
“I will some day, if you ask me,” she promised him, smiling.
“That is well. If you should need a father confessor, madame”—she started ever so slightly—“remember, Papa Poirot is always at your service.”
She stared at him for a few minutes, as though seeking to read some deeper meaning into his words. Then she turned abruptly away.
“Come, will you not walk back with us too, Monsieur Poirot?”
All the way to Styles, Mary talked fast and feverishly. It struck me that in some way she was nervous of Poirot’s eyes.
The weather had broken, and the sharp wind was almost autumnal in its shrewishness. Mary shivered a little, and buttoned her black sports coat closer. The wind through the trees made a mournful noise, like some great giant sighing.
We walked up to the great door of Styles, and at once the knowledge came to us that something was wrong.
Dorcas came running out to meet us. She was crying and wringing her hands. I was aware of other servants huddled together in the background, all eyes and ears.
“Oh, m’am! Oh, m’am! I don’t know how to tell you——”
“What is it, Dorcas?” I asked impatiently. “Tell us at once.”
“It’s those wicked detectives. They’ve arrested him—they’ve arrested Mr. Cavendish!”
“Arrested Lawrence?” I gasped.
I saw a strange look come into Dorcas’s eyes.
“No, sir. Not Mr. Lawrence—Mr. John.”
Behind me, with a wild cry, Mary Cavendish fell heavily against me, and as I turned to catch her I met the quiet triumph in Poirot’s eyes.
THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION
The trial of John Cavendish for the murder of his stepmother took place two months later.
Of the intervening weeks I will say little, but my admiration and sympathy went out unfeignedly to Mary Cavendish. She ranged herself passionately on her husband’s side, scorning the mere idea of his guilt, and fought for him tooth and nail.
I expressed my admiration to Poirot, and he nodded thoughtfully.
“Yes, she is of those women who show at their best in adversity. It brings out all that is sweetest and truest in them. Her pride and her jealousy have——”
“Jealousy?” I queried.
“Yes. Have you not realized that she is an unusually jealous woman? As I was saying, her pride and jealousy have been laid aside. She thinks of nothing but her husband, and the terrible fate that is hanging over him.”
He spoke very feelingly, and I looked at him earnestly, remembering that last afternoon, when he had been deliberating whether or not to speak. With his tenderness for “a woman’s happiness,” I felt glad that the decision had been taken out of his hands.
“Even now,” I said, “I can hardly believe it. You see, up to the very last minute, I thought it was Lawrence!”
“I know you did.”
“But John! My old friend John!”
“Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend,” observed Poirot philosophically. “You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.”
“I must say I think you might have given me a hint.”
“Perhaps, mon ami, I did not do so, just because he was your old friend.”
I was rather disconcerted by this, remembering how I had busily passed on to John what I believed to be Poirot’s views concerning Bauerstein. He, by the way, had been acquitted of the charge brought against him. Nevertheless, although he had been too clever for them this time, and the charge of espionage could not be brought home to him, his wings were pretty well clipped for the future.
I asked Poirot whether he thought John would be condemned. To my intense surprise, he replied that, on the contrary, he was extremely likely to be acquitted.
“But, Poirot——” I protested.
“Oh, my friend, have I not said to you all along that I have no proofs. It is one thing to know that a man is guilty, it is quite another matter to prove him so. And, in this case, there is terribly little evidence. That is the whole trouble. I, Hercule Poirot, know, but I lack the last link in my chain. And unless I can find that missing link——” He shook his head gravely.
“When did you first suspect John Cavendish?” I asked, after a minute or two.
“Did you not suspect him at all?”
“Not after that fragment of conversation you overheard between Mrs. Cavendish and her mother-in-law, and her subsequent lack of frankness at the inquest?”
“Did you not put two and two together, and reflect that if it was not Alfred Inglethorp who was quarrelling with his wife—and you remember, he strenuously denied it at the inquest—it must be either Lawrence or John. Now, if it was Lawrence, Mary Cavendish’s conduct was just as inexplicable. But if, on the other hand, it was John, the whole thing was explained quite naturally.”
