S.O.S: An Agatha Christie Short Story
S.O.S: An Agatha Christie Short Story
A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Broken down in the middle of nowhere Mortimer Cleveland, a psychic researcher, seeks shelter in an isolated home. From the moment he steps foot into the house he is struck by a sense of tension. Finding ‘SOS’ scratched into the dust of a table he wonders who wrote it and is compelled to answer the call for help…
A Short Story
by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)
Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd.
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Ebook Edition © MAY 2013 ISBN: 9780007526543
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‘S.O.S.’ was first published in Grand Magazine, February 1926.
‘Ah!’ said Mr Dinsmead appreciatively.
He stepped back and surveyed the round table with approval. The firelight gleamed on the coarse white tablecloth, the knives and forks, and the other table appointments.
‘Is – is everything ready?’ asked Mrs Dinsmead hesitatingly. She was a little faded woman, with a colourless face, meagre hair scraped back from her forehead, and a perpetually nervous manner.
‘Everything’s ready,’ said her husband with a kind of ferocious geniality.
He was a big man, with stooping shoulders, and a broad red face. He had little pig’s eyes that twinkled under his bushy brows, and a big jowl devoid of hair.
‘Lemonade?’ suggested Mrs Dinsmead, almost in a whisper.
Her husband shook his head.
‘Tea. Much better in every way. Look at the weather, streaming and blowing. A nice cup of hot tea is what’s needed for supper on an evening like this.’
He winked facetiously, then fell to surveying the table again.
‘A good dish of eggs, cold corned beef, and bread and cheese. That’s my order for supper. So come along and get it ready, Mother. Charlotte’s in the kitchen waiting to give you a hand.’
Mrs Dinsmead rose, carefully winding up the ball of her knitting.
‘She’s grown a very good-looking girl,’ she murmured. ‘Sweetly pretty, I say.’
‘Ah!’ said Mr Dinsmead. ‘The mortal image of her Ma! So go along with you, and don’t let’s waste any more time.’
He strolled about the room humming to himself for a minute or two. Once he approached the window and looked out.
‘Wild weather,’ he murmured to himself. ‘Not much likelihood of our having visitors tonight.’
Then he too left the room.
About ten minutes later Mrs Dinsmead entered bearing a dish of fried eggs. Her two daughters followed, bringing in the rest of the provisions. Mr Dinsmead and his son Johnnie brought up the rear. The former seated himself at the head of the table.
‘And for what we are to receive, etcetera,’ he remarked humorously. ‘And blessings on the man who first thought of tinned foods. What would we do, I should like to know, miles from anywhere, if we hadn’t a tin now and then to fall back upon when the butcher forgets his weekly call?’
He proceeded to carve corned beef dexterously.
‘I wonder who ever thought of building a house like this, miles from anywhere,’ said his daughter Magdalen pettishly. ‘We never see a soul.’
‘No,’ said her father. ‘Never a soul.’
‘I can’t think what made you take it, Father,’ said Charlotte.
‘Can’t you, my girl? Well, I had my reasons – I had my reasons.’
His eyes sought his wife’s furtively, but she frowned.
‘And haunted too,’ said Charlotte. ‘I wouldn’t sleep alone here for anything.’
‘Pack of nonsense,’ said her father. ‘Never seen anything, have you? Come now.’
‘Not seen anything perhaps, but –’
Charlotte did not reply, but she shivered a little. A great surge of rain came driving against the window-pane, and Mrs Dinsmead dropped a spoon with a tinkle on the tray.