The Market Basing Mystery: A Hercule Poirot Short Story
Агата Кристи

The Market Basing Mystery: A Hercule Poirot Short Story
Agatha Christie

A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Holidaying in the countryside and enjoying a quiet breakfast Hastings, Inspector Japp and Poirot are disturbed by a local police officer who needs their help to solve a case. A man has been found shot through the head in a locked room with suicide well and truly ruled out how did he die?

The Market Basing Mystery

A Short Story

by Agatha Christie

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Copyright © 1999 Agatha Christie Ltd.

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Ebook Edition © MAY 2013 ISBN: 9780007526451

Version: 2017-04-17


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The Market Basing Mystery

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The Market Basing Mystery (#ulink_50537bc1-94cb-593a-b68a-486776ceb05b)

‘The Market Basing Mystery’ was first published in The Sketch, 17 October 1923.

‘After all, there’s nothing like the country, is there?’ said Inspector Japp, breathing in heavily through his nose and out through his mouth in the most approved fashion.

Poirot and I applauded the sentiment heartily. It had been the Scotland Yard inspector’s idea that we should all go for the weekend to the little country town of Market Basing. When off duty, Japp was an ardent botanist, and discoursed upon minute flowers possessed of unbelievably lengthy Latin names (somewhat strangely pronounced) with an enthusiasm even greater than that he gave to his cases.

‘Nobody knows us, and we know nobody,’ explained Japp. ‘That’s the idea.’

This was not to prove quite the case, however, for the local constable happened to have been transferred from a village fifteen miles away where a case of arsenical poisoning had brought him into contact with the Scotland Yard man. However, his delighted recognition of the great man only enhanced Japp’s sense of well-being, and as we sat down to breakfast on Sunday morning in the parlour of the village inn, with the sun shining, and tendrils of honeysuckle thrusting themselves in at the window, we were all in the best of spirits. The bacon and eggs were excellent, the coffee not so good, but passable and boiling hot.

‘This is the life,’ said Japp. ‘When I retire, I shall have a little place in the country. Far from crime, like this!’

‘Le crime, il est partout,’ remarked Poirot, helping himself to a neat square of bread, and frowning at a sparrow which had balanced itself impertinently on the windowsill.

I quoted lightly:

‘That rabbit has a pleasant face,

His private life is a disgrace

I really could not tell to you

The awful things that rabbits do.’

‘Lord,’ said Japp, stretching himself backward, ‘I believe I could manage another egg, and perhaps a rasher or two of bacon. What do you say, Captain?’

‘I’m with you,’ I returned heartily. ‘What about you, Poirot?’

Poirot shook his head.

‘One must not so replenish the stomach that the brain refuses to function,’ he remarked.

‘I’ll risk replenishing the stomach a bit more,’ laughed Japp. ‘I take a large size in stomachs; and by the way, you’re getting stout yourself, M. Poirot. Here, miss, eggs and bacon twice.’

At that moment, however, an imposing form blocked the doorway. It was Constable Pollard.

‘I hope you’ll excuse me troubling the inspector, gentlemen, but I’d be glad of his advice.’

‘I’m on holiday,’ said Japp hastily. ‘No work for me. What is the case?’

‘Gentleman up at Leigh House – shot himself – through the head.’

‘Well, they will do it,’ said Japp prosaically. ‘Debt, or a woman, I suppose. Sorry I can’t help you, Pollard.’

‘The point is,’ said the constable, ‘that he can’t have shot himself. Leastways, that’s what Dr Giles says.’

Japp put down his cup.

‘Can’t have shot himself? What do you mean?’

‘That’s what Dr Giles says,’ repeated Pollard. ‘He says it’s plumb impossible. He’s puzzled to death, the door being locked on the inside and the windows bolted; but he sticks to it that the man couldn’t have committed suicide.’

That settled it. The further supply of bacon and eggs was waved aside, and a few minutes later we were all walking as fast as we could in the direction of Leigh House, Japp eagerly questioning the constable.

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