Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

Oldfield poirot nodded his head slowly several times

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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: LOH6 71 "They haven't got much to amuse them down here." Poirot asked: "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 frank!" She gave the same scornful smile. Poirot said: "I have a suggestion to make." "Yes ?" "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 72 opened, then shut again. Poirot watched her. "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 ?" 73 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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