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Unformatted text preview: said Poirot. The exclamation sounded almost
triumphant. He went on: 'Look round you, my good Parker. Is this room exactly as it was then?' The
butler's eye swept round. It came to rest on the windows.
'The curtains were drawn, sir, and the electric light was on.' Poirot nodded approval.
'Anything else?' 'Yes, sir, this chair was drawn out a little more.' He indicated a big grandfather chair to
the left of the door between it and the window. I append a plan of the room with the chair in question
marked with an X.
'Just show me,' said Poirot.
The butler drew the chair in question out a good two feet from the wall, turning it so that the seat faced
'Voila ce qui est curieux,' murmured Poirot. 'No one would want to sit in a chair in such a position, I
fancy. Now who pushed it back into place again, I wonder? Did you, my friend?' 'No, sir,' said Parker. 'I
was too upset with seeing the master and all.' Poirot looked across at me.
'Did you, doctor?' I shook my head.
'It was back in position when I arrived with the police, sir,' put in Parker. 'I'm sure of that.' 'Curious,' said
'Raymond or Blunt must have pushed it back,' I suggested. 'Surely it isn't important?' 'It is completely unimportant,' said Poirot. 'That is why it is so interesting,' he added softly.
'Excuse me a minute,' said Colonel Melrose. He left the room with Parker.
'Do you think Parker is speaking the truth?' I asked.
'About the chair, yes. Otherwise I do not know. You will find, M. Ie docteur, if you have much to do
with cases of this kind, that they all resemble each other in one thing.' 'What is that?' I asked curiously.
'Everyone concerned in them has something to hide.' 'Have I?' I asked, smiling.
Poirot looked at me attentively.
'I think you have,' he said quietly.
'But-' 'Have you told me everything known to you about this young man Paton?' He smiled as I grew red.
'Oh! do not fear. I will not press you. I shall learn it in good time.' 'I wish you'd tell me something of your
methods,' I said hastily, to cover my confusion. 'The point about the fire, for instance?' 'Oh! that was very
simple. You leave Mr Ackroyd at - ten minutes to nine, was it not?' 'Yes, exactly, I should say.' 'The
window is then closed and bolted and the door unlocked. At a quater past ten when the body is
discovered, the door is locked and the window is open. Who opened it?
Clearly only Mr Ackroyd himself could have done so, and for one of two reasons. Either because the
room became unbearably hot but since the fire was nearly out and there was a sharp drop in temperature
last night, that cannot be the reason, or because he admitted someone that way. And if he admitted
someone that way, it must have been someone well known to him, since he had previously shown himself
uneasy on the subject of that same window.' 'It sounds very simple,' I said.
'Everything is simple, if you arrange the facts methodically. We are concerned now with the personality of
the person who was with him at nine-thirty last night. Everything goes to show that that was the individual
admitted by the window, and though Mr Ackroyd was seen alive l...
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