Unformatted text preview: 't asked me to marry him."
"Why not ?"
Her blue eyes met his and nickered for
a second. Then she said:
"Because I've choked him off."
"Ah, what a blessing to find someone who can be frank!"
"I will be as frank as you please. When
I realised that people were saying that
Charles had got rid of his wife in order to
marry me, it seemed to me that if we did
marry it would just put the lid on things. I
hoped that if there appeared to be no
question of marriage between us, the silly
scandal might die down."
"But it hasn't?"
"No, it hasn't."
"Surely," said Hercule Poirot, "that is
a little odd ?"
Jean said bitterly:
"They haven't got much to amuse them
"Do you want to marry Charles Oldfield
The girl answered coolly enough.
"Yes, I do. I wanted to almost as soon
as I met him.39
"Then his wife's death was very convenient
for you ?" Jean Moncrieffe said:
"Mrs. Oldfield was a singularly unpleasant
woman. Frankly, I was delighted
when she died."
"Yes," said Poirot. "You are certainly
She gave the same scornful smile.
"I have a suggestion to make."
"Drastic means are required here. I
suggest that somebody -- possibly yourself
-- might write to the Home Office."
"What on earth do you mean ?"
"I mean that the best way of disposing
of this story once and for all is to get the
body exhumed and an autopsy performed."
She took a step back from him. Her lips
opened, then shut again. Poirot watched
"Well, Mademoiselle ?" he said at last.
Jean Moncrieffe said quietly:
"I don't agree with you."
"But why not ? Surely a verdict of death
from natural causes would silence all tongues ?"
"I/you got that verdict, yes."
"Do you know what you are suggesting, Mademoiselle ?"
Jean Moncrieffe said impatiently:
"I know what I'm talking about. You're
thinking of arsenic poisoning -- you could
prove that she was not poisoned by arsenic.
But there are other poisons -- the vegetable
alkaloids. After a year, I doubt if
you'd find any traces of them even if they
had been used. And I know what these
official analyst people are like. They might
return a non-committal verdict saying that
there was nothing to show what caused
death -- and then the tongues would wag
faster than ever!"
Hercule Poirot was silent for a minute
or two, then he said:
"Who in your opinion is the most inveterate
talker in the village ?"
The girl considered. She said at last:
cc! really think old Miss Leatheran is
the worst cat of the lot."
"Ah! Would it be possible for you to introduce me to Miss Leatheran—in a
casual manner if possible ?"
''Nothing could be easier. All the old
tabbies are prowling about doing their
shopping at this time of the morning.
We've only got t...
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