Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books - even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.

William Ewart Gladstone

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Ebook "A Caribbean Mystery"
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Tác giả: Agatha Christie
Thể loại: Trinh Thám
Biên tập: Yen
Language: English
Số chương: 37
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Cập nhật: 2015-01-24 12:31:11 +0700
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CHAPTER 3 - A DEATH IN THE HOTEL
iss Marple had her breakfast brought to her in bed as usual.
Tea, a boiled egg, and a slice of paw-paw.
The fruit on the island, thought Miss Marple, was rather disappointing. It seemed always to be paw-paw. If she could have a nice apple now-but apples seemed to be unknown. Now that she had been here a week, Miss Marple had cured herself of the impulse to ask what the weather was like. The weather was always the same-fine. No interesting variations.
“The many-splendoured weather of an English day” she murmured to herself and wondered if it was a quotation, or whether she had made it up. There were, of course, hurricanes, or so she understood. But hurricanes were not weather in Miss Marple's sense of the word. They were more in the nature of an Act of God. There was rain, short violent rainfall that lasted five minutes and stopped abruptly. Everything and everyone was wringing wet, but in another five minutes they were dry again.
The black West Indian girl smiled and said Good-Morning as she placed the tray on Miss Marple's knees. Such lovely white teeth and so happy and smiling. Nice natures, all these girls, and a pity they were so averse to getting married. It worried Canon Prescott a good deal. Plenty of christenings, he said, trying to console himself, but no weddings. Miss Marple ate her breakfast and decided how she would spend her day.
It didn't really take much deciding. She would get up at her leisure, moving slowly because it was rather hot and her fingers weren't as nimble as they used to be. Then she would rest for ten minutes or so, and she would take her knitting and walk slowly along towards the hotel and decide where she would settle herself. On the terrace overlooking the sea? Or should she go on to the bathing beach to watch the bathers and the children? Usually it was the latter. In the afternoon, after her rest, she might take a drive. It really didn't matter very much.
Today would be a day like any other day, she said to herself. Only, of course, it wasn't.
Miss Marple carried out her programme as planned and was slowly making her way along the path towards the hotel when she met Molly Kendal. For once that sunny young woman was not smiling. Her air of distress was so unlike her that Miss Marple said immediately: “My dear, is anything wrong?”
Molly nodded. She hesitated and then said: ''Well, you'll have to know-everyone will have to know. It's Major Palgrave. He's dead."
“Dead?”
“Yes. He died in the night.”
“Oh dear, I am sorry.”
“Yes, it's horrid having a death here. It makes everyone depressed. Of course-he was quite old.”
“He seemed quite well and cheerful yesterday,” said Miss Marple, slightly resenting this calm assumption that everyone of advanced years was liable to die at any minute.
“He had high blood pressure,” said Molly.
“But surely there are things one takes nowadays-some kind of pill. Science is so wonderful.”
“Oh yes, but perhaps he forgot to take his pills, or took too many of them. Like insulin, you know.”
Miss Marple did not think that diabetes and high blood pressure were at all the same kind of thing. She asked. “What does the doctor say?”
“Oh, Dr. Graham, who's practically retired now, and lives in the hotel, took a look at him, and the local people came officially, of course, to give a death certificate, but it all seems quite straightforward. This kind of thing is quite liable to happen when you have high blood pressure, especially if you overdo the alcohol, and Major Palgrave was really very naughty that way. Last night, for instance.”
“Yes, I noticed,” said Miss Marple.
“He probably forgot to take his pills. It is bad luck for the old boy-but people can't live forever, can they? But it's terribly worrying-for me and Tim, I mean. People might suggest it was something in the food.”
“But surely the symptoms of food poisoning and of blood pressure are quite different?”
“Yes. But people do say things so easily. And if people decided the food was bad-and left-or told their friends-”
“I really don't think you need worry, said Miss Marple kindly. ”As you say, an elderly man like Major Palgrave-he must have been over seventy-is quite liable to die. To most people it will seem quite an ordinary occurrence-sad, but not out of the way at all."
“If only,” said Molly unhappily, “it hadn't been so sudden.”
Yes, it had been very sudden Miss Marple thought as she walked slowly on. There he had been last night, laughing and talking in the best of spirits with the Hillingdons and the Dysons.
The Hillingdons and the Dysons...
Miss Marple walked more slowly still...
Finally she stopped abruptly. Instead of going to the bathing beach she settled herself in a shady corner of the terrace. She took out her knitting and the needles clicked rapidly as though they were trying to match the speed of her thoughts. She didn't like it-no she didn't like it. It came so pat.
She went over the occurrences of yesterday in her mind.
Major Palgrave and his stories...
That was all as usual and one didn't need to listen very closely... Perhaps, though, it would have been better if she had.
Kenya-he had talked about Kenya and then India-the North West Frontier-and then-for some reason they had got on to murder- And even then she hadn't really been listening... Some famous case that had taken place out here-that had been in the newspapers- It was after that-when he picked up her ball of wool-that he had begun telling her about a snapshot- A snapshot of a murderer-that is what he had said.
Miss Marple closed her eyes and tried to remember just exactly how that story had gone.
It had been rather a confused story-told to the Major in his Club-or in somebody else's club-told him by a doctor-who had heard it from another doctor-and one doctor had taken a snapshot of someone coming through a front door-someone who was a murderer-
Yes, that was it-the various details were coming back to her now. And he had offered to show her that snapshot. He had got out his wallet and begun hunting through its contents-talking all the time. And then still talking, he had looked up-had looked-not at her-but at something behind her-behind her right shoulder to be accurate. And he had stopped talking, his face had gone purple-and he had started stuffing back everything into his wallet with slightly shaky hands and had begun talking in a loud unnatural voice about elephant tusks!
A moment or two later the Hillingdons and the Dysons had joined them...
It was then that she had turned her head over her right shoulder to look... But there had been nothing and nobody to see.
To her left, some distance away, in the direction of the hotel, there had been Tim Kendal and his wife, and beyond them a family group of Venezuelans. But Major Palgrave had not been looking in that direction... Miss Marple meditated until lunch time. After lunch she did not go for a drive. Instead she sent a message to say that she was not feeling very well, and to ask if Dr. Graham would be kind enough to come and see her.
A Caribbean Mystery A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery