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Unformatted text preview: royd's evidence.' 'That she said
goodnight to her uncle? But me - I do not always believe what a young lady tells me - no, not even when
she is charming and beautiful.' 'But hang it all, man, Parker saw her coming out of the door.' 'No.' Poirot's
voice rang out with sudden sharpness.
'That is just what he did not see. I satisfied myself of that by a little experiment the other day - you
Parker saw her outside the door, with her hand on the handle. He did not see her come out of the room.'
'But - where else could she have been?' 'Perhaps on the stairs.' 'The stairs?' 'That is my little idea - yes.'
'But those stairs only lead to Mr Ackroyd's bedroom.' 'Precisely.' And still the inspector stared.
'You think she'd been up to her uncle's bedroom? Well, why not? Why should she lie about it?' 'Ah! that
is just the question. It depends on what she was doing there, does it not?' 'You mean - the money? Hang
it all, you don't suggest that it was Miss Ackroyd who took that forty pounds?' 'I suggest nothing,' said
Poirot. 'But I will remind you of this. Life was not very easy for that mother and daughter.
There were bills - there was constant trouble over small sums of money. Roger Ackroyd was a peculiar
man over money matters. The girl might be at her wits' end for a comparatively small sum. Figure to
yourself then what happens. She has taken the money, she descends the little staircase. When she is
half-way down she hears the chink of glass from the hall. She has not a doubt of what it is - Parker
coming to the study. At all costs she must not be found on the stairs - Parker will not forget it, he will
think it odd. If the money is missed, Parker is sure to remember having seen her come down those stairs.
She has just time to rush down to the study door - with her hand on the handle to show that she has just
come out, when Parker appears in the doorway. She says the first thing that comes into her head, a repetition of Roger Ackroyd's orders earlier in the evening, and then goes upstairs to her own room.'
'Yes, but later,' persisted the inspector, 'she must have realized the vital importance of speaking the truth?
Why, the whole case hinges on it!' 'Afterwards,' said Poirot drily, 'it was a little difficult for Mademoiselle
Flora. She is told simply that the police are here and that there has been a robbery. Naturally she jumps
to the conclusion that the theft of the money has been discovered. Her one idea is to stick to her story.
When she learns that her uncle is dead she is panic-stricken. Young women do not faint nowadays,
monsieur, without considerable provocation. Eh bien\ there it is. She is bound to stick to her story, or
else confess everything. And a young and pretty girl does not like to admit that she is a thief- especially
before ^ those whose esteem she is anxious to retain.' Raglan brought his fist down with a thump on the
'I'll not believe it,' he said. 'It's - it's not credible. And you - you've known this all along?' 'The possi...
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