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Причуда мертвеца / Dead Man's Folly. Книга для чтения на английском языке

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Причуда мертвеца / Dead Man's Folly. Книга для чтения на английском языке
Agatha Christie

Чтение в оригинале (Каро)Detective story
Перед вами одна из самых запутанных историй от королевы классического детектива Агаты Кристи. Гениальный сыщик Эркюль Пуаро сталкивается с непростой задачей. На веселой сельской ярмарке происходит предумышленное убийство, а одна из героинь пропадает без вести. Дело осложняется тем, что никто не понимает, жертва она или преступница. Пуаро неоднократно сбивается в своем расследовании, но каждый раз нить рассуждений приводит его к загадочному летнему домику под названием «Причуда».

Неадаптированный текст романа на языке оригинала снабжен комментариями и словарем.

Agatha Christie

"Dead Man’s Folly"

To Peggy and Humphrey Trevelyan

Agatha Christie


It was Miss Lemon, Poirot’s efficient secretary, who took the telephone call.

Laying aside her shorthand notebook, she raised the receiver and said without emphasis, ‘Trafalgar 8137.’

Hercule Poirot leaned back in his upright chair and closed his eyes. His fingers beat a meditative soft tattoo[1 - to beat a tattoo – барабанить, отбивать такт] on the edge of the table. In his head he continued to compose the polished periods of the letter he had been dictating.

Placing her hand over the receiver, Miss Lemon asked in a low voice:

‘Will you accept a personal call from Nassecombe, Devon?’

Poirot frowned. The place meant nothing to him.

‘The name of the caller?’ he demanded cautiously.

Miss Lemon spoke into the mouthpiece.

‘Air-raid?’ she asked doubtingly. ‘Oh, yes—what was the last name again?’

Once more she turned to Hercule Poirot.

‘Mrs Ariadne Oliver.’

Hercule Poirot’s eyebrows shot up. A memory rose in his mind: windswept grey hair… an eagle profile…

He rose and replaced Miss Lemon at the telephone.

‘Hercule Poirot speaks,’ he announced grandiloquently.

‘Is that Mr Hercules Porrot speaking personally?’ the suspicious voice of the telephone operator demanded.

Poirot assured her that that was the case.

‘You’re through to Mr Porrot,’ said the voice.

Its thin reedy accents were replaced by a magnificent booming contralto which caused Poirot hastily to shift the receiver a couple of inches farther from his ear.

‘M. Poirot, is that really you?’ demanded Mrs Oliver.

‘Myself in person, Madame.’

‘This is Mrs Oliver. I don’t know if you’ll remember me—’

‘But of course I remember you, Madame. Who could forget you?’

‘Well, people do sometimes,’ said Mrs Oliver. ‘Quite often, in fact. I don’t think that I’ve got a very distinctive personality. Or perhaps it’s because I’m always doing different things to my hair. But all that’s neither here nor there. I hope I’m not interrupting you when you’re frightfully busy?’

‘No, no, you do not derange me in the least.’

‘Good gracious—I’m sure I don’t want to drive you out of your mind. The fact is, I need you.’

‘Need me?’

‘Yes, at once. Can you take an aeroplane?’

‘I do not take aeroplanes. They make me sick.’

‘They do me, too. Anyway, I don’t suppose it would be any quicker than the train really, because I think the only airport near here is Exeter which is miles away. So come by train. Twelve o’clock from Paddington to Nassecombe. You can do it nicely. You’ve got three-quarters of an hour if my watch is right—though it isn’t usually.’

‘But where are you, Madame? What is all this about?’

‘Nasse House, Nassecombe. A car or taxi will meet you at the station at Nassecombe.’

‘But why do you need me? What is all this about?’ Poirot repeated frantically.

‘Telephones are in such awkward places,’ said Mrs Oliver. ‘This one’s in the hall… People passing through and talking… I can’t really hear. But I’m expecting you. Everybody will be so thrilled. Goodbye.’

There was a sharp click as the receiver was replaced. The line hummed gently.

With a baffled air of bewilderment[2 - with a baffled air of bewilderment — с выражением замешательства и недоумения на лице], Poirot put back the receiver and murmured something under his breath. Miss Lemon sat with her pencil poised, incurious. She repeated in muted tones the final phrase of dictation before the interruption.

‘—allow me to assure you, my dear sir, that the hypothesis you have advanced…’

Poirot waved aside the advancement of the hypothesis.

‘That was Mrs Oliver,’ he said. ‘Ariadne Oliver, the detective novelist. You may have read…’ But he stopped, remembering that Miss Lemon only read improving books and regarded such frivolities as fictional crime with contempt. ‘She wants me to go down to Devonshire today, at once, in’—he glanced at the clock—‘thirty-five minutes.’

Miss Lemon raised disapproving eyebrows.

‘That will be running it rather fine,’ she said. ‘For what reason?’

‘You may well ask! She did not tell me.’

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