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Unformatted text preview: Then he gave the constable some low-voiced instructions,
and the latter prepared to depart.
'We must get busy on those shoe tracks,' explained the inspector. 'But first of all, I must have a word
with Miss Ackroyd. She was the last person to see her uncle alive. Does she know yet?' Raymond shook his head.
'Well, no need to tell her for another five minutes. She can answer my questions better without being
upset by knowing the truth about her uncle. Tell her there's been a burglary, and ask her if she would
mind dressing and coming down to answer a few questions.' It was Raymond who went upstairs on this
'Miss Ackroyd will be down in a minute,' he said, when he returned. 'I told her just what you suggested.'
In less than five minutes Flora descended the staircase.
She was wrapped in a pale pink silk kimono. She looked anxious and excited.
The inspector stepped forward.
'Good evening. Miss Ackroyd,' he said civilly. 'We're afraid there's been an attempt at robbery, and we
want you to help us. What's this room - the billiard room? Come in here and sit down.' Flora sat down
composedly on the wide divan which ran the length of the wall, and looked up at the inspector.
'I don't quite understand. What has been stolen? What do you want me to tell you?' 'It's just this. Miss
Ackroyd. Parker here says you came out of your uncle's study at about a quarter to ten. Is that right?'
'Quite right. I had been to say goodnight to him.' 'And the time is correct?' 'Well, it must have been about
then. I can't say exactly. It might have been later.' 'Was your uncle alone, or was there anyone with him?'
'He was alone. Dr Sheppard had gone.' 'Did you happen to notice whether the window was open or
shut?' Flora shook her head.
'I can't say. The curtains were drawn.' 'Exactly. And your uncle seemed quite as usual?' 'I think so.' 'Do
you mind telling us exactly what passed between you?' Flora paused a minute, as though to collect her
'I went in and said, "Goodnight, Uncle, I'm going to bed now. I'm tired tonight." He gave a sort of grunt,
and - I went over and kissed him, and he said something about my looking nice in the frock I had on, and
then he told me to run away as he was busy. So I went.' 'Did he ask specially not to be disturbed?' 'Oh!
yes, I forgot. He said: "Tell Parker I don't want anything more tonight, and that he's not to disturb me." I
met Parker just outside the door and gave him Uncle's message.' 'Just so,' said the inspector.
'Won't you tell me what it is that has been stolen?' 'We're not quite - certain,' said the inspector
A wide look of alarm came into the girl's eyes. She started up.
'What is it? You're hiding something from me?' Moving in his usual unobtrusive manner. Hector Blunt
came between her and the inspector. She half stretched out her hand, and he took it in both of his, patting
it as though she were a very small child, and she turned to him as though something in his stolid, rocklike
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