A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Inspector Japp summons Poirot to a London house where Guy Fawkes’ Night fireworks appear to have drowned out the noise of a young widow shooting herself through her left temple. But the pistol is in her right hand and the police are convinced that this must be a case of murder…
Murder in the Mews
A Hercule Poirot 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 9780007560172
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‘Murder in the Mews’ was first published in the USA in Redbook Magazine, September/October 1936, then as ‘Mystery of the Dressing Case’ in Woman’s Journal, December 1936.
‘Penny for the guy, sir?’
A small boy with a grimy face grinned ingratiatingly.
‘Certainly not!’ said Chief Inspector Japp. ‘And, look here, my lad –’
A short homily followed. The dismayed urchin beat a precipitate retreat, remarking briefly and succinctly to his youthful friends:
‘Blimey, if it ain’t a cop all togged up!’
The band took to its heels, chanting the incantation:
The fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
The chief inspector’s companion, a small, elderly man with an egg-shaped head and large, military-looking moustaches, was smiling to himself.
‘Très bien, Japp,’ he observed. ‘You preach the sermon very well! I congratulate you!’
‘Rank excuse for begging, that’s what Guy Fawkes’ Day is!’ said Japp.
‘An interesting survival,’ mused Hercule Poirot. ‘The fireworks go up – crack – crack – long after the man they commemorate and his deed are forgotten.’
The Scotland Yard man agreed.
‘Don’t suppose many of those kids really know who Guy Fawkes was.’
‘And soon, doubtless, there will be confusion of thought. Is it in honour or in execration that on the fifth of November the feu d’artifice are sent up? To blow up an English Parliament, was it a sin or a noble deed?’
‘Some people would say undoubtedly the latter.’
Turning off the main road, the two men passed into the comparative quiet of a mews. They had been dining together and were now taking a short cut to Hercule Poirot’s flat.
As they walked along the sound of squibs was still heard periodically. An occasional shower of golden rain illuminated the sky.
‘Good night for a murder,’ remarked Japp with professional interest. ‘Nobody would hear a shot, for instance, on a night like this.’
‘It has always seemed odd to me that more criminals do not take advantage of the fact,’ said Hercule Poirot.
‘Do you know, Poirot, I almost wish sometimes that you would commit a murder.’