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"An attempt is being made to induce
your daughter Sheila to become a drug
addict. The cocaine habit is very quickly
formed. A week or two will suffice. Once
the habit is formed, an addict will pay
anything, do anything, to get a further
supply of the drug. You can realise what
a rich haul the person who peddles that
drug can make.3'
He listened in silence to the spluttering,
v^rathful blasphemies that poured from the
old man's lips. Then, as the fires died down, v^ith a final choice description of exactly
v^hat he, the General, would do to the blinkety blinkety son of a blank when he
got hold of him, Hercule Poirot said:
"We have first, as your so admirable jyirs. Beeton says, to catch the hare. Once
v^e have caught our drug pedlar, I will
ti^rn him over to you with the greatest
He got up, tripped over a heavily-carved,
s^nall table, regained his balance with a
clutch at the General, murmured: "A thousand pardons, and may I beg of you. General--you understand, beg
of you -- to say nothing whatever about all this to your daughters.33
"What? I'll have the truth out of them, that's what I'll have!33
"That is exactly what you will not have. p^\ you will get is a lie.33
^But damme, sir -- 33
cc! assure you. General Grant, you must hold your tongue. That is vital--you
understand ? Vital /"
"Oh well, have it your own way,"
growled the old soldier.
He was mastered but not convinced.
Hercule Poirot picked his way carefully
through the Benares brass and went out.
Mrs. Larkin's room was full of people.
Mrs. Larkin herself was mixing cocktails
at a side table. She was a tall woman with
pale auburn hair rolled into the back of her
neck. Her eyes were greenish-grey with
big, black pupils. She moved easily, with
a kind of sinister grace. She looked as
though she were in the early thirties. Only
a close scrutiny revealed the lines at the corners of the eyes and hinted that she was
ten years older than her looks.
Hercule Poirot had been brought here
by a brisk, middle-aged woman, a friend of Lady CarmichaeFs. He found himself
given a cocktail and further directed to take
one to a girl sitting in the window. The
girl was small and fair -- her face was pink
and white and suspiciously angelic. Her
eyes, Hercule Poirot noticed at once, were
alert and suspicious.
"To your continued good health. Mademoiselle.
She nodded and drank. Then she said
"You know my sister."
"Your sister? Ah, you are then one
of the Miss Grants ?"
"I'm Pam Grant.39
"And where is your sister today ?"
"She's out hunting. Ought to be back
"I met your sister in London."
"She told you ?"
Pam Grant nodded. She said abruptly :
"Was Sheila in a jam ?" "So she did not tell you everything ?"
The girl shook her head. She asked:
"Was Tony Hawker there ?"
Before Poirot could answer, the door
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