فصل 18

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Mr Akibombo was offered a chair. ‘Thank you. You see, sometimes I have a stomach ache. Sometimes I take a small pill, and sometimes stomach powder. After that,’ Akibombo smiled, ‘I feel much better.’

Mrs Hubbard said, ‘We understand all about that. Now get on to the next part.’

‘Yes. Well, as I say, this happens to me early last week. It was after supper in the common room and only Elizabeth was there and I say to her, “Have you bicarbonate, I have finished mine.” And she says, “No. But, I saw some in Pat’s drawer when I was putting back a handkerchief I borrowed from her. I will get it for you.” So she goes upstairs and comes back with a bottle, almost empty. I thank her and I put a teaspoon of it in water and drink it.’

‘A teaspoon? A teaspoon! The Inspector looked at him. ‘You swallowed a teaspoon of morphia?’

‘But I think it is bicarbonate. And then, afterwards, I was ill, but really ill.’

‘I can’t make out why you’re not dead!’

Mr Akibombo continued. ‘So then, next day, when I am better, I take the bottle and the tiny bit of powder that is left in it to a chemist and I say, please tell me what is this?’

‘Yes?’

‘And he says come back later, and then he says, “No wonder! This is not the bicarbonate. It is the boracic. You can put it in the eyes, yes, but if you swallow a teaspoonful it makes you ill.’”

‘Boracic? But how did boracic get into that bottle? What happened to the morphia?’ Inspector Sharpe shook his head.

‘I have been thinking,’ said Akibombo, ‘of Miss Celia and how she died and that someone, after she was dead, must have come into her room and left there the empty morphia bottle and the little piece of paper that say she killed herself.’

Akibombo paused and the Inspector nodded.

‘And I think if it is one of the girls it will be easy, but if a man, not so easy. So I think, and I say, suppose it is someone in our house, but in the next room to Miss Celia’s? Outside his window is a balcony and outside hers is a balcony too. So if he is big and strong he could jump across.’

‘The room next to Celia’s in the other house,’ said Mrs Hubbard, ‘Well, that’s Nigel’s and - and…’

‘Len Bateson’s.’ The Inspector’s finger touched the folded paper in his hand.

‘Mr Chandra Lal was very angry when his boracic was not there and later, when I ask, he says he has been told that it was taken by Len Bateson…’

‘The morphia was taken from Nigel’s drawer and boracic was exchanged for it. Then Patricia Lane came along and exchanged soda bicarbonate for what she thought was morphia, but which was really boracic powder… Yes… I see…’

‘I have helped you, yes?’ Mr Akibombo asked politely.

‘Yes, thank you. Don’t - er - repeat any of this.’

‘No, sir. I will be most careful.’ Mr Akibombo left the room.

‘Len Bateson,’ said Mrs Hubbard. ‘Oh! No. He’s always seemed so nice.’

‘That’s been said about a lot of criminals,’ said Sharpe. Gently he opened his little paper bag. In it were two red curly hairs…

‘Oh dear,’ said Mrs Hubbard.

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