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Mews looking up at the numbers. It was
past one o'clock in the morning and for
the most part the Mews appeared to have
gone to bed, though there were still lights
in one or two windows.
As he reached 17, its door opened and
Dr. Stoddart stood looking out.
"Good man!" he said. "Come up, will
you ?" A small ladder-like stairway led to the
upper floor. Here, on the right, was a
fairly big room, furnished with divans, rugs, triangular silver cushions and large
numbers of bottles and glasses.
Everything was more or less in con292
fusion, cigarette ends were everywhere
and there were many broken glasses.
"Ha!" said Hercule Poirot. ^Mon cher
Watson, I deduce that there has been here
"There's been a party all right," said
Stoddart grimly. "Some party, I should
"You did not, then, attend it yourself?"
"No, I'm here strictly in my professional
"What happened ?"
"This place belongs to a woman called
Patience Grace — Mrs. Patience Grace."
"It sounds," said Poirot, "a charming
"There's nothing charming or old-world
about Mrs. Grace. She's good-looking in
a tough sort of way. She's got through a couple of husbands, and now she's got a
boy friend whom she suspects of trying
to run out on her. They started this party
on drink and they finished it on dope—
cocaine, to be exact. Cocaine is stuff that
starts off making you feel just grand and
with everything in the garden lovely. It
peps you up and you feel you can do twice
as much as you usually do. Take too much
of it and you get violent mental excitement, delusions and delirium. Airs. Grace had
a violent quarrel with her boy friend, an
unpleasant person by the name of Hawker.
Result, he walked out on her then and
there, and she leaned out of the window
and took a pot-shot at him with a brandnew
revolver that someone had been fool
enough to give her."
Hercule Poirot's eyebrows rose.
"Did she hit him?"
"Not she! Bullet went several yards
wide, I should say. What she did hit was
a miserable loafer who was creeping along
the Mews looking in the dustbins. Got
him through the fleshy part of the arm.
He raised Hell, of course, and the crowd hustled him in here quick, got the windup
with all the blood that was spilling out of
him and came round and got me."
"I patched him up all right. It wasn't
serious. Then one or two of the men got
busy on him and in the end he consented
to accept a couple of five pound notes and
say no more about it. Suited him all right, poor devil. Marvellous stroke of luck."
"I had a bit more work to do. Mrs.
Grace herself was in raving hysterics by
that time. I gave her a shot of something
and packed her off to bed. There was
another girl who'd more or less passed
out — quite young she was, and I attended
to her too. By that time ever...
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