Unformatted text preview: o do with the actual
murder. He'd got ten pounds on him when he was arrested - rather a large sum. I fancy that forty pounds
went to him - the numbers of the notes didn't correspond, but of course he'd have changed them first
thing. Mr Ackroyd must have given him the money, and he made off with it as fast as possible. What was
that about Kent being his birthplace? What's that got to do with it?' 'Nothing whatever,' said Poirot
mildly. 'A little idea of mine, that was all. Me, I am famous for my little ideas.' 'Are you really?' said
Raglan, studying him with a puzzled expression.
The superintendent went into a roar of laughter.
'Many's the time I've heard Inspector Japp say that. M.
Poirot and his little ideas! Too fanciful for me, he'd say, but always something in them.' 'You mock
yourself at me,' said Poirot, smiling; 'but never mind. The old ones they laugh last sometimes, when the
young, clever ones do not laugh at all.' And nodding his head at them in a sage manner he walked out into
He and I lunched together at an hotel. I know now that the whole thing lay clearly unravelled before him.
He had got the last thread he needed to lead him to the truth.
But at the time I had no suspicion of the fact. I overestimated his general self-confidence, and I took it for
granted that the things which puzzled me must be equally puzzling to him.
My chief puzzle was what the man Charles Kent could have been doing at Fernly. Again and again I put
the question to myself and could get no satisfactory reply. At last I ventured a tentative query to Poirot.
His reply was immediate. 'Mon ami, I do not think, I know.' 'Really?' I said incredulously.
'Yes, indeed. I suppose now that to you it would not make sense if I said that he went to Fernly that night
because he was born in Kent?' I stared at him.
'It certainly doesn't seem to make sense to me,' I said drily.
'Ah!' said Poirot pityingly. 'Well, no matter. I have still my little idea.'
CHAPTER 18 Flora Ackroyd
As I was returning from my round the following morning, I was hailed by Inspector Raglan. I pulled up,
and the inspector mounted on the step.
'Good morning, Dr Sheppard,' he said. 'Well, that alibi is all right enough.' 'Charles Kent's?' 'Charles
Kent's. The barmaid at the Dog and Whistle, Sally Jones, she remembers him perfectly. Picked out his
photograph from among five others. It was just a quarter to ten when he came into the bar, and the Dog
and Whistle is well over a mile from Fernly Park. The girl mentions that he had a lot of money on him she saw him take a handful of notes out of his pocket. Rather surprised her, it did, seeing the class of
fellow he was, with a pair of boots clean dropping off him. That's where that forty pounds went right
enough.' 'The man still refuses to give an account of his visit to Fernly?' 'Obstinate as a mule he is. I had a
chat with Hayes at Liverpool over the wire this morning.' 'Hercule Poirot says he knows the reason the
man went there that night,' I observed.
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