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The Three Clues
Hercule Poirot went to Scotland Yard, to see Inspector Japp.
‘I have come to ask you for news, my friend,’ he said.
‘Well, there isn’t much. The antique dealer in Paris has identified the blowpipe all right. But the stewards still insist that nothing unusual happened on the flight. And so do the passengers. Not everyone can be lying!’
‘Who do you think did it?’
‘Well, there are rumours about Dr Bryant and one of his patients. A pretty woman, with a nasty husband. Ryder tried to get a loan in Paris and failed, His company was in real trouble a week or two ago, but seems to be recovering now. Clancy’s got something on his mind, but I can’t find a motive. And I can’t get a word out of Lady Horbury. The whole thing is a mess. I suppose you’ve got it all solved?’
‘No, no, there is still far to go. But I have made a little chart.’ Poirot took a paper from his pocket. ‘My idea is this: a person commits a murder for a particular reason. Suppose you want money. You will get it when an aunt dies. So, you kill the aunt and inherit the money. Eh, bien, that is that! But in this case, a single murder affects eleven people, with different results.’
He laid out the page. Japp read it over his shoulder:
Miss Grey Result: improvement. Has gained a pay rise.
Mr Gale Result: bad. Loss of dental practice.
Lady Horbury Result: good, if she is CL 52.
Miss Kerr Result: bad. She is interested in Lord Horbury. If he divorces his wife, he’ll be free to marry her. Giselle’s death prevents him from receiving the evidence which would allow him to do this.
‘Hmm.’ Japp looked up from the list. ‘You think Miss Kerr is attracted to Lord Horbury? You are very good at discovering secret love affairs.’
Poirot smiled. Japp returned to the paper again.
Mr Clancy Result: good. Expects to make money by writing a book dealing with the murder.
Dr Bryant Result: good, if he is RT 362.
Mr Ryder Result: good, because of cash obtained through newspaper interviews on murder which helped company through delicate time. Also good if Ryder is XVB 724.
Jean Dupont, Mitchell, Davis Result: unaffected.
‘Mr Clancy, Miss Grey, Mr Ryder, and Lady Horbury all benefit from the death of Madame Giselle,’ said Poirot. ‘Mr Gale and Miss Kerr lose because of it. Four people are unaffected. And Dr Bryant is either unaffected, or gains something - if he is RT 362. And so, we must continue the hunt. The most interesting thing about this case is the personality of the dead woman. A woman without any personal life. A woman who once loved and suffered, and then walked away to begin her life again.’
‘Is there a clue in her past?’
‘Well, we certainly need it! There aren’t any clues in this case.’
‘Oh, yes, there are, my friend. We have the Clue of the Wasp. The Clue in the Passenger’s Baggage. The Clue of the Extra Coffee Spoon.’
‘A coffee spoon?
‘Madame Giselle had two spoons in her saucer. ‘
‘That’s supposed to mean a wedding.’
‘In this case, it meant a funeral…’
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