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Unformatted text preview: He looked round the room. Raymond was still sorting the papers on
'There seems nothing missing, and none of the drawers show signs of having been tampered with,' the secretary observed at last. 'It's very mysterious.' Blunt made a slight motion with his head.
'There are some letters on the floor here,' he said.
I looked down. Three or four letters still lay where Ackroyd had dropped them earlier in the evening.
But the blue envelope containing Mrs Ferrars's letter had disappeared. I half opened my mouth to speak,
but at that moment the sound of a bell pealed through the house. There was a confused murmur of voices
in the hall, and then Parker appeared with our local inspector and a police constable.
'Good evening, gentlemen,' said the inspector. 'I'm terribly sorry for this! A good kind gentleman like Mr
Ackroyd. The butler says it's murder. No possibility of accident or suicide, doctor?' 'None whatever,' I
'Ah! A bad business.' He came and stood over the body.
'Been moved at all?' he asked sharply.
'Beyond making certain that life was extinct - an easy matter - I have not disturbed the body in any way.'
'Ah! And everything points to the murderer having got clear away - for the moment, that is. Now then, let
me hear all about it. Who found the body?' I explained the circumstances carefully.
'A telephone message, you say? From the butler?' 'A message that I never sent,' declared Parker
'I've not been near the telephone the whole evening. The others can bear me out that I haven't.' 'Very
odd, that. Did it sound like Parker's voice, doctor?' 'Well -1 can't say I noticed. I took it for granted, you
see.' 'Naturally. Well, you got up here, broke in the door, and found poor Mr Ackroyd like this. How
long should you say he had been dead, doctor?' 'Half an hour at least - perhaps longer,' I said.
'The door was locked on the inside, you say? What about the window?' 'I myself closed and bolted it
earlier in the evening at Mr Ackroyd's request.' The inspector strode across to it and threw back the
'Well, it's open now, anyway,' he remarked, True enough, the window was open, the lower sash being
raised to its fullest extent.
The inspector produced a pocket torch and flashed it along the sill outside.
'This is the way he went all right,' he remarked, 'and got in.
See here.' In the light of the powerful torch, several clearly defined footmarks could be seen. They
seemed to be those of shoes with rubber studs in the soles. One particularly clear one pointed inwards,
another, slightly overlapping it, pointed outwards.
'Plain as a pikestaff,' said the inspector. 'Any valuables missing?' Geoffrey Raymond shook his head.
'Not so far that we can discover. Mr Ackroyd never kept anything of particular value in this room.' 'H'm,'
said the inspector. 'Man found an open window, Climbed in, saw Mr Ackroyd sitting there - maybe he'd
fallen asleep. Man stabbed him from behind, then lost his nerve and made off. But he's left his tracks
pretty clearly. We ought to get hold of him with...
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