“So,” I cried, a light breaking in upon me, “it was John who quarrelled with his mother that afternoon?”
“And you have known this all along?”
“Certainly. Mrs. Cavendish’s behaviour could only be explained that way.”
“And yet you say he may be acquitted?”
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
“Certainly I do. At the police court proceedings, we shall hear the case for the prosecution, but in all probability his solicitors will advise him to reserve his defence. That will be sprung upon us at the trial. And—ah, by the way, I have a word of caution to give you, my friend. I must not appear in the case.”
“No. Officially, I have nothing to do with it. Until I have found that last link in my chain, I must remain behind the scenes. Mrs. Cavendish must think I am working for her husband, not against him.”
“I say, that’s playing it a bit low down,” I protested.
“Not at all. We have to deal with a most clever and unscrupulous man, and we must use any means in our power—otherwise he will slip through our fingers. That is why I have been careful to remain in the background. All the discoveries have been made by Japp, and Japp will take all the credit. If I am called upon to give evidence at all”—he smiled broadly—“it will probably be as a witness for the defence.”
I could hardly believe my ears.
“It is quite en règle,” continued Poirot. “Strangely enough, I can give evidence that will demolish one contention of the prosecution.”
“The one that relates to the destruction of the will. John Cavendish did not destroy that will.”
Poirot was a true prophet. I will not go into the details of the police court proceedings, as it involves many tiresome repetitions. I will merely state baldly that John Cavendish reserved his defence, and was duly committed for trial.
September found us all in London. Mary took a house in Kensington, Poirot being included in the family party.
I myself had been given a job at the War Office, so was able to see them continually.
As the weeks went by, the state of Poirot’s nerves grew worse and worse. That “last link” he talked about was still lacking. Privately, I hoped it might remain so, for what happiness could there be for Mary, if John were not acquitted?
On September 15th John Cavendish appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey, charged with “The Wilful Murder of Emily Agnes Inglethorp,” and pleaded “Not Guilty.”
Sir Ernest Heavywether, the famous K.C., had been engaged to defend him.
Mr. Philips, K.C., opened the case for the Crown.
The murder, he said, was a most premeditated and cold-blooded one. It was neither more nor less than the deliberate poisoning of a fond and trusting woman by the stepson to whom she had been more than a mother. Ever since his boyhood, she had supported him. He and his wife had lived at Styles Court in every luxury, surrounded by her care and attention. She had been their kind and generous benefactress.
He proposed to call witnesses to show how the prisoner, a profligate and spendthrift, had been at the end of his financial tether, and had also been carrying on an intrigue with a certain Mrs. Raikes, a neighbouring farmer’s wife. This having come to his stepmother’s ears, she taxed him with it on the afternoon before her death, and a quarrel ensued, part of which was overheard. On the previous day, the prisoner had purchased strychnine at the village chemist’s shop, wearing a disguise by means of which he hoped to throw the onus of the crime upon another man—to wit, Mrs. Inglethorp’s husband, of whom he had been bitterly jealous. Luckily for Mr. Inglethorp, he had been able to produce an unimpeachable alibi.
On the afternoon of July 17th, continued Counsel, immediately after the quarrel with her son, Mrs. Inglethorp made a new will. This will was found destroyed in the grate of her bedroom the following morning, but evidence had come to light which showed that it had been drawn up in favour of her husband. Deceased had already made a will in his favour before her marriage, but—and Mr. Philips wagged an expressive forefinger—the prisoner was not aware of that. What had induced the deceased to make a fresh will, with the old one still extant, he could not say. She was an old lady, and might possibly have forgotten the former one; or—this seemed to him more likely—she may have had an idea that it was revoked by her marriage, as there had been some conversation on the subject. Ladies were not always very well versed in legal knowledge. She had, about a year before, executed a will in favour of the prisoner. He would call evidence to show that it was the prisoner who ultimately handed his stepmother her coffee on the fatal night. Later in the evening, he had sought admission to her room, on which occasion, no doubt, he found an opportunity of destroying the will which, as far as he knew, would render the one in his favour valid.
