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Absent in the Spring
Агата Кристи

Absent in the Spring
Agatha Christie

A striking novel of truth and soul-searching.Returning from a visit to her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself unexpectedly alone and stranded in an isolated rest house by flooding of the railway tracks.Looking back over the years, Joan painfully re-examines her attitudes, relationships and actions and becomes increasingly uneasy about the person who is revealed to her…Famous for her ingenious crime books and plays, Agatha Christie also wrote about crimes of the heart, six bittersweet and very personal novels, as compelling and memorable as the best of her work.

Copyright (#u624afea6-250e-55a7-b1b7-c0f166fb8c7b)

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain by Collins 1944

Copyright © 1944 Rosalind Hicks Charitable Trust. All rights reserved.

www.agathachristie.com (http://www.agathachristie.com)

Cover by ninataradesign.com (http://www.ninataradesign.com) © HarperCollins 2017

Agatha Christie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008131432

Ebook Edition © June 2017 ISBN: 9780007534982

Version: 2018-04-11

Dedication (#u624afea6-250e-55a7-b1b7-c0f166fb8c7b)

From you have I been absent in the Spring …

Contents

Cover (#u794e7b95-71f8-53de-a979-9cb9cb2fa746)

Title Page (#ub2433c63-4480-5c76-98c2-cd8160be83ad)

Copyright

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Epilogue

Also by Agatha Christie

About the Publisher

CHAPTER 1 (#u624afea6-250e-55a7-b1b7-c0f166fb8c7b)

Joan Scudamore screwed up her eyes as she peered across the dimness of the rest house dining-room. She was slightly short-sighted.

Surely that’s—no it isn’t—I believe it is. Blanche Haggard.

Extraordinary—right out in the wilds—to come across an old school friend whom she hadn’t seen for—oh quite fifteen years.

At first, Joan was delighted by the discovery. She was by nature a sociable woman, always pleased to run across friends and acquaintances.

She thought to herself, But, poor dear, how dreadfully she’s changed. She looks years older. Literally years. After all, she can’t be more than—what, forty-eight?

It was a natural sequence after that to glance at her own appearance in the mirror that happened, most conveniently, to hang just beside the table. What she saw there put her in an even better humour.

Really, thought Joan Scudamore, I’ve worn very well.

She saw a slender, middle-aged woman with a singularly unlined face, brown hair hardly touched with grey, pleasant blue eyes and a cheerful smiling mouth. The woman was dressed in a neat, cool travelling coat and skirt and carried a rather large bag containing the necessities of travel.

Joan Scudamore was travelling back from Baghdad to London by the overland route. She had come up by the train from Baghdad last night. She was to sleep in the railway rest house tonight and go on by car tomorrow morning.
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