فصل 08

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHT

It was five o’clock and Inspector Sharpe was drinking his third cup of tea. ‘Thank you for inviting me to your home, Monsieur Poirot. I’ve got an hour to wait until the students get back to the house so that I can question them all.’

‘You have been to St Catherine’s Hospital?’ Poirot asked. ‘Yes. The chief pharmacist was very helpful.’

‘What did he say about the girl?’

‘She had worked there for just over a year and everyone liked her.’ He paused. ‘The morphia certainly came from there.’

‘It did? That is interesting - and rather strange.’

‘It was morphine tartrate and was kept in the poison cupboard on the upper shelf, amongst drugs that were not often used.’

‘So, if one small bottle disappeared it would not immediately be noticed?’

‘That’s right. The three pharmacists all had keys to the poison cupboard, but on a busy day someone is going to it every few minutes, therefore the cupboard is unlocked and remains unlocked till the end of work.’

‘What outsiders come into the pharmacy?’

‘Quite a lot of people go through the pharmacy to get to the chief pharmacist’s office - and salesmen from big drug companies go through it too. Then, of course, friends come in sometimes to see one of the pharmacists.’

‘Who came in recently to see Celia Austin?’

Sharpe looked at his notebook. ‘A girl called Patricia Lane came on Tuesday last week. She wanted Celia to meet her at the cinema after the pharmacy closed.’

‘Patricia Lane,’ said Poirot thoughtfully.

‘She was only there for about five minutes and did not go near the poison cupboard. They also remember a West Indian girl coming - about two weeks ago. She was interested in the work and asked questions about it and made notes.’

‘That must be Elizabeth Johnston. Anyone else?’

‘Not that the other pharmacists can remember.’

‘Do doctors come to the pharmacy?’

Sharpe smiled. ‘All the time. Sometimes to ask about a particular drug. Sometimes they just come in for a talk to the girls. And a lot of young fellows come in for pills because they’ve been drinking too much.’

Poirot said, ‘And if I remember rightly, one or more of the students at Hickory Road is studying at St Catherine’s - a big, red-haired boy - Bateman -‘

‘Leonard Bateson. That’s right. And Colin McNabb is doing a course there. Then there’s a girl, Jean Tomlinson, who works in the physiotherapy department.’

‘And all of these have probably been quite often in the pharmacy?’

‘Yes, and nobody remembers when because they’re so used to seeing them.’

‘It is not easy,’ said Poirot.

‘No, it is not!’ Sharpe paused. ‘You said this morning that someone might have suggested the kleptomania idea to Celia Austin. If so, who?’

‘Only three of the students, I believe, would have been able to think of such an idea. Leonard Bateson might have suggested kleptomania to Celia almost as a joke, but I do not really think he would have allowed such a thing to go on for so long. Nigel Chapman is a humorous and slightly cruel character. He would think it good fun, and would not care if things went wrong.

The third person is a young woman called Valerie Hobhouse. She is clever and has probably read enough psychology to judge Colin’s probable reaction.’

‘Thanks,’ said Sharpe, writing down the names. ‘And is that all the help you can give me, Monsieur Poirot?’

‘I fear so. But I shall continue to be interested and do what I can. For me, there is only one method.’

‘And that is?’

‘Conversation, my friend. Conversation and again conversation! All the murderers I have ever met enjoyed talking. They are so pleased with themselves that sooner or later they say something that shows they know too much about the crime.’

Sharpe stood up. ‘I suppose every single one of the students is a possible murderer.’

‘I think so,’ said Poirot lightly.

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