The prisoner had been arrested in consequence of the discovery, in his room, by Detective Inspector Japp—a most brilliant officer—of the identical phial of strychnine which had been sold at the village chemist’s to the supposed Mr. Inglethorp on the day before the murder. It would be for the jury to decide whether or not these damning facts constituted an overwhelming proof of the prisoner’s guilt.
And, subtly implying that a jury which did not so decide, was quite unthinkable, Mr. Philips sat down and wiped his forehead.
The first witnesses for the prosecution were mostly those who had been called at the inquest, the medical evidence being again taken first.
Sir Ernest Heavywether, who was famous all over England for the unscrupulous manner in which he bullied witnesses, only asked two questions.
“I take it, Dr. Bauerstein, that strychnine, as a drug, acts quickly?”
“And that you are unable to account for the delay in this case?”
Mr. Mace identified the phial handed him by Counsel as that sold by him to “Mr. Inglethorp.” Pressed, he admitted that he only knew Mr. Inglethorp by sight. He had never spoken to him. The witness was not cross-examined.
Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison. He also denied having quarrelled with his wife. Various witnesses testified to the accuracy of these statements.
The gardeners’ evidence, as to the witnessing of the will was taken, and then Dorcas was called.
Dorcas, faithful to her “young gentlemen,” denied strenuously that it could have been John’s voice she heard, and resolutely declared, in the teeth of everything, that it was Mr. Inglethorp who had been in the boudoir with her mistress. A rather wistful smile passed across the face of the prisoner in the dock. He knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it was not the object of the defence to deny this point. Mrs. Cavendish, of course, could not be called upon to give evidence against her husband.
After various questions on other matters, Mr. Philips asked:
“In the month of June last, do you remember a parcel arriving for Mr. Lawrence Cavendish from Parkson’s?”
Dorcas shook her head.
“I don’t remember, sir. It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was away from home part of June.”
“In the event of a parcel arriving for him whilst he was away, what would be done with it?”
“It would either be put in his room or sent on after him.”
“No, sir, I should leave it on the hall table. It would be Miss Howard who would attend to anything like that.”
Evelyn Howard was called and, after being examined on other points, was questioned as to the parcel.
“Don’t remember. Lots of parcels come. Can’t remember one special one.”
“You do not know if it was sent after Mr. Lawrence Cavendish to Wales, or whether it was put in his room?”
“Don’t think it was sent after him. Should have remembered it if it was.”
“Supposing a parcel arrived addressed to Mr. Lawrence Cavendish, and afterwards it disappeared, should you remark its absence?”
“No, don’t think so. I should think someone had taken charge of it.”
“I believe, Miss Howard, that it was you who found this sheet of brown paper?” He held up the same dusty piece which Poirot and I had examined in the morning-room at Styles.
“Yes, I did.”
“How did you come to look for it?”
“The Belgian detective who was employed on the case asked me to search for it.”
“Where did you eventually discover it?”
“On the top of—of—a wardrobe.”
“On top of the prisoner’s wardrobe?”
“I—I believe so.”
“Did you not find it yourself?”
“Then you must know where you found it?”
“Yes, it was on the prisoner’s wardrobe.”
“That is better.”
An assistant from Parkson’s, Theatrical Costumiers, testified that on June 29th, they had supplied a black beard to Mr. L. Cavendish, as requested. It was ordered by letter, and a postal order was enclosed. No, they had not kept the letter. All transactions were entered in their books. They had sent the beard, as directed, to “L. Cavendish, Esq., Styles Court.”
Sir Ernest Heavywether rose ponderously.
“Where was the letter written from?”
“From Styles Court.”
“The same address to which you sent the parcel?”
“And the letter came from there?”
Like a beast of prey, Heavywether fell upon him:
“How do you know?”
“I—I don’t understand.”
“How do you know that letter came from Styles? Did you notice the postmark?”
“Ah, you did not notice the postmark! And yet you affirm so confidently that it came from Styles. It might, in fact, have been any postmark?”
“In fact, the letter, though written on stamped notepaper, might have been posted from anywhere? From Wales, for instance?”
