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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

8. Fresh Suspicions
There was a moment's stupefied silence. Japp, who was the least surprised of
any of us, was the first to speak.
"My word," he cried, "you're the goods! And no mistake, Mr. Poirot! These
witnesses of yours are all right, I suppose?"
"Voila! I have prepared a list of them--names and addresses. You must see
them, of course. But you will find it all right."
"I'm sure of that." Japp lowered his voice. "I'm much obliged to you. A pretty
mare's nest arresting him would have been." He turned to Inglethorp. "But, if
you'll excuse me, sir, why couldn't you say all this at the inquest?"
"I will tell you why," interrupted Poirot. "There was a certain rumour----"
"A most malicious and utterly untrue one," interrupted Alfred Inglethorp in an
agitated voice.
"And Mr. Inglethorp was anxious to have no scandal revived just at present. Am I
"Quite right." Inglethorp nodded. "With my poor Emily not yet buried, can you
wonder I was anxious that no more lying rumours should be started."
"Between you and me, sir," remarked Japp, "I'd sooner have any amount of
rumours than be arrested for murder. And I venture to think your poor lady would
have felt the same. And, if it hadn't been for Mr. Poirot here, arrested you would
have been, as sure as eggs is eggs!"
"I was foolish, no doubt," murmured Inglethorp. "But you do not know, inspector,
how I have been persecuted and maligned." And he shot a baleful glance at
Evelyn Howard.
"Now, sir," said Japp, turning briskly to John, "I should like to see the lady's
bedroom, please, and after that I'll have a little chat with the servants. Don't you
bother about anything. Mr. Poirot, here, will show me the way."
As they all went out of the room, Poirot turned and made me a sign to follow him
upstairs. There he caught me by the arm, and drew me aside.
"Quick, go to the other wing. Stand there--just this side of the baize door. Do not
move till I come." Then, turning rapidly, he rejoined the two detectives.
I followed his instructions, taking up my position by the baize door, and
wondering what on earth lay behind the request. Why was I to stand in this
particular spot on guard? I looked thoughtfully down the corridor in front of me.
An idea struck me. With the exception of Cynthia Murdoch's, every one's room
was in this left wing. Had that anything to do with it? Was I to report who came or
went? I stood faithfully at my post. The minutes passed. Nobody came. Nothing
It must have been quite twenty minutes before Poirot rejoined me.
"You have not stirred?"
"No, I've stuck here like a rock. Nothing's happened."
"Ah!" Was he pleased, or disappointed? "You've seen nothing at all?"
"But you have probably heard something? A big bump--eh, mon ami?"