This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: Flora forestalled her.
Going quickly to the other girl's side, she passed her hand through her arm.
'You must not mind our being surprised,' she said. 'You see, we had no idea of such a thing. You and Ralph have kept your secret very well. I am - very glad about it.' 'You are very kind. Miss Ackroyd,'
said Ursula in a low voice, 'and you have every right to be exceedingly angry.
Ralph behaved very badly - especially to you.' 'You needn't worry about that,' said Flora, giving her arm
a consoling little pat. 'Ralph was in a corner and took the only way out. I should probably have done the
same in his place. I do think he might have trusted me with the secret, though. I wouldn't have let him
down.' Poirot rapped gently on a table and cleared his throat significantly.
'The board meeting's going to begin,' said Flora. 'M.
Poirot hints that we mustn't talk. But just tell me one thing.
Where is Ralph? You must know if anyone does.' 'But I don't,' cried Ursula, almost in a wail. 'That's just
it, I don't.' 'Isn't he detained at Liverpool?' asked Raymond. 'It said so in the paper.' 'He is not at
Liverpool,' said Poirot shortly.
'In fact,' I remarked, 'no one knows where he is.' 'Except Hercule Poirot, eh?' said Raymond.
Poirot replied seriously to the other's banter.
The, I know everything. Remember that.' Geoffrey Raymond lifted his eyebrows.
'Everything?' He whistled. 'Whew! that's a tall order.' 'Do you mean to say you can really guess where
Ralph Paton is hiding?' I asked incredulously.
'You call it guessing. I call it knowing, my friend.' 'In Cranchester?' I hazarded.
'No,' replied Poirot gravely, 'not in Cranchester.' He said no more, but at a gesture from him the
assembled party took their seats. As they did so, the door opened once more and two other people
came in and sat down near the door. They were Parker and the housekeeper.
The number is complete,' said Poirot. 'Everyone is here.' There was a ring of satisfaction in his tone. And
with the sound of it I saw a ripple of something like uneasiness pass over all those faces grouped at the
other end of the room.
There was a suggestion in all this as of a trap - a trap that had closed.
Poirot read from a list in an important manner.
'Mrs Ackroyd, Miss Flora Ackroyd, Major Blunt, Mr Geoffrey Raymond, Mrs Ralph Paton, John
Parker, Elizabeth Russell.' He laid the paper down on the table.
'What's the meaning of all this?' began Raymond.
'The list I have just read,' said Poirot, 'is a list ofsupected persons. Every one of you present had the
opportunity to kill Mr Ackroyd-' With a cry Mrs Ackroyd sprang up, her throat working.
'I don't like it,' she wailed. 'I don't like it. I would much prefer to go home.' 'You cannot go home,
madame,' said Poirot sternly, 'until you have heard what I have to say.' He paused a moment, then
cleared his throat. 'I will start at the beginning. When Miss Ackroyd asked me to investigate the case, I went up to Fernly
Park with the good Doctor Sheppard. I walked with him along the terrace, where I was shown the
footprints on the w...
View Full Document