I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things.

George Robert Gissing

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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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II
ay I speak to you, ma'am, Mrs. Kendal?”
“Yes, of course,” said Molly. She was sitting at her desk in the office. Victoria Johnson, tall and buoyant in her crisp white uniform came in farther and shut the door behind her with a somewhat mysterious air.
“I like to tell you something, please, Mrs. Kendal.”
“Yes, what is it. Is anything wrong?”
“I don't know that. Not for sure. It's the old gentleman who died. The Major gentleman. He die in his sleep.”
“Yes, yes. What about it?”
“There was a bottle of pills in his room. Doctor, he asked me about them.”
“Yes?”
“The doctor said: 'Let me see what he has here on the bathroom shelf,' and he looked, you see. He see there was tooth powder and indigestion pills and aspirin and cascara pills, and then these pills in a bottle called Serenite.”
“Yes,” repeated Molly yet again.
“And the doctor looked at them. He seemed quite satisfied, and nodded his head. But I get to thinking afterwards. Those pills weren't there before. I've not seen them in his bathroom before. The others, yes. The tooth powder and the aspirin and the aftershave lotion and all the rest. But those pills, those Serenite pills, I never noticed them before.”
“So you think-” Molly looked puzzled.
“I don't know what to think,” said Victoria. “I just think it's not right, so I think I better tell you about it. Perhaps you tell doctor? Perhaps it means something. Perhaps someone put those pills there so he take them and he died.”
“Oh, I don't think that's likely at all,” said Molly.
Victoria shook her dark head. “You never know. People do bad things.”
Molly glanced out of the window. The place looked like an earthly paradise. With its sunshine, its sea, its coral reef, its music, its dancing, it seemed a Garden of Eden. But even in the Garden of Eden, there had been a shadow-the shadow of the Serpent. Bad things-how hateful to hear those words. “I'll make inquiries, Victoria,” she said sharply. “Don't worry. And above all don't go starting a lot of silly rumours.”
Tim Kendal came in, just as Victoria was, somewhat unwillingly, leaving. “Anything wrong, Molly?”
She hesitated-but Victoria might go to him. She told him what the girl had said.
“I don't see what all this rigmarole-what were these pills anyway?”
“Well, I don't really know, Tim. Dr. Robertson when he came said they were something to do with blood pressure, I think.”
“Well, that would be all right, wouldn't it? I mean, he had high blood pressure, and he would be taking things for it, wouldn't he? People do. I've seen them, lots of times.”
“Yes,” Molly hesitated, “but Victoria seemed to think that he might have taken one of these pills and it would have killed him.”
“Oh darling, that is a bit too melodramatic! You mean that somebody might have changed his blood pressure pills for something else, and that they poisoned him?”
“It does sound absurd,” said Molly apologetically, “when you say it like that. But that seemed to be what Victoria thought!”
“Silly girl! We could go and ask Dr. Graham about it, I suppose he'd know. But really it's such nonsense that it's not worth bothering him.”
“That's what I think.”
“What on earth made the girl think anybody would have changed the pills. You mean, put different pills into the same bottle?”
“I didn't quite gather,” said Molly, looking rather helpless. “Victoria seemed to think that was the first time that Serenite bottle had been there.”
“Oh but that's nonsense,” said Tim Kendal. “He had to take those pills all the time to keep his blood pressure down.” And he went off cheerfully to consult with Fernando the maitre d'hotel. But Molly could not dismiss the matter so lightly. After the stress of lunch was over she said to her husband: “Tim-I've been thinking. If Victoria is going around talking about this perhaps we ought just to ask someone about it?”
“My dear girl! Robertson and all the rest of them came and looked at everything and asked all the questions they wanted at the time.”
“Yes, but you know how they work themselves up, these girls-”
“Oh, all right! I'll tell you what-we'll go and ask Graham-he'll know.”
Dr. Graham was sitting on his loggia with a book. The young couple came in and Molly plunged into her recital. It was a little incoherent and Tim took over. “Sounds rather idiotic,” he said apologetically, “but as far as I can make out, this girl has got it into her head that someone put some poison tablets in the-what's the name of the stuff-Sera-something bottle.”
“But why should she get this idea into her head?” asked Dr. Graham. “Did she see anything or hear anything or- I mean, why should she think so?”
“I don't know,” said Tim rather helplessly.
'“Was it a different bottle? Was that it, Molly?”
“No,” said Molly. “I think what she said was that there was a bottle there labelled-Seven-Seren-”
“Serenite,” said the doctor. “That's quite right. A well-known preparation. He'd been taking it regularly.”
“Victoria said she'd never seen it in his room before.”
“Never seen it in his room before?” said Graham sharply. “What does she mean by that?”
“Well, that's what she said. She said there were all sorts of things on the bathroom shelf. You know, tooth powder, aspirin and aftershave and-oh-she rattled them off gaily. I suppose she's always cleaning them and so she knows them all off by heart. But this one-the Serenite-she hadn't seen it here until the day after he died.”
“That's very odd,” said Dr. Graham, rather sharply. “Is she sure?”
The unusual sharpness of his tone made both of the Kendals look at him. They had not expected Dr. Graham to take up quite this attitude.
“She sounded sure,” said Molly slowly. “Perhaps she just wanted to be sensational,” suggested Tim.
“I think perhaps,” said Dr. Graham, “I'd better have a few words with the girl myself.”
Victoria displayed a distinct pleasure at being allowed to tell her story.
“I don't want to get in no trouble,” she said. “I didn't put that bottle there and I don't know who did.”
“But you think it was put there?” asked Graham.
“Well, you see. Doctor, it must have been put there if it wasn't there before.”
“Major Palgrave could have kept it in a drawer-or a dispatch-case, something like that.”
Victoria shook her head shrewdly. “Wouldn't do that if he was taking it all the time, would he?”
“No,” said Graham reluctantly. “No, it was stuff he would have to take several times a day. You never saw him taking it or anything of that kind?”
“He didn't have it there before. I just thought-word got round as that stuff had something to do with his death, poisoned his blood or something, and I thought maybe he had an enemy who put it there so as to kill him.”
“Nonsense, my girl,” said the doctor robustly. “Sheer nonsense.”
Victoria looked shaken.
“You say as this stuff was medicine, good medicine?” she asked doubtfully.
“Good medicine, and what is more, necessary medicine,” said Dr. Graham. “So you needn't worry, Victoria. I can assure you there was nothing wrong with that medicine. It was the proper thing for a man to take who had his complaint.”
“Surely you've taken a load off my mind,” said Victoria. She showed white teeth at him in a cheerful smile. But the load was not taken off Dr. Graham's mind. That uneasiness of his that had been so nebulous was now becoming tangible.
A Caribbean Mystery A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery