The Affair at the Bungalow: A Miss Marple Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.At dinner with the Bantrys, beautiful actress Jane Helier tells the story of a bizarre crime. A man is drugged after being lured to a bungalow under false pretences and then accused of burglary. Miss Helier is convinced of his innocence and the group are left to deduce the motive behind the burglary… The Affair at the Bungalow A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_94c4be7a-fbe0-5e24-8f8f-b6477484ca95) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd. Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2013 All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 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Contents Cover (#ua88f1a6c-6a27-5985-a906-16272c5f15ad) Title Page (#u39414868-0cf7-542c-ac38-f7fbfc62a9d2) Copyright The Affair at the Bungalow (#ua6a8393d-6850-5651-9232-2d4a21772efb) Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Affair at the Bungalow (#ulink_caf18a83-453a-5658-a95d-885f0c01344f) ‘The Affair at the Bungalow’ was first published in Storyteller, May 1930. ‘I’ve thought of something,’ said Jane Helier. Her beautiful face was lit up with the confident smile of a child expecting approbation. It was a smile such as moved audiences nightly in London, and which had made the fortunes of photographers. ‘It happened,’ she went on carefully, ‘to a friend of mine.’ Everyone made encouraging but slightly hypocritical noises. Colonel Bantry, Mrs Bantry, Sir Henry Clithering, Dr Lloyd and old Miss Marple were one and all convinced that Jane’s ‘friend’ was Jane herself. She would have been quite incapable of remembering or taking an interest in anything affecting anyone else. ‘My friend,’ went on Jane, ‘(I won’t mention her name) was an actress – a very well-known actress.’ No one expressed surprise. Sir Henry Clithering thought to himself: ‘Now I wonder how many sentences it will be before she forgets to keep up the fiction, and says “I” instead of “She”?’ ‘My friend was on tour in the provinces – this was a year or two ago. I suppose I’d better not give the name of the place. It was a riverside town not very far from London. I’ll call it –’ She paused, her brows perplexed in thought. The invention of even a simple name appeared to be too much for her. Sir Henry came to the rescue. ‘Shall we call it Riverbury?’ he suggested gravely. ‘Oh, yes, that would do splendidly. Riverbury, I’ll remember that. Well, as I say, this – my friend – was at Riverbury with her company, and a very curious thing happened.’ She puckered her brows again. ‘It’s very difficult,’ she said plaintively, ‘to say just what you want. One gets things mixed up and tells the wrong things first.’ ‘You’re doing it beautifully,’ said Dr Lloyd encouragingly. ‘Go on.’ ‘Well, this curious thing happened. My friend was sent for to the police station. And she went. It seemed there had been a burglary at a riverside bungalow and they’d arrested a young man, and he told a very odd story. And so they sent for her. ‘She’d never been to a police station before, but they were very nice to her – very nice indeed.’ ‘They would be, I’m sure,’ said Sir Henry. ‘The sergeant – I think it was a sergeant – or it may have been an inspector – gave her a chair and explained things, and of course I saw at once that it was some mistake –’ ‘Aha,’ thought Sir Henry. ‘I. Here we are. I thought as much.’ ‘My friend said so,’ continued Jane, serenely unconscious of her self-betrayal. ‘She explained she had been rehearsing with her understudy at the hotel and that she’d never even heard of this Mr Faulkener. And the sergeant said, “Miss Hel –”’ She stopped and flushed. ‘Miss Helman,’ suggested Sir Henry with a twinkle. ‘Yes – yes, that would do. Thank you. He said, “Well, Miss Helman, I felt it must be some mistake, knowing that you were stopping at the Bridge Hotel,” and he said would I have any objection to confronting – or was it being confronted? I can’t remember.’ ‘It doesn’t really matter,’ said Sir Henry reassuringly. ‘Anyway, with the young man. So I said, “Of course not.” And they brought him and said, “This is Miss Helier,” and – Oh!’ Jane broke off open-mouthed. ‘Never mind, my dear,’ said Miss Marple consolingly. ‘We were bound to guess, you know. And you haven’t given us the name of the place or anything that really matters.’ ‘Well,’ said Jane. ‘I did mean to tell it as though it happened to someone else. But it is difficult, isn’t it! I mean one forgets so.’ Everyone assured her that it was very difficult, and soothed and reassured, she went on with her slightly involved narrative. ‘He was a nice-looking man – quite a nice-looking man. Young, with reddish hair. His mouth just opened when he saw me. And the sergeant said, “Is this the lady?” And he said, “No, indeed it isn’t. What an ass I have been.” And I smiled at him and said it didn’t matter.’ ‘I can picture the scene,’ said Sir Henry. Jane Helier frowned. ‘Let me see – how had I better go on?’ ‘Supposing you tell us what it was all about, dear,’ said Miss Marple, so mildly that no one could suspect her of irony. ‘I mean what the young man’s mistake was, and about the burglary.’ ‘Oh, yes,’ said Jane. ‘Well, you see, this young man – Leslie Faulkener, his name was – had written a play. He’d written several plays, as a matter of fact, though none of them had ever been taken. And he had sent this particular play to me to read. I didn’t know about it, because of course I have hundreds of plays sent to me and I read very few of them myself – only the ones I know something about. Anyway, there it was, and it seems that Mr Faulkener got a letter from me – only it turned out not to be really from me – you understand –’ She paused anxiously, and they assured her that they understood. ‘Saying that I’d read the play, and liked it very much and would he come down and talk it over with me. And it gave the address – The Bungalow, Riverbury. So Mr Faulkener was frightfully pleased and he came down and arrived at this place – The Bungalow. A parlourmaid opened the door, and he asked for Miss Helier, and she said Miss Helier was in and expecting him and showed him into the drawing-room, and there a woman came to him. And he accepted her as me as a matter of course – which seems queer because after all he had seen me act and my photographs are very well known, aren’t they?’ ‘Over the length and breadth of England,’ said Mrs Bantry promptly. ‘But there’s often a lot of difference between a photograph and its original, my dear Jane. And there’s a great deal of difference between behind the footlights and off the stage. It’s not every actress who stands the test as well as you do, remember.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». 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