Unformatted text preview: bureau, opened one of the drawers, and
took out a handful of letters clipped together with a patent fastener. She selected one and handed it to the
'H'm,' said he. 'Reads all right. Mrs Richard Folliott, Marby Grange, Marby. Who's this woman?' 'Quite
good country people,' said Miss Russell.
'Well,' said the inspector, handing it back, 'let's have a look at the other one, Elsie Dale.' Elsie Dale was a
big fair girl, with a pleasant but slightly stupid face. She answered our questions readily enough, and
showed much distress and concern at the loss of the money.
'I don't think there's anything wrong with her,' observed the inspector, after he had dismissed her. 'What about Parker?' Miss Russell pursed her lips together and made no reply.
'I've a feeling there's something wrong about that man,' the inspector continued thoughtfully. 'The trouble
is that I don't quite see when he got his opportunity. He'd be busy with his duties immediately after
dinner, and he'd got a pretty good alibi all through the evening. I know, for I've been devoting particular
attention to it. Well, thank you very much. Miss Russell. We'll leave things as they are for the present. It's
highly probable Mr Ackroyd paid that money away himself.' The housekeeper bade us a dry good
afternoon, and we took our leave.
I left the house with Poirot.
'I wonder,' I said, breaking the silence, 'what the papers the girl disarranged could have been for
Ackroyd to have got into such a state about them? I wonder if there is any clue there to the mystery.'
'The secretary said there were no papers of particular importance on the desk,' said Poirot quietly.
'Yes, but -' I paused.
'It strikes you as odd that Ackroyd should have flown into a rage about so trivial a matter?' 'Yes, it does
rather.' 'But was it a trivial matter?' 'Of course,' I admitted, 'we don't know what those papers may have
been. But Raymond certainly said ' 'Leave M. Raymond out of it for a minute. What did you think of that
girl?' 'Which girl? The parlourmaid?' 'Yes, the parlourmaid. Ursula Bourne.' 'She seemed a nice girl,' I
Poirot repeated my words, but whereas I had laid a slight stress on the fourth word, he put it on the
'She seemed a nice girl - yes.' Then, after a minute's silence, he took something from his pocket and
handed it to me.
'See, my friend, I will show you something. Look there.' The paper he had handed me was that compiled
by the inspector and given by him to Poirot that morning.
Following the pointing finger, I saw a small cross marked in pencil opposite the name Ursula Bourne.
'You may not have noticed it at the time, my good friend, but there was one person on this list whose alibi
had no kind of confirmation. Ursula Bourne.' 'You don't think-?' 'Dr Sheppard, I dare to think anything.
Ursula Bourne may have killed Mr Ackroyd, but I confess I can see no motive for her doing so. Can
you?' He looked at me very hard - so hard that I felt uncomfortable.
'Can you?' he repeated.
'No motive whatsoever,' I said firmly.
His gaze relaxed. He frowned and murmured to...
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