The Veiled Lady: A Hercule Poirot Short Story
Агата Кристи

The Veiled Lady: A Hercule Poirot Short Story
Agatha Christie

A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Frustrated with a lack of challenging cases, Poirot is given an opportunity to flirt with the other side of the law. A young lady, soon to be married, is being blackmailed and pleads for his help. Poirot employs some dubious methods to bring the blackmailer to justice…

The Veiled Lady

A Short Story

by Agatha Christie

Copyright (#ulink_b1f2e6dd-e397-50de-b2ce-adfc3a5dcd1f)

Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

Copyright © 1999 Agatha Christie Ltd.

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Ebook Edition © MAY 2013 ISBN: 9780007526437

Version: 2017-04-17

Contents

Cover (#ub2d30538-5b0d-5d8c-9e40-99d2e9e02258)

Title Page (#uecacc5b3-e4ec-5ed6-85aa-6c8626f90ed1)

Copyright

The Veiled Lady

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The Veiled Lady (#ulink_d27045a3-0555-5898-8143-ceae81c70f1e)

‘The Veiled Lady’ was first published as ‘The Case of the Veiled Lady’ in The Sketch, 3 October 1923.

I had noticed that for some time Poirot had been growing increasingly dissatisfied and restless. We had had no interesting cases of late, nothing on which my little friend could exercise his keen wits and remarkable powers of deduction. This morning he flung down the newspaper with an impatient ‘Tchah!’ – a favourite exclamation of his which sounded exactly like a cat sneezing.

‘They fear me, Hastings; the criminals of your England they fear me! When the cat is there, the little mice, they come no more to the cheese!’

‘I don’t suppose the greater part of them even know of your existence,’ I said, laughing.

Poirot looked at me reproachfully. He always imagines that the whole world is thinking and talking of Hercule Poirot. He had certainly made a name for himself in London, but I could hardly believe that his existence struck terror into the criminal world.

‘What about that daylight robbery of jewels in Bond Street the other day?’ I asked.

‘A neat coup,’ said Poirot approvingly, ‘though not in my line. Pas de finesse, seulement de l’audace! A man with a loaded cane smashes the plate-glass window of a jeweller’s shop and grabs a number of precious stones. Worthy citizens immediately seize him; a policeman arrives. He is caught red-handed with the jewels on him. He is marched off to the police, and then it is discovered that the stones are paste. He has passed the real ones to a confederate – one of the aforementioned worthy citizens. He will go to prison – true; but when he comes out, there will be a nice little fortune awaiting him. Yes, not badly imagined. But I could do better than that. Sometimes, Hastings, I regret that I am of such a moral disposition. To work against the law, it would be pleasing, for a change.’

‘Cheer up, Poirot; you know you are unique in your own line.’

‘But what is there on hand in my own line?’

I picked up the paper.

‘Here’s an Englishman mysteriously done to death in Holland,’ I said.

‘They always say that – and later they find that he ate the tinned fish and that his death is perfectly natural.’

‘Well, if you’re determined to grouse!’

‘Tiens!’ said Poirot, who had strolled across to the window. ‘Here in the street is what they call in novels a “heavily veiled lady”. She mounts the steps; she rings the bell – she comes to consult us. Here is a possibility of something interesting. When one is as young and pretty as that one, one does not veil the face except for a big affair.’

A minute later our visitor was ushered in. As Poirot had said, she was indeed heavily veiled. It was impossible to distinguish her features until she raised her veil of black Spanish lace. Then I saw that Poirot’s intuition had been right; the lady was extremely pretty, with fair hair and blue eyes. From the costly simplicity of her attire, I deduced at once that she belonged to the upper strata of society.

‘Monsieur Poirot,’ said the lady in a soft, musical voice, ‘I am in great trouble. I can hardly believe that you can help me, but I have heard such wonderful things of you that I come literally as the last hope to beg you to do the impossible.’

‘The impossible, it pleases me always,’ said Poirot. ‘Continue, I beg of you, mademoiselle.’

Our fair guest hesitated.

‘But you must be frank,’ added Poirot. ‘You must not leave me in the dark on any point.’


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