Unformatted text preview: s there any way out
of this nightmare ?"
"There is always a way," said Hercule
"We are going into the country, Georges,"
said Hercule Poirot to his valet.
"Indeed, sir?" said the imperturbable
"And the purpose of our journey is to
destroy a monster with nine heads."
"Really, sir? Something after the style of the Loch Ness Monster ?"
"Less tangible than that. I did not refer
to a flesh and blood animal, Georges."
"I misunderstood you, sir."
"It would be easier if it were one. There
is nothing so intangible, so difficult to pin
down, as the source of a rumour."
"Oh yes, indeed, sir. It's difficult to
know how a thing starts sometimes."
Hercule Poirot did not put up at Dr.
Oldfield's house. He went instead to the
local inn. The morning after his arrival, he had his first interview with Jean Moncrieffe. She was a tall girl with copper-coloured
hair and steady blue eyes. She had about
her a watchful look, as of one who is upon
"So Doctor Oldfield did go to you . . .
I knew he was thinking about it."
There was a lack of enthusiasm in her
"And you did not approve ?" Her eyes met his. She said coldly:
"What can you do?"
Poirot said quietly:
"There might be a way of tackling the
"What way?" She threw the words at
him scornfully. "Do you mean to go round
to all the whispering old women and say 'Really, please, you must stop talking like
this. It's so bad for poor Doctor Oldfield.9 And they'd answer you and say: "Of course, / have never
believed the story!" That's
the worst of the whole thing -- they don't
say: 'My dear, has it ever occurred to you
that perhaps Mrs. Oldfield's death wasn't
quite what it seemed ?' No, they say: 'My
dear, of course I don't believe that story
about Doctor Oldfield and his wife. I'm sure he wouldn't do such a thing, though
it's true that he did neglect her just a little
perhaps and I don't think, really it's quite wise to have quite a young girl as his dispenser
-- of course, I'm not saying for a
minute that there was anything wrong between them. Oh no, I'm sure it was quite all right. . . .' " She
face was flushed and her breath came
Hercule Poirot said:
"You seem to know very well just what is being said."
Her mouth closed sharply. She said
"I know all right!"
"And what is your own solution ?"
Jean Moncrieffe said:
"The best thing for him to do is to sell
his practice and start again somewhere
"Don't you think the story might follow
She shrugged her shoulders.
"He must risk that."
Poirot was silent for a minute or two.
Then he said:
"Are you going to marry Doctor Oldfield,
Miss Moncrieffe ?"
She displayed no surprise at the question.
She said shortly:
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