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The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger: An Agatha Christie Short Story

The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger: An Agatha Christie Short Story
The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger: An Agatha Christie Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Tommy and Tuppence Beresford wait anxiously for a letter from Russia that may contain information of international importance, surreptitiously hidden beneath the stamp. The letter is anticipated by more than just the Beresford’s, and they must fight to keep the information from getting into the wrong hands. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SINISTER STRANGER A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright This short story is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental. Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) ‘The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger’ was first published in The Sketch, 22 October 1924. The brothers Desmond and Major Okewood were created by Valentine Williams (1183–1946), writing as Douglas Valentine. This ePub edition published April 2012. Copyright © 2012 Agatha Christie Ltd. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 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 © 2012 ISBN: 9780007486670 Version: 2017-04-18 Contents Cover (#ub942d51a-eb9a-567a-894f-4d8ea11d7d46) Title Page (#ufbe6b57b-281f-5924-a3cb-740e3a682a5e) Copyright The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger ‘The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger’ was first published in The Sketch, 22 October 1924. The brothers Desmond and Major Okewood were created by Valentine Williams (1183–1946), writing as Douglas Valentine. ‘It’s been a darned dull day,’ said Tommy, and yawned widely. ‘Nearly tea time,’ said Tuppence and also yawned. Business was not brisk in the International Detective Agency. The eagerly expected letter from the ham merchant had not arrived and bona fide cases were not forthcoming. Albert, the office boy, entered with a sealed package which he laid on the table. ‘The Mystery of the Sealed Packet,’ murmured Tommy. ‘Did it contain the fabulous pearls of the Russian Grand Duchess? Or was it an infernal machine destined to blow Blunt’s Brilliant Detectives to pieces?’ ‘As a matter of fact,’ said Tuppence, tearing open the package. ‘It’s my wedding present to Francis Haviland. Rather nice, isn’t it?’ Tommy took a slender silver cigarette case from her outstretched hand, noted the inscription engraved in her own handwriting, ‘Francis from Tuppence,’ opened and shut the case, and nodded approvingly. ‘You do throw your money about, Tuppence,’ he remarked. ‘I’ll have one like it, only in gold, for my birthday next month. Fancy wasting a thing like that on Francis Haviland, who always was and always will be one of the most perfect asses God ever made!’ ‘You forget I used to drive him about during the war, when he was a General. Ah! those were the good old days.’ ‘They were,’ agreed Tommy. ‘Beautiful women used to come and squeeze my hand in hospital, I remember. But I don’t send them all wedding presents. I don’t believe the bride will care much for this gift of yours, Tuppence.’ ‘It’s nice and slim for the pocket, isn’t it?’ said Tuppence, disregarding his remarks. Tommy slipped it into his own pocket. ‘Just right,’ he said approvingly. ‘Hullo, here is Albert with the afternoon post. Very possibly the Duchess of Perthshire is commissioning us to find her prize Peke.’ They sorted through the letters together. Suddenly Tommy gave vent to a prolonged whistle and held up one of them in his hand. ‘A blue letter with a Russian stamp on it. Do you remember what the Chief said? We were to look out for letters like that.’ ‘How exciting,’ said Tuppence. ‘Something has happened at last. Open it and see if the contents are up to schedule. A ham merchant, wasn’t it? Half a minute. We shall want some milk for tea. They forgot to leave it this morning. I’ll send Albert out for it.’ She returned from the outer office, after despatching Albert on his errand, to find Tommy holding the blue sheet of paper in his hand. ‘As we thought, Tuppence,’ he remarked. ‘Almost word for word what the Chief said.’ Tuppence took the letter from him and read it. It was couched in careful stilted English, and purported to be from one Gregor Feodorsky, who was anxious for news of his wife. The International Detective Agency was urged to spare no expense in doing their utmost to trace her. Feodorsky himself was unable to leave Russia at the moment owing to a crisis in the pork trade. ‘I wonder what it really means,’ said Tuppence thoughtfully, smoothing out the sheet on the table in front of her. ‘Code of some kind, I suppose,’ said Tommy. ‘That’s not our business. Our business is to hand it over to the Chief as soon as possible. Better just verify it by soaking off the stamp and seeing if the number 16 is underneath.’ ‘All right,’ said Tuppence. ‘But I should think –’ She stopped dead, and Tommy, surprised by her sudden pause, looked up to see a man’s burly figure blocking the doorway. The intruder was a man of commanding presence, squarely built, with a very round head and a powerful jaw. He might have been about forty-five years of age. ‘I must beg your pardon,’ said the stranger, advancing into the room, hat in hand. ‘I found your outer office empty and this door open, so I ventured to intrude. This is Blunt’s International Detective Agency, is it not?’ ‘Certainly it is.’ ‘And you are, perhaps, Mr Blunt? Mr Theodore Blunt?’ ‘I am Mr Blunt. You wish to consult me? This is my secretary, Miss Robinson.’ Tuppence inclined her head gracefully, but continued to scrutinise the stranger narrowly through her downcast eyelashes. She was wondering how long he had been standing in the doorway, and how much he had seen and heard. It did not escape her observation that even while he was talking to Tommy, his eyes kept coming back to the blue paper in her hand. Tommy’s voice, sharp with a warning note, recalled her to the needs of the moment. ‘Miss Robinson, please, take notes. Now, sir, will you kindly state the matter on which you wish to have my advice?’ Tuppence reached for her pad and pencil. The big man began in rather a harsh voice. ‘My name is Bower. Dr Charles Bower. I live in Hampstead, where I have a practice. I have come to you, Mr Blunt, because several rather strange occurrences have happened lately.’ ‘Yes, Dr Bower?’ ‘Twice in the course of the last week I have been summoned by telephone to an urgent case – in each case to find that the summons has been a fake. The first time I thought a practical joke had been played upon me, but on my return the second time I found that some of my private papers had been displaced and disarranged, and now I believe that the same thing had happened the first time. I made an exhaustive search and came to the conclusion that my whole desk had been thoroughly ransacked, and the various papers replaced hurriedly.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-adventure-of-the-sinister-stranger-an-agatha-christie-sho/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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