The witness admitted that such might be the case, and Sir Ernest signified that he was satisfied.
Elizabeth Wells, second housemaid at Styles, stated that after she had gone to bed she remembered that she had bolted the front door, instead of leaving it on the latch as Mr. Inglethorp had requested. She had accordingly gone downstairs again to rectify her error. Hearing a slight noise in the West wing, she had peeped along the passage, and had seen Mr. John Cavendish knocking at Mrs. Inglethorp’s door.
Sir Ernest Heavywether made short work of her, and under his unmerciful bullying she contradicted herself hopelessly, and Sir Ernest sat down again with a satisfied smile on his face.
With the evidence of Annie, as to the candle grease on the floor, and as to seeing the prisoner take the coffee into the boudoir, the proceedings were adjourned until the following day.
As we went home, Mary Cavendish spoke bitterly against the prosecuting counsel.
“That hateful man! What a net he has drawn around my poor John! How he twisted every little fact until he made it seem what it wasn’t!”
“Well,” I said consolingly, “it will be the other way about to-morrow.”
“Yes,” she said meditatively; then suddenly dropped her voice. “Mr. Hastings, you do not think—surely it could not have been Lawrence—Oh, no, that could not be!”
But I myself was puzzled, and as soon as I was alone with Poirot I asked him what he thought Sir Ernest was driving at.
“Ah!” said Poirot appreciatively. “He is a clever man, that Sir Ernest.”
“Do you think he believes Lawrence guilty?”
“I do not think he believes or cares anything! No, what he is trying for is to create such confusion in the minds of the jury that they are divided in their opinion as to which brother did it. He is endeavouring to make out that there is quite as much evidence against Lawrence as against John—and I am not at all sure that he will not succeed.”
Detective-inspector Japp was the first witness called when the trial was reopened, and gave his evidence succinctly and briefly. After relating the earlier events, he proceeded:
“Acting on information received, Superintendent Summerhaye and myself searched the prisoner’s room, during his temporary absence from the house. In his chest of drawers, hidden beneath some underclothing, we found: first, a pair of gold-rimmed pince-nez similar to those worn by Mr. Inglethorp”—these were exhibited—“secondly, this phial.”
The phial was that already recognized by the chemist’s assistant, a tiny bottle of blue glass, containing a few grains of a white crystalline powder, and labelled: “Strychnine Hydro-chloride. POISON.”
A fresh piece of evidence discovered by the detectives since the police court proceedings was a long, almost new piece of blotting-paper. It had been found in Mrs. Inglethorp’s cheque book, and on being reversed at a mirror, showed clearly the words: “. . . erything of which I die possessed I leave to my beloved husband Alfred Ing...” This placed beyond question the fact that the destroyed will had been in favour of the deceased lady’s husband. Japp then produced the charred fragment of paper recovered from the grate, and this, with the discovery of the beard in the attic, completed his evidence.
But Sir Ernest’s cross-examination was yet to come.
“What day was it when you searched the prisoner’s room?”
“Tuesday, the 24th of July.”
“Exactly a week after the tragedy?”
“You found these two objects, you say, in the chest of drawers. Was the drawer unlocked?”
“Does it not strike you as unlikely that a man who had committed a crime should keep the evidence of it in an unlocked drawer for anyone to find?”
“He might have stowed them there in a hurry.”
“But you have just said it was a whole week since the crime. He would have had ample time to remove them and destroy them.”
“There is no perhaps about it. Would he, or would he not have had plenty of time to remove and destroy them?”
“Was the pile of underclothes under which the things were hidden heavy or light?”
“In other words, it was winter underclothing. Obviously, the prisoner would not be likely to go to that drawer?”
“Kindly answer my question. Would the prisoner, in the hottest week of a hot summer, be likely to go to a drawer containing winter underclothing. Yes, or no?”
“In that case, is it not possible that the articles in question might have been put there by a third person, and that the prisoner was quite unaware of their presence?”
“I should not think it likely.”
“But it is possible?”
“That is all.”
