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|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
VII. Poirot Pays His Debts
|Page 1 of 7||
As we came out of the Stylites Arms, Poirot drew me aside by a gentle pressure of the arm. I understood his object. He was waiting for the Scotland Yard men.
In a few moments, they emerged, and Poirot at once stepped forward, and accosted the shorter of the two.
"I fear you do not remember me, Inspector Japp."
"Why, if it isn't Mr. Poirot!" cried the Inspector. He turned to the other man. "You've heard me speak of Mr. Poirot? It was in 1904 he and I worked together--the Abercrombie forgery case--you remember, he was run down in Brussels. Ah, those were great days, moosier. Then, do you remember 'Baron' Altara? There was a pretty rogue for you! He eluded the clutches of half the police in Europe. But we nailed him in Antwerp--thanks to Mr. Poirot here."
As these friendly reminiscences were being indulged in, I drew nearer, and was introduced to Detective-Inspector Japp, who, in his turn, introduced us both to his companion, Superintendent Summerhaye.
"I need hardly ask what you are doing here, gentlemen," remarked Poirot.
Japp closed one eye knowingly.
"No, indeed. Pretty clear case I should say."
But Poirot answered gravely:
"There I differ from you."
"Oh, come!" said Summerhaye, opening his lips for the first time. "Surely the whole thing is clear as daylight. The man's caught red-handed. How he could be such a fool beats me!"
But Japp was looking attentively at Poirot.
"Hold your fire, Summerhaye," he remarked jocularly. "Me and Moosier here have met before--and there's no man's judgment I'd sooner take than his. If I'm not greatly mistaken, he's got something up his sleeve. Isn't that so, moosier?"
"I have drawn certain conclusions--yes."
Summerhaye was still looking rather sceptical, but Japp continued his scrutiny of Poirot.
"It's this way," he said, "so far, we've only seen the case from the outside. That's where the Yard's at a disadvantage in a case of this kind, where the murder's only out, so to speak, after the inquest. A lot depends on being on the spot first thing, and that's where Mr. Poirot's had the start of us. We shouldn't have been here as soon as this even, if it hadn't been for the fact that there was a smart doctor on the spot, who gave us the tip through the Coroner. But you've been on the spot from the first, and you may have picked up some little hints. From the evidence at the inquest, Mr. Inglethorp murdered his wife as sure as I stand here, and if anyone but you hinted the contrary I'd laugh in his face. I must say I was surprised the jury didn't bring it in Wilful Murder against him right off. I think they would have, if it hadn't been for the Coroner--he seemed to be holding them back."
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