Unformatted text preview: mplicity itself, and by the aid of Miss Gannett, who co-operated loyally, at once
giving Clara leave of absence, the matter was rushed through at express speed.
It was when we were sitting down to lunch that Caroline remarked, with would-be unconcern: 'About
those boots of Ralph Paton's.' 'Well,' I said, 'what about them?' 'M. Poirot thought they were probably
brown. He was wrong. They're black.' And Caroline nodded her head several times. She evidently felt
that she had scored a point over Poirot. I did not answer. I was puzzling over what the colour of a pair of Ralph Paton's boots had to do with the
CHAPTER 14 Geoffrey Raymond
I was to have a further proof that day of the success of Poirot's tactics. That challenge of his had been a
subtle touch born of his knowledge of human nature. A mixture of fear and guilt had wrung the truth from
Mrs Ackroyd. She was the first to react.
That afternoon when I returned from seeing my patients, Caroline told me that Geoffrey Raymond had
'Did he want to see me?' I asked, as I hung up my coat in the hall.
Caroline was hovering by my elbow.
'It was M. Poirot he wanted to see,' she said. 'He'd just come from the Larches. Mr. Poirot was out. Mr
Raymond thought that he might be here, or that you might know where he was.' 'I haven't the least idea.'
'I tried to make him wait,' said Caroline, 'but he said he would call back at The Larches in half an hour,
and went away down the village. A great pity, because M. Poirot came in practically the minute after he
left.' 'Came in here?' 'No, to his own house.' 'How do you know?' 'The side window,' said Caroline
It seemed to me that we had now exhausted the topic.
Caroline thought otherwise.
'Aren't you going across?' 'Across where?' 'To The Larches, of course.' 'My dear Caroline,' I said, 'what
for?' 'Mr Raymond wanted to see him very particularly s; ^ Caroline. 'You might hear what it's all about.'
I raised my eyebrows.
'Curiosity is not my besetting sin,' I remarked coldly. 'I can exist comfortably without knowing exactly
what my neighbours are doing and thinking.' 'Stuff and nonsense, James,' said my sister. 'You want to
know just as much as I do. You're not so honest, that's all.
You always have to pretend.' 'Really, Caroline,' I said, and retired into my surgery.
Ten minutes later Caroline tapped at the door and entered.
In her hand she held what seemed to be a pot of jam.
'I wonder, James,' she said, 'if you would mind taking this pot of medlar jelly across to M. Poirot? I
promised it to him.
He has never tasted any home-made medlar jelly.' 'Why can't Annie go?' I asked coldly.
'She's doing some mending. I can't spare her.' Caroline and I looked at each other.
'Very well,' I said, rising. 'But if I take the beastly thing, I shall just leave it at the door. You understand
that?' My sister raised her eyebrows. 'Naturally,' she said. 'Who suggested you should do anything else?' The honours were with Caroline.
'If you do happen to see M. Poirot,' she said, a...
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