Murder Of Roger Ackroyd By Agatha Christie

I hesitated with my hand on the door handle looking

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Unformatted text preview: n ten minutes to nine when I left him, the letter still unread. I hesitated with my hand on the door handle, looking back and wondering if there was anything I had left undone. I could think of nothing. With a shake of the head I passed out and closed the door behind me. I was startled by seeing the figure ofParker close at hand. He looked embarrassed, and it occurred to me that he might have been listening at the door. What a fat, smug, oily face the man had, and surely there was something decidedly shifty in his eye. 'Mr Ackroyd particularly does not want to be disturbed,' I said coldly. 'He told me to tell you so.' 'Quite so, sir. I - I fancied I heard the bell ring.' This was such a palpable untruth that I did not trouble to reply. Preceding me to the hall, Parker helped me on with my overcoat, and I stepped out into the night. The moon was overcast, and everything seemed very dark and still. The village church clock chimed nine o'clock as I passed through the lodge gates. I turned to the left towards the village, and almost cannoned into a man coming in the opposite direction. 'This the way to Fernly Park, mister?' asked the stranger in a hoarse voice. I looked at him. He was wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes, and his coat collar turned up. I could see little or nothing of his face, but he seemed a young fellow. The voice was rough and uneducated. 'These are the lodge gates here,' I said. 'Thank you, mister.' He paused, and then added, quite unnecessarily, 'I'm a stranger in these parts, you see.' He went on, passing through the gates as I turned to look after him. The odd thing was that his voice reminded me of someone's voice that I knew, but whose it was I could not think. Ten minutes later I was at home once more. Caroline was full of curiosity to know why I had returned so early. I had to make up a slightly fictitious account of the evening in order to satisfy her, and I had an uneasy feeling that she saw through the transparent device. At ten o'clock I rose, yawned, and suggested bed, Caroline acquiesced. It was Friday night, and on Friday night I wind the clocks. I did it as usual, whilst Caroline satisfied herself that the servants had locked up the kitchen properly. It was a quarter past ten as we went up the stairs. I had just reached the top when the telephone rang in the hall below. 'Mrs Bates,' said Caroline immediately. 'I'm afraid so,' I said ruefully. I ran down the stairs and took up the receiver. 'What?' I said. 'W7w(? Certainly, I'll come at once.' I ran upstairs, caught up my bag, and stuffed a few extra dressings into it. Tarker telephoning,' I shouted to Caroline, 'from Fernly. They've just found Roger Ackroyd murdered.' I got out the car in next to no time, and drove rapidly to Fernly. Jumping out, I pulled the bell impatiently. There was some delay in answering, and I rang again. Then I heard the rattle of the chain and Parker, his impassivity of countenance quite unmoved, stood in the open doorway. I pushed past him into the hal...
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