Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

Elsie clayton could not be more than twenty five at

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Unformatted text preview: t, she admitted, quite nice. . . . Indeed, they were not 200 respectable! And some of the photographs taken, they too, had not been very nice. But these things, they had told her, were necessary for "advertisement" -- and Senor Ramon himself had always been most respectful. In answer to questioning she declared that the name of Mrs. Ferrier had never been mentioned and that she had had no idea that it was that lady she was supposed to be understudying. She had meant no harm. She identified certain photographs which were shown to her as having been taken of her in Paris and on the Riviera. There was the hall mark of absolute honesty about Thelma Andersen. She was quite clearly a pleasant, but slightly stupid woman. Her distress at the whole thmg, now that she understood it, was patent to everyone. The defence was unconvincing. A frenzied denial of having any dealings with the woman Andersen. The photos in question had been brought to the London office and had been believed to be genuine. Sir Mortimer's closing speech roused enthusiasm. He described the whole thing as a dastardly political plot, formed to discredit 201 the Prime Minister and his wife. All sympathy would be extended to the unfortunate Mrs. Ferrier. The verdict, a foregone conclusion, was given amidst unparallelled scenes. Damages were assessed at an enormous figure. As Mrs. Ferrier and her husband and father left the court they were greeted by the appreciative roars of a vast crowd. XI Edward Ferrier grasped Poirot warmly by the hand. He said: "I thank you, M. Poirot, a thousand times. Well, that finishes the X-ray News. Dirty little rag. They're wiped out completely. Serves them right for cooking up such a scurrilous plot. Against Dagmar, too, the kindliest creature in the world. Thank goodness you managed to expose the whole thing for the wicked ramp it was. . . . What put you on to the idea that they might be using a double ?33 "It is not a new idea,33 Poirot reminded him. "It was employed successfully in the case of Jeanne de la Motte when she impersonated Marie Antoinette.33 202 "I know. I must re-read The Queen's Necklace. But how did you actually find the woman they were employing ?" "I looked for her in Denmark, and I found her there." "But why Denmark ?" "Because Mrs. Ferrier's grandmother was a Dane, and she herself is a markedly Danish type. And there were other reasons." "The resemblance is certainly striking. What a devilish idea! I wonder how the little rat came to think of it ?" Poirot smiled. "But he did not." He tapped himself on the chest. "I thought of it!" Edward Ferrier stared. "I don*t understand. What do you mean ?" Poirot said: "We must go back to an older story than that of The Queen's Necklace--to the cleansing of the Augean Stables. What Hercules used was a river -- that is to say one of the great forces of Nature. Modernise that! What is a great force of Nature ? Sex, is it not ? It is the sex angle that sells 203 stories, that makes news. Give people scandal allied to sex...
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