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Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

9i if but she wasnt filling it up with powder with

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Unformatted text preview: ell — if you say so. You have such a tiresome habit of being right. But if it's all a mare's nest we shan't be pleased with you, you know." Hercule Poirot smiled to himself. He murmured: "No, / shall be the one who is pleased." "What's that you say ? Can't hear." "Nothing. Nothing at all." He rang off. Emerging into the post office he leaned across the counter. He said in his most engaging tones: "Can you by any chance tell me, 86 Madame, where the maid who was formerly with Doctor Oldfield -- Beatrice her Christian name was -- now resides ?" "Beatrice King? She's had two places since then. She's with Mrs. Marley over the Bank now.3' Poirot thanked her, bought two postcards, a book of stamps and a piece of local pottery. During the purchase, he contrived to bring the death of the late Mrs. Oldfield into the conversation. He was quick to note the peculiar furtive expression that stole across the postmistress's face. She said: "Very sudden, wasn't it ? It's made a lot of talk as you may have heard." A gleam of interest came into her eyes as she asked: "Maybe that's what you'd be wanting to see Beatrice King for? We all thought it odd the way she was got out of there all of a sudden. Somebody thought she knew something--and maybe she did. She's dropped some pretty broad hints." Beatrice King was a short rather slylooking girl with adenoids. She presented an appearance of stolid stupidity but her eyes were more intelligent than her manner LOH7 87 -H Jft would have led one to expect. It seemed, however, that there was nothing to be got out of Beatrice King. She repeated: "I don't know nothing about anything. . . . It's not for me to say what went on up there ... I don't know what you mean by overhearing a conversation between the doctor and Miss Moncrieffe. I'm not one to go listening to doors, and you've no right to say I did. I don't know nothing." Poirot said: "Have you ever heard of poisoning by arsenic ?33 A nicker of quick furtive interest came into the girl's sullen face. She said: "So that's what it was in the medicine bottle r9 "What medicine bottle ?" Beatrice said: "One of the bottles of medicine what that Miss Moncrieffe made up for the Missus. Nurse was all upset—I could see that. Tasted it, she did, and smelt it, and then poured it away down the sink and filled up the bottle with plain water from the tap. It was white medicine like water, 88 anyway. And once, when Miss Moncrieffe took up a pot of tea to the Missus, Nurse brought it down again and made it fresh —said it hadn't been made with boiling water but that was just my eye, that was! I thought it was just the sort of fussing way nurses have at the time—but I dunno—it may have been more than that." Poirot nodded. He said: "Did you like Miss Moncrieffe, Beatrice ?" "I didn't mind her.... A bit standoffish. Of course, I always knew as she was sweet on the doctor. You'd only to see the way she looked at him."...
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