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C.S. Lewis

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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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r. Graham was in Jamestown, in the Administrator's office; sitting at a table opposite his friend Daventry, a grave young man of thirty-five.
“You sounded rather mysterious on the phone, Graham,” said Daventry. “Anything special the matter?”
“I don't know,” said Dr. Graham, “but I'm worried.”
Daventry looked at the other's face, then he nodded as drinks were brought in. He spoke lightly of a fishing expedition he had made lately. Then when the servant had gone away, he sat back in his chair and looked at the other man.
“Now then” he said, “let's have it.”
Dr. Graham recounted the facts that had worried him. Daventry gave a slow long whistle.
“I see. You think maybe there's something funny about old Palgrave's death? You're no longer sure that it was just natural causes? Who certified the death? Robertson, I suppose. He didn't have any doubts, did he?”
“No, but I think he may have been influenced in giving the certificate by the fact of the Serenite tablets in the bathroom. He asked me if Palgrave had mentioned that he suffered from hypertension, and I said no, I'd never had any medical conversation with him myself, but apparently he had talked about it to other people in the hotel. The whole thing-the bottle of tablets, and what Palgrave had said to people-it all fitted in-no earthly reason to suspect anything else. It was a perfectly natural inference to make-but I think now it may not have been correct. If it had been my business to give the certificate, I'd have given it without a second thought. The appearances are quite consistent with his having died from that cause. I'd never have thought about it since if it hadn't been for the odd disappearance of that snapshot...”
“But look here, Graham,” said Daventry, “if you will allow me to say so, aren't you relying a little too much on a rather fanciful story told by an elderly lady. You know what these elderly ladies are like. They magnify some detail and work the whole thing up.”
“Yes, I know,” said Dr. Graham, unhappily. “I know that. I've said to myself that it may be so, that it probably is so. But I can't quite convince myself. She was so very clear and detailed in her statement.”
“The whole thing seems wildly improbable to me,” said Daventry. “Some old lady tells a story about a snapshot that ought not to be there-no I'm getting mixed myself-I mean the other way about don't I?-but the only thing you've really got to go on is that a chambermaid says that a bottle of pills which the authorities had relied on for evidence, wasn't in the Major's room the day before his death. But there are a hundred explanations for that. He might always have carried those pills about in his pocket.”
“It's possible, I suppose, yes.”
“Or the chambermaid may have made a mistake and she simply hadn't noticed them before-”
“That's possible, too.”
“Well, then.”
Graham said slowly: “The girl was very positive.”
“Well, the St. Honorй people are very excitable, you know. Emotional. Work themselves up easily. Are you thinking that she knows a little more than she has said?”
“I think it might be so,” said Dr. Graham slowly.
“You'd better try and get it out of her, if so. We don't want to make an unnecessary fuss-unless we've something to go on. If he didn't die of blood pressure, what do you think it was?”
“There are too many things it might be nowadays,” said Dr. Graham.
“You mean things that don't leave recognisable traces?”
“Not everyone,” said Dr. Graham dryly, “is so considerate as to use arsenic”
“Now let's get things quite clear-what's the suggestion? That a bottle of pills was substituted for the real ones? And that Major Palgrave was poisoned in that way?”
“No-it's not like that. That's what the girl-Victoria Something thinks. But she's got it all wrong. If it was decided to get rid of the Major-quickly-he would have been given something-most likely in a drink of some kind. Then to make it appear a natural death, a bottle of the tablets prescribed to relieve blood pressure was put in his room. And the rumour was put about that he suffered from high blood pressure.”
“Who put the rumour about?”
“I've tried to find out-with no success. It's been too cleverly done. A says 'I think B told me'-B, asked, says 'No, I didn't say so but I do remember C mentioning it one day.' C says 'Several people talked about it-one of them, I think, was A.' And there we are, back again.”
“Someone was clever?”
“Yes. As soon as the death was discovered, everybody seemed to be talking about the Major's high blood pressure and repeating round what other people had said.”
“Wouldn't it have been simpler just to poison him and let it go at that?”
“No. That might have meant an inquiry-possibly an autopsy. This way, a doctor would accept the death and give a certificate-as he did.”
“What do you want me to do? Go to the C.I.D.? Suggest they dig the chap up? It'd make a lot of stink-”
“It could be kept quite quiet.”
“Could it ? In St. Honorй? Think again! The grapevine would be on to it before it had happened. All the same,” Daventry sighed “I suppose we'll have to do something. But if you ask me, it's all a mare's nest!”
“I devoutly hope it is,” said Dr. Graham.
A Caribbean Mystery A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery