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Unformatted text preview: n said last night as
he left: '^Yours are not the Labours of
Ah, but there he was wrong, the old
fossil. There should be, once again, the
Labours of Hercules -- a modem Hercules.
An ingenious and amusing conceit! In the
period before his final retirement he would
accept twelve cases, no more, no less.
And those twelve cases should be selected
with special reference to the twelve
labours of ancient Hercules. Yes, that
would not only be amusing, it would be
artistic, it would be spiritual.
Poirot picked up the Classical Dictionary
and immersed himself once more in classical
lore. He did not intend to follow his
prototype too closely. There should be no
women, no shirt of Nessus. . . . The
Labours and the Labours only. The first Labour, then, would be that of
the Nemean Lion.
"The Nemean Lion," he repeated, trying
it over on his tongue.
Naturally he did not expect a case to
present itself actually involving a flesh
and blood lion. It would be too much of a
coincidence should he be approached by
the Directors of the Zoological Gardens to
solve a problem for them involving a real
No, here symbolism must be involved.
The first case must concern some celebrated
public figure, it must be sensational and of
the first importance! Some master criminal
-- or alternately someone who was a lion
in the public eye. Some well-known writer, or politician, or painter -- or even Royalty ?
He liked the idea of Royalty. . . .
He would not be in a hurry. He would
wait -- wait for that case of high importance
that should be the first of his selfimposed
THE NEMEAN LION (c ANYTHING of interest this morning,
j—\ Miss Lemon?" he asked as he
JL centered the room the following
He trusted Miss Lemon. She was a
woman without imagination, but she had an
instinct. Anything that she mentioned as
worth consideration usually was worth
consideration. She was a born secretary.
"Nothing much, M. Poirot. There is just
one letter that I thought might interest
you. I have put it on the top of the pile."
"And what is that ?" he took an interested
"It's from a man who wants you to
investigate the disappearance of his wife's
Poirot paused with his foot still in the
air. He threw a glance of deep reproach at
Miss Lemon. She did not notice it. She
had begun to type. She typed with the
speed and precision of a quick-firing tank.
Poirot was shaken; shaken and embittered.
Miss Lemon, the efficient Miss Lemon, had let him down! A Pekinese dog. A Pekinese dog! And after the dream he
had had last night. He had been leaving
Buckingham Palace after being personally
thanked when his valet had come in with
his morning chocolate!
Words trembled on his lips -- witty
caustic words. He did not utter them
because Miss Lemon, owing to the speed
and efficiency of her typing, would not
have heard them.
With a grunt of disgust he picked up the
topmost letter from the little pile on the
side of his desk.
Yes, it wa...
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