Unformatted text preview: ' cried the inspector eagerly.
'Yes,' I said maliciously. 'He says he went there because he was born in Kent.' I felt a distinct pleasure in
passing on my own discomfiture.
Raglan stared at me for a moment or two uncomprehendingly.
Then a grin overspread his weaselly countenance and he tapped his forehead significantly.
'But gone here,' he said. 'I've thought so for some time.
Poor old chap, so that's why he had to give up and come down here. In the family, very likely. He's got a
nephew who's quite off his crumpet.' 'Poirot has?' I said, very surprised.
'Yes. Hasn't he ever mentioned him to you? Quite docile, I believe, and all that, but mad as a hatter, poor
lad.' 'Who told you that?' Again a grin showed itself on Inspector Raglan's face.
'Your sister. Miss Sheppard, she told me all about it.' Really, Caroline is amazing. She never rests until
she knows the last details of everybody's family secrets. Unfortunately, I have never been able to instil
into her the decency of keeping them to herself.
'Jump in. Inspector,' I said, opening the door of the car.
'We'll go up to The Larches together, and acquaint our Belgian friend with the latest news.' 'Might as
well, I suppose. After all, even if he is a bit balmy, it was a useful dp he gave me about those fingerprints.
He's got a bee in his bonnet about the man Kent, but who knows - there may be something useful behind
it.' Poirot received us with his usual smiling courtesy. He listened to the information we had brought him, nodding his head now and then.
'Seems quite O.K., doesn't it?' said the inspector rather gloomily. 'A chap can't be murdering someone in
one place when he's drinking in the bar in another place a mile away.' 'Are you going to release him?'
'Don't see what else we can do. We can't very well hold him for obtaining money on false pretences.
Can't prove a ruddy thing.' The inspector tossed a match into the grate in a disgruntled fashion. Poirot
retrieved it and put it neatly in a little receptacle designed for the purpose. His action was purely
mechanical. I could see that his thoughts were on something very different.
'If I were you,' he said at last, 'I should not release the man Charles Kent yet.' 'What do you mean?'
Raglan stared at him.
'What I say. I should not release him yet.' 'You don't think he can have had anything to do with the
murder, do you?' 'I think probably not - but one cannot be certain yet.' 'But haven't I just told you - ?'
Poirot raised a hand protestingly.
'Mais oui, mais oui. I heard. I am not deaf - or stupid, thank the good God! But you see, you approach
the matter from the wrong - the wrong - premises, is not that the word?' The inspector stared at him
'I don't see how you make that out. Look here, we know Mr Ackroyd was alive at a quarter to ten. You
admit that, don't you?' Poirot looked at him for a moment, then shook his head with a quick smile.
'I admit nothing that is not - proved?
'Well, we've got proof enough of that. We've got Miss Flora Ack...
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