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Unformatted text preview: of my being able to contribute something
to the solution of the mystery, my name may not be mentioned.' Inspector Raglan's face lightened a little.
'I've heard of some very remarkable successes of yours,' observed the colonel, thawing.
'I have had much experience,' said Poirot quietly. 'But most of my successes have been obtained by the
aid of the police. I admire enormously your English police. If Inspector Raglan permits me to assist him, I
shall be both honoured and flattered.' The inspector's countenance became still more gracious.
Colonel Melrose drew me aside.
'From all I hear, this little fellow's done some really remarkable things,' he murmured. 'We're naturally
anxious not to have to call in Scotland Yard. Raglan seems very sure of himself, but I'm not quite certain
that I agree with him.
You see, I - er - know the parties concerned better than he does. This fellow doesn't seem out after
kudos, does he?
Would work in with us unobtrusively, eh?' 'To the greater glory of Inspector Raglan,' I said solemnly.
'Well, well,' said Colonel Melrose breezily in a louder voice, 'we must put you wise to the latest
Poirot.' 'I thank you,' said Poirot. 'My friend. Doctor Sheppard, said something of the butler being
suspected?' 'That's all bunkum,' said Raglan instantly. 'These high-class servants get in such a funk that
they act suspiciously for nothing at all.' 'The fingerprints?' I hinted.
'Nothing like Parker's.' He gave a faint smile, and added: 'And yours and Mr Raymond's don't fit either,
doctor.' 'What about those of Captain Ralph Paton?' asked Poirot quietly.
I felt a secret admiration of the way he took the bull by the horns. I saw a look of respect creep into the
'I see you don't let the grass grow under your feet, Mr Poirot. It will be a pleasure to work with you, I'm
sure. We're going to take that young gentleman's fingerprints as soon as we can lay hands upon him.' 'I can't
help thinking you're mistaken. Inspector,' said Colonel Melrose warmly. 'I've known Ralph Paton from a
boy upward. He'd never stoop to murder.' 'Maybe not,' said the inspector tonelessly.
'What have you got against him?' I asked.
'Went out just on nine o'clock last night. Was seen in the neighbourhood of Fernly Park somewhere
about nine-thirty. Not been seen since. Believed to be in serious money difficulties. I've got a pair of his
shoes here - shoes with rubber studs in them. He had two pairs, almost exactly alike. I'm going up now
to compare them with those footmarks. The constable is up there seeing that no one tampers with them.'
'We'll go at once,' said Colonel Melrose. 'You and M.
Poirot will accompany us, will you not?' We assented, and all drove up in the colonel's car. The inspector
was anxious to get at once to the footmarks, and asked to be put down at the lodge. About half-way up
the drive, on the right, a path branched off which led round to the terrace and the window of Ackroyd's
'Would you like to go with the inspector, M. Poirot?' asked...
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