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CHAPTER I FACED WITH REALITY On that particular November evening, Viner, a young gentleman of means and leisure, who lived in a comfortable old house in Markendale Square, Bayswater, in company with his maiden aunt Miss Bethia Penkridge, had spent his after-dinner hours in a fashion which had become a habit. Miss Penkridge, a model housekeeper and an essentially worthy woman, whose whole day was given to supervising somebody or something, had... more...

CHAPTER I A BLOOD-RED SKY It is worthy of note that the most remarkable criminal case in which the famous French detective, Paul Coquenil, was ever engaged, a case of more baffling mystery than the Palais Royal diamond robbery and of far greater peril to him than the Marseilles trunk drama—in short, a case that ranks with the most important ones of modern police history—would never have been undertaken by Coquenil (and in that event... more...

THE COTTAGE "What IS your name?" "Susan Grant, Miss Loach." "Call me ma'am. I am Miss Loach only to my equals. Your age?" "Twenty-five, ma'am." "Do you know your work as parlor-maid thoroughly?" "Yes, ma'am. I was two years in one place and six months in another, ma'am. Here are my characters from both places, ma'am." As the girl spoke she laid two papers before the sharp old lady who questioned her. But Miss Loach did not look at them... more...

CHAPTER I On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge. He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, five-storied house and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady who provided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on the floor below,... more...

Ruth Morton finished her cup of coffee, brushed a microscopic crumb from her embroidered silk kimono, pushed back her loosely arranged brown hair, and resumed the task of opening her mail. It was in truth a task, and one that consumed an inordinate amount of her valuable time. And her time was extremely valuable. Computed upon the basis of her weekly salary of one thousand dollars, it figured out just $142.85 per day, or very nearly $6 per hour,... more...


CHAPTER I. THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD. "TOMMY, old thing!" "Tuppence, old bean!" The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so. The adjective "old" was misleading. Their united ages would certainly not have totalled forty-five. "Not seen you for simply centuries," continued the young man. "Where are you off to? Come and chew a bun with me. We're getting a bit unpopular... more...

CHAPTER I The Water Nymphs Does an evil deed cast a shadow in advance? Does premeditated crime spread a baleful aura which affects certain highly-strung temperaments just as the sensation of a wave of cold air rising from the spine to the head may be a forewarning of epilepsy or hysteria? John Trenholme had cause to think so one bright June morning in 1912, and he has never ceased to believe it, though the events which made him an outstanding... more...

CHAPTER I. I GO TO STYLES The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the world-wide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will effectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist. I will therefore briefly set down... more...

LOOKING COLLEGEWARD "Oh, my back! and oh, my bones!" By no possibility could Aunt Alvirah Boggs have risen from her low rocking chair in the Red Mill kitchen without murmuring this complaint. She was a little, hoop-backed woman, with crippled limbs; but she possessed a countenance that was very much alive, nut-brown and innumerably wrinkled though it was. She had been Mr. Jabez Potter's housekeeper at the Red Mill for more than fifteen years,... more...

THE GREY ENVELOPE Catherine Brace walked slowly from the mantel-piece to the open window and back again. Within the last hour she had done that many times, always to halt before the mantel and gaze at the oblong, grey envelope that leaned against the clock. Evidently, she regarded it as a powerful agency. An observer would have perceived that she saw tremendous things come out of it—and that she considered them with mingled satisfaction... more...