Click here to Download The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book by Agatha Christie English having PDF Size 1.2 MB and No of Pages 268.
It was just a few minutes after nine when I reached home once more. I opened the front door with my latchkey, and purposely delayed a few moments in the hall, hanging up my hat and the light overcoat that I had deemed a wise precaution against the chill of an early autumn morning. To tell the truth, I was considerably upset and worried.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book by Agatha Christie
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I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead. From the dining room on my left there came the rattle of teacups and the short, dry cough of my sister Caroline. “Is that you, James?” she called.
An unnecessary question, since who else could it be? To tell the truth, it was precisely my sister Caroline who was the cause of my few minutes’ delay. The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr. Kipling tells us, is: “Go and find out.” If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant.
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One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home. I don’t know how she manages it, but there it is. I suspect that the servants and the tradesmen constitute her Intelligence Corps. When she goes out, it is not to gather in information, but to spread it.
At that, too, she is amazingly expert. It was really this last named trait of hers which was causing me these pangs of indecision. Whatever I told Caroline now concerning the demise of Mrs. Ferrars would be common knowledge all over the village within the space of an hour and a half. As a professional man, I naturally aim at discretion.
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Therefore I have got into the habit of continually withholding all information possible from my sister. She usually finds out just the same, but I have the moral satisfaction of knowing that I am in no way to blame. “Ralph?” he said vaguely. “Oh! no, it’s not Ralph. Ralph’s in London—Damn! Here’s old Miss Gannett coming. I don’t want to have to talk to her about this ghastly business.
See you tonight, Sheppard. Seven-thirty.” I nodded, and he hurried away, leaving me wondering. Ralph in London? But he had certainly been in King’s Abbot the preceding afternoon. He must have gone back to town last night or early this morning, and yet Ackroyd’s manner had conveyed quite a different impression.
He had spoken as though Ralph had not been near the place for months. I had no time to puzzle the matter out further. Miss Gannett was upon me, thirsting for information. Miss Gannett has all the characteristics of my sister Caroline, but she lacks that unerring aim in jumping to conclusions which lends a touch of greatness to Caroline’s manoeuvres. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book
Miss Gannett was breathless and interrogatory. Wasn’t it sad about poor dear Mrs. Ferrars? A lot of people were saying she had been a confirmed drug-taker for years. So wicked the way people went about saying things. And yet, the worst of it was, there was usually a grain of truth somewhere in these wild statements.
No smoke without fire! They were saying too that Mr. Ackroyd had found out about it, and had broken off the engagement— because there was an engagement. She, Miss Gannett, had proof positive of that. Of course I must know all about it— doctors always did—but they never tell? And all this with a sharp beady eye on me to see how I reacted to these suggestions.
Fortunately, long association with Caroline has led me to preserve an impassive countenance, and to be ready with small noncommittal remarks. I proposed to make my way to the Three Boars. It seemed likely that Ralph Paton would have returned there by now. I knew Ralph very well—better, perhaps, than anyone else in King’s Abbot, for I had known his mother before him. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book
And therefore I understood much in him that puzzled others. He was, to a certain extent, the victim of heredity. He had not inherited his mother’s fatal propensity for drink, but nevertheless he had in him a strain of weakness. As my new friend of this morning had declared, he was extraordinarily handsome.
Just on six feet, perfectly proportioned, with the easy grace of an athlete, he was dark, like his mother, with a handsome, sunburnt face always ready to break into a smile. Ralph Paton was of those born to charm easily and without effort. He was self-indulgent and extravagant, with no veneration for anything on earth, but he was lovable nevertheless, and his friends were all devoted to him.
Could I do anything with the boy? I thought I could. On inquiry at the Three Boars I found that Captain Paton had just come in. I went up to his room and entered unannounced. For a moment, remembering what I had heard and seen, I was doubtful of my reception, but I need have had no misgivings. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book
“Why, it’s Sheppard! Glad to see you.” He came forward to meet me, hand outstretched, a sunny smile lighting up his face. “The one person I am glad to see in this infernal place.” I raised my eyebrows. “What’s the place been doing?” He gave a vexed laugh. “It’s a long story. Things haven’t been going well with me, doctor. But have a drink, won’t you?”
“Thanks,” I said, “I will.” He pressed the bell, then coming back threw himself into a chair. Coals on the fire? No, that was not the kind of noise at all. A drawer of a bureau pushed in? No, not that. Then my eye was caught by what, I believe, is called a silver table, the lid of which lifts, and through the glass of which you can see the contents. I crossed over to it, studying the contents.
There were one or two pieces of old silver, a baby shoe belonging to King Charles the First, some Chinese jade figures, and quite a number of African implements and curios. Wanting to examine one of the jade figures more closely, I lifted the lid. It slipped through my fingers and fell. At once I recognized the sound I had heard. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book
It was this same table lid being shut down gently and carefully. I repeated the action once or twice for my own satisfaction. Then I lifted the lid to scrutinize the contents more closely. I was still bending over the open silver table when Flora Ackroyd came into the room. Quite a lot of people do not like Flora Ackroyd, but nobody can help admiring her.
