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Unformatted text preview: quot;I am acquainted with Countess
Rossakoff," said Poirot coldly. "We are old
"But she's just a dummy," Japp went
on. "She didn't put up the money. It
might be the head waiter chap, Aristide
Papopolous -- he's got an interest in it -but we don't believe it's really his show
either. In fact we don't know whose show
"And Inspector Stevens goes there to
find out ?"
"Oh, you saw Stevens, did you ? Lucky
young dog landing a job like that at the
taxpayer's expense! A fat lot he's found
out so far!33
"What do you suspect there is to find
out ?" "Dope! Drug racket on a large scale.
And the dope's being paid for not in
money, but in precious stones."
"This is how it goes. Lady Blank-or the Countess ofWhatnot -- finds it hard
to get hold of cash--and in any case
doesn't want to draw large sums out of the
Bank. But she's got jewels -- family heirlooms
sometimes! They're taken along
to a place for 'cleaning' or 'resetting' -441
there the stones are taken out of their
settings and replaced with paste. The
unset stones are sold over here or on the
Continent. It's all plain sailing—there's
been no robbery, no hue and cry after
them. Say sooner or later it's discovered
that a certain tiara or necklace is a fake?
Lady Blank is all innocence and dismay —
can't imagine how or when the substitution
can have taken place — necklace has never
been out of her possession! Sends the poor,
perspiring police off on wild-goose chases
after dismissed maids, or doubtful butlers, or suspicious window-cleaners.
"But we're not quite so dumb as these
social birds think! We had several cases
come up one after another — and we found
a common factor — all the women showed
signs of dope — nerves, irritability —
twitching, pupils of eyes dilated, etcetera.
Question was: Where were they getting
the dope from and who was running the
"And the answer, you think, is this place
"We believe it's the headquarters of the
whole racket. We've discovered where the
work on the jewellery is done — a place
called Golconda Ltd. — respectable enough
on the surface, high-class imitation
jewellery. There's a nasty bit of work
called Paul Varesco — ah, I see you know
"I have seen him — in Hell"
"That's where I'd like to see him—
in the real place! He's as bad as they make
'em — but women — even decent women
— eat out of his hand! He's got some kind of connection with Golconda Ltd. and
I'm pretty sure he's the man behind Hell.
It's ideal for his purpose — everyone goes
there, society women, professional crooks
— it's the perfect meeting place."
"You think the exchange—jewels for
dope — takes place there ?"
"Yes. We know the Golconda side of it
—we want the other—the dope side.
We want to know who's supplying the
stuff and where it's coming from."
"And so far you have no idea ?"
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