More evidence followed. Evidence as to the financial difficulties in which the prisoner had found himself at the end of July. Evidence as to his intrigue with Mrs. Raikes—poor Mary, that must have been bitter hearing for a woman of her pride. Evelyn Howard had been right in her facts, though her animosity against Alfred Inglethorp had caused her to jump to the conclusion that he was the person concerned.
Lawrence Cavendish was then put into the box. In a low voice, in answer to Mr. Philips’ questions, he denied having ordered anything from Parkson’s in June. In fact, on June 29th, he had been staying away, in Wales.
Instantly, Sir Ernest’s chin was shooting pugnaciously forward.
“You deny having ordered a black beard from Parkson’s on June 29th?”
“Ah! In the event of anything happening to your brother, who will inherit Styles Court?”
The brutality of the question called a flush to Lawrence’s pale face. The judge gave vent to a faint murmur of disapprobation, and the prisoner in the dock leant forward angrily.
Heavywether cared nothing for his client’s anger.
“Answer my question, if you please.”
“I suppose,” said Lawrence quietly, “that I should.”
“What do you mean by you ‘suppose’? Your brother has no children. You would inherit it, wouldn’t you?”
“Ah, that’s better,” said Heavywether, with ferocious geniality. “And you’d inherit a good slice of money too, wouldn’t you?”
“Really, Sir Ernest,” protested the judge, “these questions are not relevant.”
Sir Ernest bowed, and having shot his arrow proceeded.
“On Tuesday, the 17th July, you went, I believe, with another guest, to visit the dispensary at the Red Cross Hospital in Tadminster?”
“Did you—while you happened to be alone for a few seconds—unlock the poison cupboard, and examine some of the bottles?”
“I—I—may have done so.”
“I put it to you that you did do so?”
Sir Ernest fairly shot the next question at him.
“Did you examine one bottle in particular?”
“No, I do not think so.”
“Be careful, Mr. Cavendish. I am referring to a little bottle of Hydro-chloride of Strychnine.”
Lawrence was turning a sickly greenish colour.
“N—o—I am sure I didn’t.”
“Then how do you account for the fact that you left the unmistakable impress of your finger-prints on it?”
The bullying manner was highly efficacious with a nervous disposition.
“I—I suppose I must have taken up the bottle.”
“I suppose so too! Did you abstract any of the contents of the bottle?”
“Then why did you take it up?”
“I once studied to be a doctor. Such things naturally interest me.”
“Ah! So poisons ‘naturally interest’ you, do they? Still, you waited to be alone before gratifying that ‘interest’ of yours?”
“That was pure chance. If the others had been there, I should have done just the same.”
“Still, as it happens, the others were not there?”
“In fact, during the whole afternoon, you were only alone for a couple of minutes, and it happened—I say, it happened—to be during those two minutes that you displayed your ‘natural interest’ in Hydro-chloride of Strychnine?”
Lawrence stammered pitiably.
With a satisfied and expressive countenance, Sir Ernest observed:
“I have nothing more to ask you, Mr. Cavendish.”
This bit of cross-examination had caused great excitement in court. The heads of the many fashionably attired women present were busily laid together, and their whispers became so loud that the judge angrily threatened to have the court cleared if there was not immediate silence.
There was little more evidence. The hand-writing experts were called upon for their opinion of the signature of “Alfred Inglethorp” in the chemist’s poison register. They all declared unanimously that it was certainly not his hand-writing, and gave it as their view that it might be that of the prisoner disguised. Cross-examined, they admitted that it might be the prisoner’s hand-writing cleverly counterfeited.
Sir Ernest Heavywether’s speech in opening the case for the defence was not a long one, but it was backed by the full force of his emphatic manner. Never, he said, in the course of his long experience, had he known a charge of murder rest on slighter evidence. Not only was it entirely circumstantial, but the greater part of it was practically unproved. Let them take the testimony they had heard and sift it impartially. The strychnine had been found in a drawer in the prisoner’s room. That drawer was an unlocked one, as he had pointed out, and he submitted that there was no evidence to prove that it was the prisoner who had concealed the poison there. It was, in fact, a wicked and malicious attempt on the part of some third person to fix the crime on the prisoner. The prosecution had been unable to produce a shred of evidence in support of their contention that it was the prisoner who ordered the black beard from Parkson’s. The quarrel which had taken place between prisoner and his stepmother was freely admitted, but both it and his financial embarrassments had been grossly exaggerated.
