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Unformatted text preview: ls.' 'The cells?' said the inspector, staring.
'The little grey cells of the brain,' explained the Belgian.
'Oh, of course; well, we all use them, I suppose.' 'In a greater or lesser degree,' murmured Poirot. 'And
there are, too, differences in quality. Then there is the psychology of a crime. One must study that.' 'Ah!'
said the inspector, 'you've been bitten with all this psycho-analysis stuff? Now, I'm a plain man -' 'Mrs
Raglan would not agree, I am sure, to that,' said Poirot, making him a little bow.
Inspector Raglan, a little taken aback, bowed. 'You don't understand,' he said, grinning broadly. 'Lord, what a lot of difference language makes. I'm
telling you how I set to work. First of all, method. Mr Ackroyd was last seen alive at a quarter to ten by
his niece. Miss Flora Ackroyd.
That's fact number one, isn't it?' 'If you say so.' 'Well, it is. At half-past ten, the doctor here says that Mr
Ackroyd had been dead at least half an hour. You stick to that, doctor?' 'Certainly,' I said. 'Half an hour
or longer.' 'Very good. That gives us exactly a quarter of an hour in which the crime must have been
committed. I make a list of everyone in the house, and work through it, setting down opposite their
names where they were and what they were doing between the hour of 9.45 and 10 p.m.' He handed a
sheet of paper to Poirot. I read it over his shoulder. It ran as follows, written in a neat script: Major
Blunt. - In billiard room with Mr Raymond. (Latter confirms.) Mr Raymond. - Billiard room. (See
above.) Mrs Ackroyd. - 9.45 watching billiard match. Went up to bed 9.55. (Raymond and Blunt
watched her up staircase.) Miss Ackroyd. - Went straight from her uncle's room upstairs.
(Confirmed by Parker, also housemaid, Elsie Dale.) Servants: Parker. - Went straight to butler's pantry.
(Confirmed by housekeeper. Miss Russell, who came down to speak to him about something at 9.47,
and remained at least ten minutes.) Miss Russell. - As above. Spoke to housemaid, Elsie Dale, upstairs at
Ursula Bourne (parlourmaid). - In her own room until 9.55.
Then in Servants' Hall.
Mrs Cooper (cook). - In Servants' Hall.
Gladys Jones (second housemaid). - In Servants' Hall.
Elsie Dale. - Upstairs in bedroom. Seen there by Miss Russell and Miss Flora Ackroyd.
Mary Thripp (kitchenmaid). - Servants' Hall.
'The cook has been here seven years, the parlourmaid eighteen months, and Parker just over a year. The
others are new. Except for something fishy about Parker, they all seem quite all right.' 'A very complete
list,' said Poirot, handing it back to him. 'I am quite sure that Parker did not do the murder,' he added
'So is my sister,' I struck in. 'And she's usually right.' Nobody paid any attention to my interpolation.
'That disposes pretty effectually of the household,' continued the inspector. 'Now we come to a very
The woman at the lodge - Mary Black - was pulling the curtains last night when she saw Ralph Paton
turn in at the gate and go up towards the house.' 'She is sure of that?' I asked sharply.
'Quite sure. She knows him well by sigh...
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