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Агата Кристи
Finessing the King: An Agatha Christie Short Story


She picked up the Daily Leader again and read it out.

‘I should go three hearts. 12 tricks. Ace of Spades. Necessary to finesse the King.’

‘Rather an expensive way of learning bridge,’ was Tommy’s comment.

‘Don’t be an ass. That’s nothing to do with bridge. You see, I was lunching with a girl yesterday at the Ace of Spades. It’s a queer little underground den in Chelsea, and she told me that it’s quite the fashion at these big shows to trundle round there in the course of the evening for bacon and eggs and Welsh rarebits – Bohemian sort of stuff. It’s got screened-off booths all around it. Pretty hot place, I should say.’

‘And your idea is –?’

‘Three hearts stands for the Three Arts Ball, tomorrow night, 12 tricks is twelve o’clock, and the Ace of Spades is the Ace of Spades.’

‘And what about its being necessary to finesse the King?’

‘Well, that’s what I thought we’d find out.’

‘I shouldn’t wonder if you weren’t right, Tuppence,’ said Tommy magnanimously. ‘But I don’t quite see why you want to butt in upon other people’s love affairs.’

‘I shan’t butt in. What I’m proposing is an interesting experiment in detective work. We need practice.’

‘Business is certainly not too brisk,’ agreed Tommy. ‘All the same, Tuppence, what you want is to go to the Three Arts Ball and dance! Talk of red herrings.’

Tuppence laughed shamelessly.

‘Be a sport, Tommy. Try and forget you’re thirty-two and have got one grey hair in your left eyebrow.’

‘I was always weak where women were concerned,’ murmured her husband. ‘Have I got to make an ass of myself in fancy dress?’

‘Of course, but you can leave that to me. I’ve got a splendid idea.’


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