Five Little Pigs
Агата Кристи

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‘This Miss Williams, was she the child’s governess, or Angela Warren’s?’

‘Angela’s. There was a nurse for the child—but she used to do a few little lessons with Miss Williams every day, I believe.’

‘Where was the child at the time?’

‘She’d gone with the nurse to pay a visit to her grandmother. A Lady Tressillian. A widow lady who’d lost her own two little girls and who was devoted to this kid.’

Poirot nodded. ‘I see.’

Hale continued:

‘As to the movements of the other people on the day of the murder, I can give them to you.

‘Miss Greer sat on the terrace near the library window after breakfast. There, as I say, she overheard the quarrel between Crale and his wife. After that she accompanied Crale down to the Battery and sat for him until lunch time with a couple of breaks to ease her muscles.

‘Philip Blake was in the house after breakfast, and overheard part of the quarrel. After Crale and Miss Greer went off, he read the paper until his brother telephoned him. Thereupon he went down to the shore to meet his brother. They walked together up the path again past the Battery garden. Miss Greer had just gone up to the house to fetch a pullover as she felt chilly and Mrs Crale was with her husband discussing arrangements for Angela’s departure to school.’

‘Ah, an amicable interview.’

‘Well, no, not amicable. Crale was fairly shouting at her, I understand. Annoyed at being bothered with domestic details. I suppose she wanted to get things straightened up if there was going to be a break.’

Poirot nodded.

Hale went on:

‘The two brothers exchanged a few words with Amyas Crale. Then Miss Greer reappeared and took up her position, and Crale picked up his brush again, obviously wanting to get rid of them. They took the hint and went up to the house. It was when they were at the Battery, by the way, that Amyas Crale complained all the beer down there was hot and his wife promised to send him down some iced beer.’

‘Aha!’

‘Exactly—Aha! Sweet as sugar she was about it. They went up to the house and sat on the terrace outside. Mrs Crale and Angela Warren brought them out beer there.

‘Later, Angela Warren went down to bathe and Philip Blake went with her.

‘Meredith Blake went down to a clearing with a seat just above the Battery garden. He could just see Miss Greer as she posed on the battlements and could hear her voice and Crale’s as they talked. He sat there and thought over the coniine business. He was still very worried about it and didn’t know quite what to do. Elsa Greer saw him and waved her hand to him. When the bell went for lunch he came down to the Battery and Elsa Greer and he went back to the house together. He noticed then that Crale was looking, as he put it, very queer, but he didn’t really think anything of it at the time. Crale was the kind of man who is never ill—and so one didn’t imagine he would be. On the other hand, he did have moods of fury and despondency according as to whether his painting was not going as he liked it. On those occasions one left him alone and said as little as possible to him. That’s what these two did on this occasion.

‘As to the others, the servants were busy with housework and cooking lunch. Miss Williams was in the schoolroom part of the morning correcting some exercise books. Afterwards she took some household mending to the terrace. Angela Warren spent most of the morning wandering about the garden, climbing trees and eating things—you know what a girl of fifteen is! Plums, sour apples, hard pears, etc. After she came back to the house and, as I say, went down with Philip Blake to the beach and had a bathe before lunch.’

Superintendent Hale paused:

‘Now then,’ he said belligerently, ‘do you find anything phoney about that?’

Poirot said: ‘Nothing at all.’

‘Well, then!’

The two words expressed volumes.

‘But all the same,’ said Hercule Poirot. ‘I am going to satisfy myself. I—’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I am going to visit these five people—and from each one I am going to get his or her own story.’

Superintendent Hale sighed with a deep melancholy.

He said:

‘Man, you’re nuts! None of their stories are going to agree! Don’t you grasp that elementary fact? No two people remember a thing in the same order anyway. And after all this time! Why, you’ll hear five accounts of five separate murders!’

‘That,’ said Poirot, ‘is what I am counting upon. It will be very instructive.’

Chapter 6 (#ulink_352c5f83-66fd-5219-af82-f20a514d57f5)

This Little Pig Went to Market… (#ulink_352c5f83-66fd-5219-af82-f20a514d57f5)


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