His learned friend—Sir Ernest nodded carelessly at Mr. Philips—had stated that if the prisoner were an innocent man, he would have come forward at the inquest to explain that it was he, and not Mr. Inglethorp, who had been the participator in the quarrel. He thought the facts had been misrepresented. What had actually occurred was this. The prisoner, returning to the house on Tuesday evening, had been authoritatively told that there had been a violent quarrel between Mr. and Mrs. Inglethorp. No suspicion had entered the prisoner’s head that anyone could possibly have mistaken his voice for that of Mr. Inglethorp. He naturally concluded that his stepmother had had two quarrels.
The prosecution averred that on Monday, July 16th, the prisoner had entered the chemist’s shop in the village, disguised as Mr. Inglethorp. The prisoner, on the contrary, was at that time at a lonely spot called Marston’s Spinney, where he had been summoned by an anonymous note, couched in blackmailing terms, and threatening to reveal certain matters to his wife unless he complied with its demands. The prisoner had, accordingly, gone to the appointed spot, and after waiting there vainly for half an hour had returned home. Unfortunately, he had met with no one on the way there or back who could vouch for the truth of his story, but luckily he had kept the note, and it would be produced as evidence.
As for the statement relating to the destruction of the will, the prisoner had formerly practised at the Bar, and was perfectly well aware that the will made in his favour a year before was automatically revoked by his stepmother’s remarriage. He would call evidence to show who did destroy the will, and it was possible that that might open up quite a new view of the case.
Finally, he would point out to the jury that there was evidence against other people besides John Cavendish. He would direct their attention to the fact that the evidence against Mr. Lawrence Cavendish was quite as strong, if not stronger than that against his brother.
He would now call the prisoner.
John acquitted himself well in the witness-box. Under Sir Ernest’s skilful handling, he told his tale credibly and well. The anonymous note received by him was produced, and handed to the jury to examine. The readiness with which he admitted his financial difficulties, and the disagreement with his stepmother, lent value to his denials.
At the close of his examination, he paused, and said:
“I should like to make one thing clear. I utterly reject and disapprove of Sir Ernest Heavywether’s insinuations against my brother. My brother, I am convinced, had no more to do with the crime than I have.”
Sir Ernest merely smiled, and noted with a sharp eye that John’s protest had produced a very favourable impression on the jury.
Then the cross-examination began.
“I understand you to say that it never entered your head that the witnesses at the inquest could possibly have mistaken your voice for that of Mr. Inglethorp. Is not that very surprising?”
“No, I don’t think so. I was told there had been a quarrel between my mother and Mr. Inglethorp, and it never occurred to me that such was not really the case.”
“Not when the servant Dorcas repeated certain fragments of the conversation—fragments which you must have recognized?”
“I did not recognize them.”
“Your memory must be unusually short!”
“No, but we were both angry, and, I think, said more than we meant. I paid very little attention to my mother’s actual words.”
Mr. Philips’ incredulous sniff was a triumph of forensic skill. He passed on to the subject of the note.
“You have produced this note very opportunely. Tell me, is there nothing familiar about the hand-writing of it?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Do you not think that it bears a marked resemblance to your own hand-writing—carelessly disguised?”
“No, I do not think so.”
“I put it to you that it is your own hand-writing!”
“I put it to you that, anxious to prove an alibi, you conceived the idea of a fictitious and rather incredible appointment, and wrote this note yourself in order to bear out your statement!”
“Is it not a fact that, at the time you claim to have been waiting about at a solitary and unfrequented spot, you were really in the chemist’s shop in Styles St. Mary, where you purchased strychnine in the name of Alfred Inglethorp?”
“No, that is a lie.”
