Unformatted text preview: lf from Fernly Park the
'And now,' said Flora, as I finished, 'tell him all about Ralph.' I hesitated, but her imperious glance drove
'You went to this inn - this Three Boars - last night on your way home?' asked Poirot, as I brought my
tale to a close. 'Now exactly why was that?' I paused a moment to choose my words carefully.
'I thought someone ought to inform the young man of his uncle's death. It occurred to me after I had left
Fernly that possibly no one but myself and Mr Ackroyd were aware that he was staying in the village.'
'Quite so. That was your only motive in going there, eh?' 'That was my only motive,' I said stiffly.
'It was not to - shall we say - reassure yourself about ce jeune hommeT 'Reassure myself?' 'I think, M. Ie
docteur, that you know very well what I mean, though you pretend not to do so. I suggest that it would
have been a relief to you if you had found that Captain Paton had been at home all the evening.' 'Not at
all,' I said sharply.
The little detective shook his head at me gravely.
'You have not the trust in me of Miss Flora,' he said. 'But no matter. What we have to look at is this Captain Paton is missing, under circumstances which call for an explanation.
I will not hide from you that the matter looks grave. Still, it may admit of a perfectly simple explanation.'
'That's just what I keep saying,' cried Flora eagerly.
Poirot touched no more upon that theme. Instead he suggested an immediate visit to the local police. He
thought it better for Flora to return home, and for me to be the one to accompany him there and
introduce him to the officer in charge of the case.
We carried out this plan forthwith. We found Inspector Davis outside the police station looking very glum
With him was Colonel Melrose, the Chief Constable, and another man whom, from Flora's description
of'weaselly,' I had no difficulty in recognizing as Inspector Raglan from Cranchester.
I know Melrose fairly well, and I introduced Poirot to him and explained the situation. The chief
constable was clearly vexed, and Inspector Raglan looked as black as thunder. Davis, however, seemed
slightly exhilarated by the sight of his superior officer's annoyance. 'The case is going to be plain as a pikestaff,' said Raglan.
'Not the least need for amateurs to come butting in. You'd think any fool would have seen the way things
were last night, and then we shouldn't have lost twelve hours.' He directed a vengeful glance at poor
Davis, who received it with perfect stolidity.
'Mr Ackroyd's family must, of course, do what they see fit,' said Colonel Melrose. 'But we cannot have
the official investigation hampered in any way. I know M. Poirot's great reputation, of course,' he added
'The police can't advertise themselves, worse luck,' said Raglan.
It was Poirot who saved the situation.
'It is true that I have retired from the world,' he said. 'I never intended to take up a case again. Above all
things, I have a horror of publicity. I must beg, that in the case...
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