Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

Poirot stood looking after them a minute then he rang

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Unformatted text preview: ; "Precisely, mon cher. The whole mise en scene, you know, was what you would call 'very bogus'. The Buddhas, the Benares brass, the Indian servant! And the gout, too! It is out of date, the gout. It is old, old gentlemen who have the gout--not the fathers of young ladies of nineteen. "Moreover I made quite certain. As I go out, I stumble, I clutch at the gouty foot. So perturbed is the gentleman by what I have been saying that he did not even notice. Oh yes, he is very, very bogus, that General! Tout de meme, it is a smart idea. The retired Anglo-Indian General, the well-known comic figure with a liver and a choleric temper, he settles down -not amongst other retired AngloIndian Army officers -- oh no, he goes to a milieu far too expensive for the usual retired Army man. There are rich people there, 322 people from London, an excellent field to market the goods. And who would suspect four lively, attractive, young girls? If anything comes out, they will be considered as victims — that for a certainty !39 "What was your idea exactly when you went to see the old devil? Did you want to put the wind up him ?33 "Yes. I wanted to see what would happen. I had not long to wait. The girls had their orders. Anthony Hawker, actually one of their victims, was to be the scapegoat. Sheila was to tell me about the flask in the hall. She nearly could not bring herself to do so—but the other girl rapped out an angry 'Sheila' at her and she just faltered it out." Michael Stoddart got up and paced up and down. He said: "You know, I'm not going to lose sight of that girl. I've got a pretty sound theory about those adolescent criminal tendencies. If you look into the home life, you nearly always find — " Poirot interrupted him. He said: ^Mon cher, I have the deepest respect for your science. I have no doubt that your 323 theories will work admirably where Miss Sheila Kelly is concerned." "The others, too.33 "The others, perhaps. It may be. The only one I am sure about is the little Sheila. You will tame her, not a doubt of it! In truth, she eats out of your hand already. . . .w Flushing, Michael Stoddart said: "What nonsense you talk, Poirot." 324 9 THE GIRDLE OF HYPPOLITA NE thing leads to another, as Hercule Poirot is fond of saying without much originality. 0 He adds that this was never more clearly evidenced than in the case of the stolen Rubens. He was never much interested in the Rubens. For one thing Rubens is not a painter he admires, and then the circumstances of the theft were quite ordinary. He took it up to oblige Alexander Simpson who was by the way of being a friend of his and for a certain private reason of his own not unconnected with the classics! After the theft, Alexander Simpson sent for Poirot and poured out all his woes. The Rubens was a recent discovery, a hitherto unknown masterpiece, but there 325 was no doubt of its authenticity. It had been placed on display at Simpson's Galleries and it had been stolen in broad daylight. It was at the time when the unempl...
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