Unformatted text preview: er to have worn Ralph's shoes that evening - in which case Ralph must have been wearing yet
a third pair of footwear of some kind. I could hardly suppose that he would bring three pairs of shoes all
alike - the third pair of footwear were more likely to be boots. I got your sister to make inquiries on this
point - laying some stress on the colour, in order - I admit it frankly - to obscure the real reason for my
'You know the result of her investigations. Ralph Paton had had a pair of boots with him. The first
question I asked him when he came to my house yesterday morning was what he was wearing on his feet
on the fatal night. He replied at once that he had worn boots - he was still wearing them, in fact - having
nothing else to put on.
'So we get a step further in our description of the murderer - a person who had the opportunity to take
these shoes of Ralph Paton's from the Three Boars that day.' He paused, and then said, with a slightly
raised voice: 'There is one further point. The murderer must have been a person who ^ had the
opportunity to purloin that dagger from the silver table. You might argue that anyone in the house might
have done so, but I will recall to you that Flora Ackroyd was very positive that the dagger was not there
when she examined the silver table.' He paused again.
'Let us recapitulate - now that all is clear. A person who was at the Three Boars earlier that day, a
person who knew Ackroyd well enough to know that he had purchased a dictaphone, a person who was
of a mechanical turn of mind, who had the opportunity to take the dagger from the silver table before
Miss Flora arrived, who had with him a receptacle suitable for hiding the dictaphone - such as a black
bag, and who had the study to himself for a few minutes after the crime was discovered while Parker was
telephoning for the police. In fact - Dr SheppardY
CHAPTER 26 And Nothing But The Truth
There was a dead silence for a minute and a half.
Then I laughed.
'You're mad,' I said.
'No,' said Poirot placidly. 'I am not mad. It was the little discrepancy in time that first drew my attention
to you - right at the beginning.' 'Discrepancy in time?' I queried, puzzled.
'But yes. You will remember that everyone agreed - you yourself included - that it took five minutes to
walk from the lodge to the house - less if you took the short cut to the terrace. But you left the house at
ten minutes to nine - both by your own statement and that ofParker, and yet it was nine o'clock when you
passed through the lodge gates. It was a chilly night - not an evening a man would be inclined to dawdle;
why had you taken ten minutes to do a five minutes' walk? All along I realized that we had only your
statement for it that the study window was ever fastened. Ackroyd asked you if you had done so - he
never looked to see. Supposing, then, that the study window was unfastened? Would there be time in
that ten minutes for you to run round the outside of the house, change your shoes, climb in through the
window, kill Ackroyd, and get to the gate by nine o'clock? I...
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