“I put it to you that, wearing a suit of Mr. Inglethorp’s clothes, with a black beard trimmed to resemble his, you were there—and signed the register in his name!”
“That is absolutely untrue.”
“Then I will leave the remarkable similarity of hand-writing between the note, the register, and your own, to the consideration of the jury,” said Mr. Philips, and sat down with the air of a man who has done his duty, but who was nevertheless horrified by such deliberate perjury.
After this, as it was growing late, the case was adjourned till Monday.
Poirot, I noticed, was looking profoundly discouraged. He had that little frown between the eyes that I knew so well.
“What is it, Poirot?” I inquired.
“Ah, mon ami, things are going badly, badly.”
In spite of myself, my heart gave a leap of relief. Evidently there was a likelihood of John Cavendish being acquitted.
When we reached the house, my little friend waved aside Mary’s offer of tea.
“No, I thank you, madame. I will mount to my room.”
I followed him. Still frowning, he went across to the desk and took out a small pack of patience cards. Then he drew up a chair to the table, and, to my utter amazement, began solemnly to build card houses!
My jaw dropped involuntarily, and he said at once:
“No, mon ami, I am not in my second childhood! I steady my nerves, that is all. This employment requires precision of the fingers. With precision of the fingers goes precision of the brain. And never have I needed that more than now!”
“What is the trouble?” I asked.
With a great thump on the table, Poirot demolished his carefully built up edifice.
“It is this, mon ami! That I can build card houses seven stories high, but I cannot”—thump—“find”—thump—“ that last link of which I spoke to you.”
I could not quite tell what to say, so I held my peace, and he began slowly building up the cards again, speaking in jerks as he did so.
“It is done—so! By placing—one card—on another—with mathematical—precision!”
I watched the card house rising under his hands, story by story. He never hesitated or faltered. It was really almost like a conjuring trick.
“What a steady hand you’ve got,” I remarked. “I believe I’ve only seen your hand shake once.”
“On an occasion when I was enraged, without doubt,” observed Poirot, with great placidity.
“Yes indeed! You were in a towering rage. Do you remember? It was when you discovered that the lock of the despatch-case in Mrs. Inglethorp’s bedroom had been forced. You stood by the mantelpiece, twiddling the things on it in your usual fashion, and your hand shook like a leaf! I must say——”
But I stopped suddenly. For Poirot, uttering a hoarse and inarticulate cry, again annihilated his masterpiece of cards, and putting his hands over his eyes swayed backwards and forwards, apparently suffering the keenest agony.
“Good heavens, Poirot!” I cried. “What is the matter? Are you taken ill?”
“No, no,” he gasped. “It is—it is—that I have an idea!”
“Oh!” I exclaimed, much relieved. “One of your ‘little ideas’?”
“Ah, ma foi, no!” replied Poirot frankly. “This time it is an idea gigantic! Stupendous! And you—you, my friend, have given it to me!”
Suddenly clasping me in his arms, he kissed me warmly on both cheeks, and before I had recovered from my surprise ran headlong from the room.
Mary Cavendish entered at that moment.
“What is the matter with Monsieur Poirot? He rushed past me crying out: ‘A garage! For the love of Heaven, direct me to a garage, madame!’ And, before I could answer, he had dashed out into the street.”
I hurried to the window. True enough, there he was, tearing down the street, hatless, and gesticulating as he went. I turned to Mary with a gesture of despair.
“He’ll be stopped by a policeman in another minute. There he goes, round the corner!”
Our eyes met, and we stared helplessly at one another.
“What can be the matter?”
I shook my head.
“I don’t know. He was building card houses, when suddenly he said he had an idea, and rushed off as you saw.”
“Well,” said Mary, “I expect he will be back before dinner.”
But night fell, and Poirot had not returned.
And with that we move into the thrilling conclusion coming out next Friday. Nearly all the clues have been revealed, have you been able to solve the mystery? If you have any theories or predictions feel free to email us at email@example.com and we may discuss them before our final episode. We have one final book tasting coming out next wednesday talking about young adult books featuring LGBTQ2S+ characters. Have a wonderful week and we can’t wait for the final episode.