Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

He said m hercule poirot i am drouet inspector of

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Unformatted text preview: men. The only thing that was unusual was the place where they were. One might have seen them in any train on the way to a race meeting — or on an unimportant liner. But in an almost empty funicular—no! There was one other occupant of the carriage—a woman. She was tall and dark. It was a beautiful face — a face that might have expressed a whole gamut of emotion—but which instead was frozen • into a strange inexpressiveness. She looked at no one, staring out at the valley below. Presently, as Poirot had expected, the 139 American began to talk. His name, he said, was Schwartz. It was his first visit to Europe. The scenery, he said, was just grand. He'd been very deeply impressed by the Castle of Chillon. He didn't think much of Paris as a city — overrated — he'd been to the Folies Bergeres and the Louvre and Notre Dame — and he'd noticed that none of these restaurants and cafes could play hot jazz properly. The Champs Elysees, he thought, was pretty good, and he liked the fountains especially when they were floodlit. Nobody got out at Les Avines or at Caurouchet. It was clear that everyone in the funicular was going up to Rochers Neiges. Mr. Schwartz explained his own reasons. He had always wished, he said, to be high up among snow mountains. Ten thousand feet was pretty good — he'd heard that you couldn't boil an egg properly when you were as high up as that. In the innocent friendliness of his heart, Mr. Schwartz endeavoured to draw the tall, grey-haired man on the other side of the carriage into the conversation, but the latter merely stared at him coldly over his 140 pince-nez and returned to the perusal of his book. Mr. Schwartz then offered to exchange places with the dark lady -- she would get a better view, he explained. It was doubtful whether she understood English. Anyway, she merely shook her head and shrank closer into the fur collar of her coat. Mr. Schwartz murmured to Poirot: "Seems kind of wrong to see a woman travelling about alone with no one to see to things for her. A woman needs a lot of looking after when she's travelling.35 Remembering certain American women he had met on the Continent, Hercule Poirot agreed. Mr. Schwartz sighed. He found the world unfriendly. And surely, his brown eyes said expressively, there's no harm in a little friendliness all round ? II To be received by a hotel manager correctly garbed in frock coat and patent leather shoes seemed somehow ludicrous in this out of the world, or rather above-theworld, spot. 141 The manager was a big handsome man, with an important manner. He was very apologetic. So early in the season . . . The hotwater system was out of order . . . things were hardly in running order... Naturally, he would do everything he could ... Not a full staff yet... He was quite confused by the unexpected number of visitors. It all came rolling out with professional urbanity and yet it seemed to Foirot that behind the urbane facade he caught a glimpse of some poignant anxiety. This man, for all his easy manner, was not at ease. He was worried about somethin...
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