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Unformatted text preview: ee that I'm right.' 'What's your idea?' Caroline
dropped her voice mysteriously.
'A Home Office expert,' she breathed.
'A Home Office expert,' I said, amazed. 'My dear Caroline!' 'Mark my words, James, you'll see that I'm
right. That Russell woman was here that morning after your poisons.
Roger Ackroyd might easily have been poisoned in his food that night.' I laughed out loud.
'Nonsense,' I cried. 'He was stabbed in the neck. You know that as well as I do.' 'After death, James,'
said Caroline; 'to make a false clue.' 'My good woman,' I said, 'I examined the body, and I know what
I'm talking about. That wound wasn't inflicted after death - it was the cause of death, and you need make
no mistake about it.' Caroline merely continued to look omniscient, which so annoyed me that I went on:
'Perhaps you will tell me, Caroline, if I have a medical degree or if I have not?' 'You have the medical
degree, I dare say, James - at least, I mean I know you have. But you've no imagination whatever.'
'Having endowed you with a treble portion, there was none left over for me,' I said drily.
I was amused to see Caroline's manoeuvres that afternoon when Poirot duly arrived. My sister, without
asking a direct question, skirted the subject of the mysterious guest in every way imaginable. By the
twinkle in Poirot's eyes, I saw that he realized her object. He remained blandly impervious, and blocked
her bowling so successfully that she herself was at a loss how to proceed.
Having, I suspect, enjoyed the little game, he rose to his feet and suggested a walk.
'It is that I need to reduce the figure a little,' he ex196 plained. 'You will come with me, doctor? And
perhaps later. Miss Caroline will give us some tea.' Delighted,' said Caroline. 'Won't your - er - guest
come in also?' 'You are too kind,' said Poirot. 'But no, my friend reposes himself. Soon you must make
his acquaintance.' 'Quite an old friend of yours, so somebody told me,' said Caroline, making one last
'Did they?' murmured Poirot. 'Well, we must start.' Our tramp took us in the direction of Fernly. I had
guessed beforehand that it might do so. I was beginning to understand Poirot's methods. Every little
irrelevancy had a bearing upon the whole.
'I have a commission for you, my friend,' he said at last.
'Tonight, at my house. I desire to have a little conference.
You will attend, will you not?' 'Certainly,' I said.
'Good. I need also those in the house - that is to say: Mrs Ackroyd, Mademoiselle Flora, Major Blunt,
Mr Raymond. I want you to be my ambassador. This little reunion is fixed for nine o'clock. You will ask
them - yes?' 'With pleasure; but why not ask them yourself?' 'Because they will then put the questions: Why? What for? They will demand what my idea is. And, as you know, my friend, I much dislike to have
to explain my little ideas until the time comes.' I smiled a little.
'My friend Hastings, he of whom I told you, used to say of me that I was the human oyster. But he was
unjust. Of facts, I...
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