فصل 02

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فصل 02

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
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CHAPTER TWO

Discovery

Henry Mitchell, the senior steward, walked past the tables in the rear cabin, collecting payment for the food and drinks that had been served to the passengers. The old woman at the back was asleep, and he decided not to wake her up until five minutes before they reached London. When that time arrived, he went and stood beside her. ‘Madam, your bill.’ He shook her gently by the shoulder and her body slipped down in the seat.


Mitchell walked along the rear cabin, asking quietly at each table, ‘Excuse me, Sir, are you a doctor?’

Dr Bryant said, ‘Yes, I am. What’s the matter?’

‘It’s the lady at the end, Sir.’

Dr Bryant got up and went with the senior steward to seat number two. Hercule Poirot, the little man with the moustache, followed them. Bryant bent over the body of the woman. ‘She’s been dead for at least half an hour,’ he said. ‘When did you last see her alive?’

‘When I brought her coffee, about three-quarters of an hour ago,’ said Mitchell.

Their discussion was beginning to cause interest. The other passengers were turning round to listen.

‘There is a mark on her neck,’ said Monsieur Poirot.

The woman’s head had fallen sideways. There was a tiny mark on the side of her neck.

The two Duponts arrived beside them. ‘Pardon. The lady is dead, you say, and there is a mark on her neck?’ said Jean. ‘There was a wasp flying about.’ He showed them the dead insect in his saucer. ‘Perhaps she has died of a wasp sting?’

‘It is possible,’ agreed Dr Bryant. ‘Especially if she had a weak heart.’

‘Is there anything I should do?’ asked Mitchell. ‘We’ll be landing in London in a minute.’

‘There’s nothing that can be done. The body must not be moved.’

‘Pardon. Something has been missed.’ Monsieur Poirot pointed at a small yellow and black object lying on the floor.

‘Another wasp?’ asked the doctor, surprised.

Poirot knelt down and carefully picked up the object. ‘It is not a wasp!’ He showed them a small dart. It was made from a long thorn, which was stained at its pointed end. Yellow and black silk thread was tied around the top.

‘Good gracious me!’ Mr Clancy was looking over the steward’s shoulder. ‘I don’t believe it! Gentlemen, this is the type of thorn shot from a blowpipe, the kind that is used by various tribes in South America - and I suspect that on the tip…’

‘Is the famous arrow poison of the South American Indians,’ said Hercule Poirot.

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