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Unformatted text preview: ot nonchalantly, 'there is a saying, is there not, that Englishmen conceal
only one thing their love? And Major Blunt, I should say, is not good at concealments.' 'Sometimes,' I
said, 'I wonder if we haven't rather jumped to conclusions on one point.' 'What is that?' 'We've assumed
that the blackmailer of Mrs Ferrars is necessarily the murderer of Mr Ackroyd. Mightn't we be
mistaken?' Poirot nodded energetically.
'Very good. Very good indeed. I wondered if that idea would come to you. Of course it is possible. But
we must remember one point. The letter disappeared. Still, that, as you say, may not necessarily mean
that the murderer took it. When you first found the body, Parker may have abstracted the letter
unnoticed by you.' 'Parker?' 'Yes, Parker. I always come back to Parker - not as the murderer - no, he
did not commit the murder; but who is more suitable than he as the mysterious scoundrel who terrorized
Mrs Ferrars? He may have got his information about Mr Ferrars's death from one of the King's Paddock
servants. At any rate, he is more likely to have come upon it than a casual guest such as Blunt, for
instance.' 'Parker might have taken the letter,' I admitted. 'It wasn't till later that I noticed it was gone.'
'How much later? After Blunt and Raymond were in the room, or before?' 'I can't remember,' I said
slowly. 'I think it was before no, afterwards. Yes, I'm almost sure it was afterwards.' 'That widens the
field to three,' said Poirot thoughtfully.
'But Parker is the most likely. It is in my mind to try a little experiment with Parker. How say you, my
friend, will you accompany me to Fernly?' I acquiesced, and we set out at once. Poirot asked to see
Miss Ackroyd, and presently Flora came to us.
'Mademoiselle Flora,' said Poirot, 'I have to confide in you a little secret. I am not yet satisfied of the
innocence of Parker. I propose to make a little experiment with your assistance. I want to reconstruct
some of his actions on that night. But we must think of something to tell him - ah! I have it. I wish to
satisfy myself as to whether voices in the little lobby could have been heard outside on the terrace.
Now, ring for Parker, if you will be so good.' I did so, and presently the butler appeared, suave as ever.
'You rang, sir?' 'Yes, my good Parker. I have in mind a little experiment.
I have placed Major Blunt on the terrace outside the study window. I want to see if anyone there could
have heard the voices of Miss Ackroyd and yourself in the lobby that night.
I want to enact that little scene over again. Perhaps you would fetch the tray or whatever it was you were
carrying?' Parker vanished, and we repaired to the lobby outside the study door. Presently we heard a
chink in the outer hall, and Parker appeared in the doorway carrying a tray with a siphon, a decanter of
whisky, and two glasses on it.
'One moment,' cried Poirot, raising his hand and seemingly very excited. 'We must have everything in
Just as it occurred. It is a little method of mine.' 'A foreign cust...
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