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The Murder on the Links is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the US by Dodd, Mead & Co in the same year. and in the UK by The Bodley Head in May 1923, It features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence, and the US edition at $1.75.


Genre: Mystery
Year:
1923
5,921 Views


								
"No. I share rooms with a very interesting man. He's a Belgian--an ex-detective. He's set up as a private detective in London, and he's doing extraordinarily well. He's really a very marvellous little man. Time and again he has proved to be right where the official police have failed." My companion listened with widening eyes. "Isn't that interesting, now? I just adore crime. I go to all the mysteries on the movies. And when there's a murder on I just devour the papers." "Do you remember the Styles Case?" I asked. "Let me see, was that the old lady who was poisoned? Somewhere down in Essex?" I nodded. "That was Poirot's first big case. Undoubtedly, but for him, the murderer would have escaped scot-free. It was a most wonderful bit of detective work." Warming to my subject, I ran over the heads of the affair, working up to the triumphant and unexpected denouement. The girl listened spellbound. In fact, we were so absorbed that the train drew into Calais station before we realized it. "My goodness gracious me!" cried my companion. "Where's my powder-puff?" She proceeded to bedaub her face liberally, and then applied a stick of lip salve to her lips, observing the effect in a small pocket glass, and betraying not the faintest sign of self-consciousness. "I say," I hesitated. "I dare say it's cheek on my part, but why do all that sort of thing?" The girl paused in her operations, and stared at me with undisguised surprise. "It isn't as though you weren't so pretty that you can afford to do without it," I said stammeringly. "My dear boy! I've got to do it. All the girls do. Think I want to look like a little frump up from the country?" She took one last look in the mirror, smiled approval, and put it and her vanity-box away in her bag. "That's better. Keeping up appearances is a bit of a fag, I grant, but if a girl respects herself it's up to her not to let herself get slack." To this essentially moral sentiment, I had no reply. A point of view makes a great difference. I secured a couple of porters, and we alighted on the platform. My companion held out her hand. "Good-bye, and I'll mind my language better in future." "Oh, but surely you'll let me look after you on the boat?" "Mayn't be on the boat. I've got to see whether that sister of mine got aboard after all anywhere. But thanks all the same." "Oh, but we're going to meet again, surely? I--" I hesitated. "I want to meet your sister." We both laughed. "That's real nice of you. I'll tell her what you say. But I don't fancy we'll meet again. You've been very good to me on the journey, especially after I cheeked you as I did. But what your face expressed first thing is quite true. I'm not your kind. And that brings trouble--I know that well enough. . . ." Her face changed. For the moment all the light-hearted gaiety died out of it. It looked angry--revengeful. . . . "So good-bye," she finished, in a lighter tone. "Aren't you even going to tell me your name?" I cried, as she turned away. She looked over her shoulder. A dimple appeared in each cheek. She was like a lovely picture by Greuze. "Cinderella," she said, and laughed. But little did I think when and how I should see Cinderella again. 2 An Appeal for Help It was five minutes past nine when I entered our joint sitting-room for breakfast on the following morning. My friend Poirot, exact to the minute as usual, was just tapping the shell of his second egg. He beamed upon me as I entered. "You have slept well, yes? You have recovered from the crossing so terrible? It is a marvel, almost you are exact this morning. Pardon, but your tie is not symmetrical. Permit that I rearrange him." Elsewhere, I have described Hercule Poirot. An extraordinary little man! Height, five feet four inches, egg-shaped head carried a little to one side, eyes that shone green when he was excited, stiff military moustache, air of dignity immense! He was neat and dandified in appearance. For neatness of any kind, he had an absolute passion. To see an ornament set crooked, or a speck of dust, or a slight disarray in one's attire, was torture to the little man until he could ease his feelings by remedying the matter. "Order" and "Method" were his gods. He had a certain disdain for tangible evidence, such as footprints and cigarette ash, and would maintain that, taken by themselves, they would never enable a detective to solve a problem. Then he would tap his egg-shaped head with absurd complacency, and remark with great satisfaction: "The true work, it is done from within. The little grey cells--remember always the little grey cells, mon ami!" I slipped into my seat, and remarked idly, in answer to Poirot's greeting, that an hour's sea passage from Calais to Dover could hardly be dignified by the epithet "terrible." Poirot waved his egg-spoon in vigorous refutation of my remark. "Du tout! If for an hour one experiences sensations and emotions of the most terrible, one has lived many hours! Does not one of your English poets say that time is counted, not by hours, but by heart-beats?" "I fancy Browning was referring to something more romantic than sea sickness, though." "Because he was an Englishman, an Islander to whom la Manche was nothing. Oh, you English! With nous autres it is different. Figure to yourself that a lady of my acquaintance at the beginning of the war fled to Ostend. There she had a terrible crisis of the nerves. Impossible to escape further except by crossing the sea! And she had a horror--mais une horreur!--of the sea! What was she to do? Daily les Boches were drawing nearer. Imagine to yourself the terrible situation!" "What did she do?" I inquired curiously. "Fortunately her husband was homme pratique. He was also very calm, the crises of the nerves, they affected him not. Il l'a emportée simplement! Naturally when she reached England she was prostrate, but she still breathed." Poirot shook his head seriously. I composed my face as best I could. Suddenly he stiffened and pointed a dramatic finger at the toast rack. "Ah, par exemple, c'est trop fort!" he cried. "What is it?" "This piece of toast. You remark him not?" He whipped the offender out of the rack, and held it up for me to examine. "Is it square? No. Is it a triangle? Again no. Is it even round? No. Is it of any shape remotely pleasing to the eye? What symmetry have we here? None." "It's cut from a cottage loaf," I explained soothingly. Poirot threw me a withering glance. "What an intelligence has my friend Hastings!" he exclaimed sarcastically. "Comprehend you not that I have forbidden such a loaf--a loaf haphazard and shapeless, that no baker should permit himself to bake!" I endeavoured to distract his mind. "Anything interesting come by the post?" Poirot shook his head with a dissatisfied air. "I have not yet examined my letters, but nothing of interest arrives nowadays. The great criminals, the criminals of method, they do not exist. The cases I have been employed upon lately were banal to the last degree. In verity I am reduced to recovering lost lap-dogs for fashionable ladies! The last problem that presented any interest was that intricate little affair of the Yardly diamond, and that was--how many months ago, my friend?"
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Agatha Christie

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE was an English writer known for her sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. more…

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