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Unformatted text preview: raid not! In fact — sorrrry you have
Japp laughed at his witticism and rang
Hercule Poirot did not laugh. He put
back the receiver slowly. His face was
Detective Inspector Hearn looked at Poirot
"I'd no idea you'd be so interested,
"You had word from Chief Inspector
Japp that I might consult with you over
this matter ?"
"He said you were coming over on some
other business, and that you'd give us a
hand with this puzzle. But I didn't expect you now it's all cleared up. I thought you'd
be busy on your own job."
Hercule Poirot said:
"My own business can wait. It is this
affair here that interests me. You called it a
puzzle, and you say it is now ended. But
the puzzle is still there, it seems."
"Well, sir, we've got the child back.
And she's not hurt. That's the main thing."
"But it does not solve the problem of how you got her back, does it ? What does
she herself say? A doctor saw her, did
he not ? What did he say ?"
"Said she'd been doped. She was still
hazy with it. Apparently, she can't remember
anything much after starting off from
Cranchester. All later events seem to have
been wiped out. Doctor thinks she might
possibly have had slight concussion.
There's a bruise on the back of her head.
Says that would account for a complete
blackout of memory."
"Which is very convenient for -- someone!"
Inspector Hearn said in a doubtful
voice: "You don't think she is shamming,
"Do you ?"
"No, I'm sure she isn't. She's a nice
kid -- a bit young for her age."
"No, she is not shamming." Poirot
shook his head. "But I would like to know how she got off that train. I want to know
who is responsible -- and why ?"
"As to why, I should say it was an
attempt at kidnapping, sir. They meant to
hold her to ransom.33
"But they didn't!35
"Lost their nerve with the hue and cry
-- and planted her by the road quick."
Poirot inquired sceptically:
"And what ransom were they likely to
get from a Canon of Cranchester Cathedral?
English Church dignitaries are not
Detective Inspector Hearn said cheerfully: "Made a botch of the whole thing, sir, in my opinion.33
"Ah, that's your opinion.33
Hearn said, his face flushing slightly: "What's yours, sir ?3'
"I want to know how she was spirited
off that train.33
The policeman's face clouded over.
"That's a real mystery, that is. One
minute she was there, sitting in the
dining-car, chatting to the other girls.
Five minutes later she's vanished--hey
presto -- like a conjuring trick.33
"Precisely, like a conjuring trick! Who
else was there in the coach of the train
where Miss Pope's reserved compartments
Inspector Hearn nodded.
"That's a good point, sir. That's important.
It's particularly important because
it was the last coach on...
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