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Unformatted text preview: between twenty and twenty-five minutes past nine. It was not yet half-past when I got back to the house.'
'Which way did he go?' 'Straight out the same way he came, by the path that joined the drive just inside
the lodge gates.' Poirot nodded.
'And you, what did you do?' 'I went back to the house. Major Blunt was walking up and down the
terrace smoking, so I made a detour to get round to the side door. It was just then on half-past nine, as I
tell you.' Poirot nodded again. He made a note or two in a microscopic pocketbook.
'I think that is all,' he said thoughtfully.
•Ought I -?' she hesitated. 'Ought I to tell all this to Inspector Raglan?' 'It may come to that. But let us not
be in a hurry. Let us proceed slowly, with due order and method. Charles Kent is not yet formally
charged with murder. Circumstances may arise which will render your story unnecessary.' Miss Russell
'Thank you very much, M. Poirot,' she said. 'You have been very kind - very kind indeed. You - you do
believe me, don't you? That Charles had nothing to do with this wicked murder!' 'There seems no doubt
that the man who was talking to Mr Ackroyd in the library at nine-thirty could not possibly have been
your son. Be of good courage, mademoiselle. All will yet be well.' Miss Russell departed. Poirot and I
were left together.
'So that's that,' I said. 'Every time we come back to Ralph Paton. How did you manage to spot Miss
Russell as the person Charles Kent came to meet? Did you notice the resemblance?' 'I had connected
her with the unknown man long before we actually came face to face with him. As soon as we found that
quill. The quill suggested dope, and I remembered your account of Miss Russell's visit to you. Then I
found the article on cocaine in that morning's paper. It all seemed very clear. She had heard from
someone that morning - someone addicted to drugs, she read the article in the paper, and she came to
ask you a few tentative questions. She mentioned cocaine, since the article in question was on cocaine.
Then, when you seemed too interested, she switched hurriedly to the subject of detective stories and
untraceable poisons. I suspected a son or a brother, or some other undesirable male relation. Ah! but I
must go. It is the time of the lunch.' 'Stay and lunch with us,' I suggested.
Poirot shook his head. A faint twinkle came into his eye.
'Not again today. I should not like to force Mademoiselle Caroline to adopt a vegetarian diet two days in
succession.' It occurred to me that there was not much which escaped Hercule Poirot.
CHAPTER 21 The Paragraph in the Paper Caroline, of course, had not failed to see Miss Russell come to the surgery door. I had anticipated this,
and had ready an elaborate account of the lady's bad knee. But Caroline was not in a cross-questioning
mood. Her point of view was that she knew what Miss Russell had really come for and that / didn't.
'Pumping you, James,' said Caroline. 'Pumping you in the most shameless manner, I've no doubt. It's no
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