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Unformatted text preview: said. 'No. 1. Dr Sheppard, No. 2, my humble self. One from Major Blunt will be
forthcoming in the morning.' Youth is very buoyant. Even the brutal murder of his friend and employer
could not dim Geoffrey Raymond's spirits for long. Perhaps that is as it should be. I do not know. I have
lost the quality of resilience long since myself.
It was very late when I got back, and I hoped that Caroline would have gone to bed. I might have known
She had hot cocoa waiting for me, and whilst I drank it, she extracted the whole history of the evening
from me. I said nothing of the blackmailing business, but contented myself with giving her the facts of the
'The police suspect Parker,' I said, as I rose to my feet and prepared to ascend to bed. 'There seems a
fairly clear case against him.' 'Parker!' said my sister. 'Fiddlesticks! That inspector must be a perfect fool.
Parker indeed! Don't tell me.' With which obscure pronouncement we went up to bed.
CHAPTER 7 I Learn My Neighbour's Profession
On the following morning I hurried unforgivably over my round. My excuse can be that I had no very
serious cases to attend. On my return Caroline came into the hall to greet me.
'Flora Ackroyd is here,' she announced in an excited whisper.
'What?' I concealed my surprise as best as I could.
'She's very anxious to see you. She's been here half an hour.' Caroline led the way into our small
sitting-room, and I followed.
Flora was sitting on the sofa by the window. She was in black and she sat nervously twisting her hands
together. I was shocked by the sight of her face. All the colour had faded away from it. But when she
spoke her manner was as composed and resolute as possible.
'Dr Sheppard, I have come to ask you to help me?' 'Of course he'll help you, my dear,' said Caroline.
I don't think Flora really wished Caroline to be present at the interview. She would, I am sure, have
infinitely preferred to speak to me privately. But she also wanted to waste no time, so she made the best
'I want you to come to The Larches with me.' 'The Larches?' I queried, surprised.
'To see that funny little man?' exclaimed Caroline.
'Yes. You know who he is, don't you?' 'We fancied,' I said, 'that he might be a retired hairdresser.'
Flora's blue eyes opened very wide.
'Why, he's Hercule Poirot! You know who I mean - the private detective. They say he's done the most
wonderful things - just like detectives do in books. A year ago he retired and came to live down here.
Uncle knew who he was, but he promised not to tell anyone, because M. Poirot wanted to live quietly
without being bothered by people.' 'So that's who he is,' I said slowly. 'You've heard of him, of course?' 'I'm rather an old fogey, as Caroline tells me,' I said,' but I have just
heard of him.' 'Extraordinary!' commented Caroline.
I don't know what she was referring to - possibly her own failure to discover the truth.
'You want to go and see him?' I asked slowly. 'Now why?' 'To get him to investigate this murder, of
course,' said Caroline sharply. 'Don't be s...
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