A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Boarding the Orient Express at the Gare de Lyon, a young woman discovers the presence of the detective Parker Pyne on the train, who is there to solve a jewel robbery that hasn’t happened yet. She thinks she might know the intended victim…
Have You Got Everything You Want?
A Short Story
by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF
Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd.
Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2014
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Ebook Edition © JUNE 2014 ISBN 9780007560295
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‘Have You Got Everything You Want?’ was first published in the USA in Cosmopolitan, April 1933, and then as ‘On The Orient Express’ in Nash’s Pall Mall, June 1933.
‘Par ici, Madame.’
A tall woman in a mink coat followed her heavily encumbered porter along the platform of the Gare de Lyon.
She wore a dark-brown knitted hat pulled down over one eye and ear. The other side revealed a charming tip-tilted profile and little golden curls clustering over a shell-like ear. Typically an American, she was altogether a very charming-looking creature and more than one man turned to look at her as she walked past the high carriages of the waiting train.
Large plates were stuck in holders on the sides of the carriages.
PARIS-ATHENES. PARIS-BUCHAREST. PARIS-STAMBOUL.
At the last named the porter came to an abrupt halt. He undid the strap which held the suitcases together and they slipped heavily to the ground. ‘Voici, Madame.’
The wagon-lit conductor was standing beside the steps. He came forward, remarking, ‘Bonsoir, Madame,’ with an empressement perhaps due to the richness and perfection of the mink coat.
The woman handed him her sleeping-car ticket of flimsy paper.
‘Number Six,’ he said. ‘This way.’
He sprang nimbly into the train, the woman following him. As she hurried down the corridor after him, she nearly collided with a portly gentleman who was emerging from the compartment next to hers. She had a momentary glimpse of a large bland face with benevolent eyes.
The conductor displayed the compartment. He threw up the window and signalled to the porter. The lesser employee took in the baggage and put it up on the racks. The woman sat down.
Beside her on the seat she had placed a small scarlet case and her handbag. The carriage was hot, but it did not seem to occur to her to take off her coat. She stared out of the window with unseeing eyes. People were hurrying up and down the platform. There were sellers of news papers, of pillows, of chocolate, of fruit, of mineral waters. They held up their wares to her, but her eyes looked blankly through them. The Gare de Lyon had faded from her sight. On her face were sadness and anxiety.
‘If Madame will give me her passport?’
The words made no impression on her. The conductor, standing in the doorway, repeated them. Elsie Jeffries roused herself with a start.
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Your passport, Madame.’
She opened her bag, took out the passport and gave it to him.
‘That will be all right, Madame, I will attend to everything.’ A slight significant pause. ‘I shall be going with Madame as far as Stamboul.’
Elsie drew out a fifty-franc note and handed it to him. He accepted it in a business-like manner, and inquired when she would like her bed made up and whether she was taking dinner.
These matters settled, he withdrew and almost immediately the restaurant man came rushing down the corridor ringing his little bell frantically, and bawling out, ‘Premier service. Premier service.’
Elsie rose, divested herself of the heavy fur coat, took a brief glance at herself in the little mirror, and picking up her handbag and jewel case stepped out into the corridor. She had gone only a few steps when the restaurant man came rushing along on his return journey. To avoid him, Elsie stepped back for a moment into the doorway of the adjoining compartment, which was now empty. As the man passed and she prepared to continue her journey to the dining car, her glance fell idly on the label of a suitcase which was lying on the seat.
It was a stout pigskin case, somewhat worn. On the label were the words: ‘J. Parker Pyne, passenger to Stamboul.’ The suitcase itself bore the initials ‘P.P.’
A startled expression came over the girl’s face. She hesitated a moment in the corridor, then going back to her own compartment she picked up a copy of The Times which she had laid down on the table with some magazines and books.
She ran her eye down the advertisement columns on the front page, but what she was looking for was not there. A slight frown on her face, she made her way to the restaurant car.
The attendant allotted her a seat at a small table already tenanted by one person – the man with whom she had nearly collided in the corridor. In fact, the owner of the pigskin suitcase.
Elsie looked at him without appearing to do so. He seemed very bland, very benevolent, and in some way impossible to explain, delightfully reassuring. He behaved in reserved British fashion, and it was not until the fruit was on the table that he spoke.