فصل 01

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER ONE

Hercule Poirot frowned.

‘Miss Lemon,’ he said.

‘Yes, Monsieur Poirot?’

‘There are three mistakes in this letter.’

He sounded shocked. Miss Lemon, a proud and professional woman, never made mistakes. She was never ill, never tired, never upset, never inaccurate. Order and method had been Hercule Poirot’s favourite words for many years. With George, his perfect manservant, and Miss Lemon, his perfect secretary, order and method shaped his life.

And yet, this morning, Miss Lemon had made three mistakes in typing a very simple letter. The world had stopped turning.

Hercule Poirot held out the offending document. He was not annoyed, he was just confused. This was something that just could not happen - but it had!

Miss Lemon took the letter. ‘Oh, dear, I can’t think how I did that - well, perhaps I can. It’s because of my sister.’

‘Your sister?’ Another shock. Poirot had never known that Miss Lemon had a sister.

Miss Lemon nodded. ‘Yes, most of her life she has lived in Singapore. Her husband was in the rubber business there, but he died four years ago. There were no children, so when she came back to England I found a very nice little flat for her but -‘ Miss Lemon paused. ‘Well, she was lonely and she told me that she was thinking about taking a job.’

‘Job?’

‘Looking after a hostel for students. It is owned by a woman who is partly Greek and she wanted someone to manage it for her. It’s a big old house and my sister was going to have a very nice flat -‘

Miss Lemon stopped and Poirot made an encouraging noise for her to continue.

‘I wasn’t sure about it, but my sister likes to be busy and she’s always been good with young people.’

‘So your sister took the job?’ Poirot asked.

‘Yes, she moved into 26 Hickory Road about six months ago and she liked her work there.’

Hercule Poirot listened. So far, the story of Miss Lemon’s sister had been disappointingly ordinary.

‘But for some time now she’s been very worried.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, Monsieur Poirot, she doesn’t like the things that are going on there.’

‘There are students there of both s@xes?’ Poirot inquired delicately.

‘Oh no, I don’t mean that! One always expects difficulties of that kind! No, but things have been disappearing.’

‘Disappearing?’

‘Yes. And such odd things… And all in rather a strange way.’

‘When you say things have been disappearing, you mean things have been stolen?’

‘Yes.’

‘Have the police been called in?’

‘No. My sister is fond of these young people - well, of some of them - and she would prefer to straighten things out by herself.’

‘Yes,’ said Poirot. ‘I can understand that. But that does not explain, if I may say so, your own anxiety.’

‘I cannot help feeling that something is going on which I do not understand. No ordinary explanation seems to fit with the facts.’

Poirot nodded. ‘Not an ordinary thief? A kleptomaniac, perhaps?’

‘I do not think so. I read about the subject, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But I was not persuaded.’

Hercule Poirot was silent for a minute and a half. Did he wish to involve himself in the troubles of Miss Lemon’s sister? But it was very inconvenient to have Miss Lemon making mistakes in his letters. He told himself that if he were to involve himself, that would be the reason. He did not admit to himself that he had been rather bored lately.

‘Supposing, Miss Lemon, you were to invite your sister here for afternoon tea? I might be able to be of some small help to her.’

‘That’s very kind of you, Monsieur Poirot.’

‘Then shall we say tomorrow?’

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