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Unformatted text preview: scovered at a certain time, could make sure of being
present when the door was broken in - or at any rate immediately afterwards.
And now we come to the second fact - the chair pulled out from the wall. Inspector Raglan dismissed
that as of no importance. I, on the contrary, have always regarded it as of supreme importance.
'In your manuscript you have drawn a neat little plan of the study. If you had it with you this minute you
would see that - the chair being drawn out in the position indicated by Parker - it would stand in a direct
line between the door and the window.' 'The window!' I said quickly.
'You, too, have my first idea. I imagined that the chair was drawn out so that something connected with
the window should not be seen by anyone entering through the door. But I soon abandoned that
supposition, for though the chair was a grandfather with a high back, it obscured very little of the window
- only the part between the sash and the ground. No, mon ami - but remember that just in front of the
window there stood a table with books and magazines upon it. Now that table was completely hidden by
the drawn-out chair - and immediately I had my first shadowy suspicion of the truth.
'Supposing that there had been something on that table not intended to be seen? Something placed there
by the murderer? As yet I had no inkling of what that something might be. But I knew certain very
interesting facts about it.
For instance, it was something that the murderer had not been able to take away with him at the time that
he committed the crime. At the same time it was vital that it should be removed as soon as possible after
the crime had been discovered. And so - the telephone message, and the opportunity for the murderer to
be on the spot when the body was discovered.
'Now four people were on the scene before the police arrived. Yourself, Parker, Major Blunt, and Mr
Parker I eliminated at once, since at whatever time the crime was discovered, he was the one person
certain to be on the spot. Also it was he who told me of the pulled-out chair. Parker, then, was cleared
(of the murder, that is. I still thought it possible that he had been blackmailing Mrs Ferrars). Raymond and Blunt, however, remained under suspicion since, if the crime had been discovered in the early hours
of the morning, it was quite possible that they might have arrived on the scene too late to prevent the
object on the round table being discovered.
'Now what was that object? You heard my arguments tonight in reference to the scrap of conversation
As soon as I learned that a representative of a dictaphone company had called, the idea of a dictaphone
took root in my mind. You heard what I said in this room not half an hour ago? They all agreed with my
theory - but one vital fact seems to have escaped them. Granted that a dictaphone was being used by Mr
Ackroyd that night - why was no dictaphone found?' 'I never thought of that,' I said.
'We know that a dictaphone was supplied to Mr Ackroyd.
But no dict...
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