And to her friends she can be very charming. The first thing that strikes you about her is her extraordinary fairness. She has the real Scandinavian pale gold hair. Her eyes are blue—blue as the waters of a Norwegian fiord, and her skin is cream and roses. She has square, boyish shoulders and slight hips.
And to a jaded medical man it is very refreshing to come across such perfect health. A simple straightforward English girl—I may be oldfashioned, but I think the genuine article takes a lot of beating. Flora joined me by the silver table, and expressed heretical doubts as to King Charles I ever having worn the baby shoe. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book Download
“And anyway,” continued Miss Flora, “all this making a fuss about things because someone wore or used them seems to me all nonsense. They’re not wearing or using them now. That pen that George Eliot wrote The Mill on the Floss with—that sort of thing—well, it’s only just a pen after all. If you’re really keen on George Eliot, why not get The Mill on the Floss in a cheap edition and read it.”
I saw the repulsion, the horror, in Ackroyd’s face. So Mrs. Ferrars must have seen it. Ackroyd’s is not the type of the great lover who can forgive all for love’s sake. He is fundamentally a good citizen. All that was sound and wholesome and law-abiding in him must have turned from her utterly in that moment of revelation.
“Yes,” he went on, in a low, monotonous voice, “she confessed everything. It seems that there is one person who has known all along—who has been blackmailing her for huge sums. It was the strain of that that drove her nearly mad.” “Who was the man?” Suddenly before my eyes there arose the picture of Ralph Paton and Mrs. Ferrars side by side. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book Download
Their heads so close together. I felt a momentary throb of anxiety. Supposing— oh! but surely that was impossible. I remembered the frankness of Ralph’s greeting that very afternoon. Absurd! “She wouldn’t tell me his name,” said Ackroyd slowly. “As a matter of fact, she didn’t actually say that it was a man. But of course—” “Of course,” I agreed. “It must have been a man.
And you’ve no suspicion at all?” For answer Ackroyd groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “It can’t be,” he said. “I’m mad even to think of such a thing. No, I won’t even admit to you the wild suspicion that crossed my mind. I’ll tell you this much, though. Something she said made me think that the person in question might be actually among my household—but that can’t be so.
I must have misunderstood her.” The letter had been brought in at twenty minutes to nine. It was just on ten minutes to nine when I left him, the letter still unread. I hesitated with my hand on the door handle, looking back and wondering if there was anything I had left undone. I could think of nothing. With a shake of the head I passed out and closed the door behind me. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book Download
I was startled by seeing the figure of Parker close at hand. He looked embarrassed, and it occurred to me that he might have been listening at the door. What a fat, smug, oily face the man had, and surely there was something decidedly shifty in his eye. “Mr. Ackroyd particularly does not want to be disturbed,” I said coldly.
“He told me to tell you so.” “Quite so, sir. I—I fancied I heard the bell ring.” This was such a palpable untruth that I did not trouble to reply. Preceding me to the hall, Parker helped me on with my overcoat, and I stepped out into the night. The moon was overcast, and every thing seemed very dark and still.
The village church clock chimed nine o’clock as I passed through the lodge gates. I turned to the left towards the village, and almost cannoned into a man coming in the opposite direction. “This the way to Fernly Park, mister?” asked the stranger in a hoarse voice. I looked at him. He was wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes, and his coat collar turned up. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book Free
I could see little or nothing of his face, but he seemed a young fellow. The voice was rough and uneducated. “These are the lodge gates here,” I said. “Thank you, mister.” He paused, and then added, quite unnecessarily, “I’m a stranger in these parts, you see.” He went on, passing through the gates as I turned to look after him.
The odd thing was that his voice reminded me of someone’s voice that I knew, but whose it was I could not think. “I myself closed and bolted it earlier in the evening at Mr. Ackroyd’s request.” The inspector strode across to it and threw back the curtains. “Well, it’s open now, anyway,” he remarked. True enough, the window was open, the lower sash being raised to its fullest extent.
The inspector produced a pocket torch and flashed it along the sill outside. “This is the way he went all right,” he remarked, “and got in. See here.” In the light of the powerful torch, several clearly defined footmarks could be seen. They seemed to be those of shoes with rubber studs in the soles. One particularly clear one pointed inwards, another, slightly overlapping it, pointed outwards. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd PDF Book Free
“Plain as a pikestaff,” said the inspector. “Any valuables missing?” Geoffrey Raymond shook his head. “Not so far that we can discover. Mr. Ackroyd never kept anything of particular value in this room.” “H’m,” said the inspector. “Man found an open window. Climbed in, saw Mr. Ackroyd sitting there—maybe he’d fallen asleep.
Man stabbed him from behind, then lost his nerve and made off. But he’s left his tracks pretty clearly. We ought to get hold of him without much difficulty. No suspicious strangers been hanging about anywhere?”