Yellow Iris: A Hercule Poirot Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.When Hercule Poirot receives an alarming and strained telephone call, several words are whispered desperately, it’s life or death and table with the yellow irises. In this dark short story Poirot finds himself in the plush luxuriant restaurant Jardin des Cygnes, nervous to stop an impending murder and find the person behind the voice on the phone. Bumping into an old acquaintance, Poirot is invited to join a dinner party in full swing, but, just as the dancing and champagne are overflowing a morbid announcement is made and the lights go out, by the time the lights come back on, everything has changed. Yellow Iris A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#u3edfb5e5-ef47-5582-8ed6-d9e18760e30c) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Copyrig© 2011 Agatha Christie Ltd. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books. EPub Edition © 2011 ISBN: 9780007451975 Version: 2017-04-19 Contents Cover (#u66ab26f9-8d0c-51f1-bf10-24a85930739c) Title Page (#u7b63aeaf-413d-5c5a-b045-9f363c1f8aa8) Copyright Yellow Iris Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) Yellow Iris (#ulink_d3ab218e-8ac8-5838-97ad-44f4e847ea57) ‘Yellow Iris’ was first published in The Strand, July 1937. Hercule Poirot stretched out his feet towards the electric radiator set in the wall. Its neat arrangement of red hot bars pleased his orderly mind. ‘A coal fire,’ he mused to himself, ‘was always shapeless and haphazard! Never did it achieve the symmetry.’ The telephone bell rang. Poirot rose, glancing at his watch as he did so. The time was close on half past eleven. He wondered who was ringing him up at this hour. It might, of course, be a wrong number. ‘And it might,’ he murmured to himself with a whimsical smile, ‘be a millionaire newspaper proprietor, found dead in the library of his country house, with a spotted orchid clasped in his left hand and a page torn from a cookbook pinned to his breast.’ Smiling at the pleasing conceit, he lifted the receiver. Immediately a voice spoke – a soft husky woman’s voice with a kind of desperate urgency about it. ‘Is that M. Hercule Poirot? Is that M. Hercule Poirot?’ ‘Hercule Poirot speaks.’ ‘M. Poirot – can you come at once – at once – I’m in danger – in great danger – I know it …’ Poirot said sharply: ‘Who are you? Where are you speaking from?’ The voice came more faintly but with an even greater urgency. ‘At once … it’s life or death … the Jardin des Cygnes … at once … table with yellow irises …’ There was a pause – a queer kind of gasp – the line went dead. Hercule Poirot hung up. His face was puzzled. He murmured between his teeth: ‘There is something here very curious.’ In the doorway of the Jardin des Cygnes, fat Luigi hurried forward. ‘Buona sera, M. Poirot. You desire a table – yes?’ ‘No, no, my good Luigi. I seek here for some friends. I will look round – perhaps they are not here yet. Ah, let me see, that table there in the corner with the yellow irises – a little question by the way, if it is not indiscreet. On all the other tables there are tulips – pink tulips – why on that one table do you have yellow irises?’ Luigi shrugged his expressive shoulders. ‘A command, Monsieur! A special order! Without doubt, the favourite flowers of one of the ladies. That table it is the table of Mr Barton Russell – an American – immensely rich.’ ‘Aha, one must study the whims of the ladies, must one not, Luigi?’ ‘Monsieur has said it,’ said Luigi. ‘I see at that table an acquaintance of mine. I must go and speak to him.’ Poirot skirted his way delicately round the dancing floor on which couples were revolving. The table in question was set for six, but it had at the moment only one occupant, a young man who was thoughtfully, and it seemed pessimistically, drinking champagne. He was not at all the person that Poirot had expected to see. It seemed impossible to associate the idea of danger or melodrama with any party of which Tony Chapell was a member. Poirot paused delicately by the table. ‘Ah, it is, is it not, my friend Anthony Chapell?’ ‘By all that’s wonderful – Poirot, the police hound!’ cried the young man. ‘Not Anthony, my dear fellow – Tony to friends!’ He drew out a chair. ‘Come, sit with me. Let us discourse of crime! Let us go further and drink to crime.’ He poured champagne into an empty glass. ‘But what are you doing in this haunt of song and dance and merriment, my dear Poirot? We have no bodies here, positively not a single body to offer you.’ Poirot sipped the champagne. ‘You seem very gay, mon cher?’ ‘Gay? I am steeped in misery – wallowing in gloom. Tell me, you hear this tune they are playing. You recognize it?’ Poirot hazarded cautiously: ‘Something perhaps to do with your baby having left you?’ ‘Not a bad guess,’ said the young man. ‘But wrong for once. “There’s nothing like love for making you miserable!” That’s what it’s called.’ ‘Aha?’ ‘My favourite tune,’ said Tony Chapell mournfully. ‘And my favourite restaurant and my favourite band – and my favourite girl’s here and she’s dancing it with somebody else.’ ‘Hence the melancholy?’ said Poirot. ‘Exactly. Pauline and I, you see, have had what the vulgar call words. That is to say, she’s had ninety-five words to five of mine out of every hundred. My five are: “But, darling – I can explain.” – Then she starts in on her ninety-five again and we get no further. I think,’ added Tony sadly, ‘that I shall poison myself.’ ‘Pauline?’ murmured Poirot. ‘Pauline Weatherby. Barton Russell’s young sister-in-law. Young, lovely, disgustingly rich. Tonight Barton Russell gives a party. You know him? Big Business, clean-shaven American – full of pep and personality. His wife was Pauline’s sister.’ ‘And who else is there at this party?’ ‘You’ll meet ’em in a minute when the music stops. There’s Lola Valdez – you know, the South American dancer in the new show at the Metropole, and there’s Stephen Carter. D’you know Carter – he’s in the diplomatic service. Very hush-hush. Known as silent Stephen. Sort of man who says, “I am not at liberty to state, etc, etc.” Hullo, here they come.’ Poirot rose. He was introduced to Barton Russell, to Stephen Carter, to Señora Lola Valdez, a dark and luscious creature, and to Pauline Weatherby, very young, very fair, with eyes like cornflowers. Barton Russell said: Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. 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