Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

He was immaculately dressed a white camellia in his

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Unformatted text preview: story. Accusations of shameless chicanery, of share juggling, of a gross misuse of Party Funds. The charges were levelled against the late Prime Minister, John Hammett. They showed him to be a dishonest rascal, a gigantic confidence trickster, who had used his position to amass for himself a vast private fortune. The Prime Minister's quiet voice stopped at last. The Home Secretary groaned. He spluttered out: "It's monstrous -- monstrous! This fellow, Perry, who edits the rag, ought to be shot!35 Hercule Poirot said: "These so-called revelations are to appear in the X-ray News ?" "Yes." "What steps do you propose to take about them ?" Ferrier said slowly: "They constitute a private attack on John Hammett. It is open to him to sue the paper for libel." "Will he do that ?" "No." "Why not ?" k 179 Ferrier said: "It is probable that there is nothing the X-ray News would like better. The publicity given them would be enormous. Their defence would be fair comment and that the statements complained of were true. The whole business would be exhaustively held up to view in a blaze of limelight.35 "Still, if the case went against them, the damages would be extremely heavy.39 Ferrier said slowly: "It might not go against them.3' "Why ?33 Sir George said primly, "I really think that -- " But Edward Ferrier was already speaking. "Because what they intend to print is -the truth.39 A groan burst from Sir George Conway, outraged at such un-Parliamentary frankness. He cried out: "Edward, my dear fellow. We don't admit, surely -- " The ghost of a smile passed over Edward Ferrier's tired face. He said: "Unfortunately, George, there are times 180 when the stark truth has got to be told. This is one of them.3' Sir George exclaimed: "You understand, M. Poirot, all this is strictly in confidence. Not one word -- " Ferrier interrupted him. He said: "M. Poirot understands that." He went on slowly, "What he may not understand is this: the whole future of the People's Party is at stake. John Hammett, M. Poirot, was the People's Party. He stood for what it represents to the people of England--he stood for Decency and Honesty. No one has ever thought us brilliant. We have muddled and blundered. But we have stood for the tradition of doing one's best -- and we have stood, too, for fundamental honesty. Our disaster is this -- that the man who was our figurehead, the Honest Man of the People, par excellence -- turns out to have been one of the worst crooks of this generation.35 Another groan burst from Sir George. Poirot asked: "You knew nothing of all this ?" Again the smile flashed across the weary face. Ferrier said: "You may not believe me, M. Poirot, 181 but like everyone else, I was completely deceived. I never understood my wife's curious attitude of reserve towards her father. I understand it now. She knew his essential character." He paused and then said: "W...
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