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The Affair of the Pink Pearl: An Agatha Christie Short Story

The Affair of the Pink Pearl: An Agatha Christie Short Story
The Affair of the Pink Pearl: An Agatha Christie Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.While staying at the Laurels with the Kingston Bruce family, Mrs Hamilton Betts discovers that her valuable pink pearl is missing. Presumed to have been stolen by another houseguest, the concerned host contacts the Beresford’s for help. THE AFFAIR OF THE PINK PEARL 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 Affair of the Pink Pearl’ was first published in The Sketch, 1 October 1924. Dr John Thorndyke was created by Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943). 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: 9780007486663 Version: 2017-04-18 Contents Cover (#u3dc6df66-c260-5dc6-82fd-b5dffd930a18) Title Page (#uf09f55f9-133c-5dfc-9457-e4b43afebf83) Copyright The Affair of the Pink Pearl About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Affair of the Pink Pearl ‘The Affair of the Pink Pearl’ was first published in The Sketch, 1 October 1924. Dr John Thorndyke was created by Richard Austin Freeman (1862–1943). ‘What on earth are you doing?’ demanded Tuppence, as she entered the inner sanctum of the International Detective Agency – (Slogan – Blunt’s Brilliant Detectives) and discovered her lord and master prone on the floor in a sea of books. Tommy struggled to his feet. ‘I was trying to arrange these books on the top shelf of that cupboard,’ he complained. ‘And the damned chair gave way.’ ‘What are they, anyway?’ asked Tuppence, picking up a volume. ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles. I wouldn’t mind reading that again some time.’ ‘You see the idea?’ said Tommy, dusting himself with care. ‘Half-hours with the Great Masters – that sort of thing. You see, Tuppence, I can’t help feeling that we are more or less amateurs at this business – of course amateurs in one sense we cannot help being, but it would do no harm to acquire the technique, so to speak. These books are detective stories by the leading masters of the art. I intend to try different styles, and compare results.’ ‘H’m,’ said Tuppence. ‘I often wonder how these detectives would have got on in real life.’ She picked up another volume. ‘You’ll find a difficulty in being a Thorndyke. You’ve no medical experience, and less legal, and I never heard that science was your strong point.’ ‘Perhaps not,’ said Tommy. ‘But at any rate I’ve bought a very good camera, and I shall photograph footprints and enlarge the negatives and all that sort of thing. Now, mon ami, use your little grey cells – what does this convey to you?’ He pointed to the bottom shelf of the cupboard. On it lay a somewhat futuristic dressing-gown, a turkish slipper, and a violin. ‘Obvious, my dear Watson,’ said Tuppence. ‘Exactly,’ said Tommy. ‘The Sherlock Holmes touch.’ He took up the violin and drew the bow idly across the strings, causing Tuppence to give a wail of agony. At that moment the buzzer rang on the desk, a sign that a client had arrived in the outer office and was being held in parley by Albert, the office boy. Tommy hastily replaced the violin in the cupboard and kicked the books behind the desk. ‘Not that there’s any great hurry,’ he remarked. ‘Albert will be handing them out the stuff about my being engaged with Scotland Yard on the phone. Get into your office and start typing, Tuppence. It makes the office sound busy and active. No, on second thoughts you shall be taking notes in shorthand from my dictation. Let’s have a look before we get Albert to send the victim in.’ They approached the peephole which had been artistically contrived so as to command a view of the outer office. The client was a girl of about Tuppence’s age, tall and dark with a rather haggard face and scornful eyes. ‘Clothes cheap and striking,’ remarked Tuppence. ‘Have her in, Tommy.’ In another minute the girl was shaking hands with the celebrated Mr Blunt, whilst Tuppence sat by with eyes demurely downcast, and pad and pencil in hand. ‘My confidential secretary, Miss Robinson,’ said Mr Blunt with a wave of his hand. ‘You may speak freely before her.’ Then he lay back for a minute, half closed his eyes and remarked in a tired tone: ‘You must find travelling in a bus very crowded at this time of day.’ ‘I came in a taxi,’ said the girl. ‘Oh!’ said Tommy aggrieved. His eyes rested reproachfully on a blue bus ticket protruding from her glove. The girl’s eyes followed his glance, and she smiled and drew it out. ‘You mean this? I picked it up on the pavement. A little neighbour of ours collects them.’ Tuppence coughed, and Tommy threw a baleful glare at her. ‘We must get to business,’ he said briskly. ‘You are in need of our services, Miss –?’ ‘Kingston Bruce is my name,’ said the girl. ‘We live at Wimbledon. Last night a lady who is staying with us lost a valuable pink pearl. Mr St Vincent was also dining with us, and during dinner he happened to mention your firm. My mother sent me off to you this morning to ask you if you would look into the matter for us.’ The girl spoke sullenly, almost disagreeably. It was clear as daylight that she and her mother had not agreed over the matter. She was here under protest. ‘I see,’ said Tommy, a little puzzled. ‘You have not called in the police?’ ‘No,’ said Miss Kingston Bruce, ‘we haven’t. It would be idiotic to call in the police and then find the silly thing had rolled under the fireplace, or something like that.’ ‘Oh!’ said Tommy. ‘Then the jewel may only be lost after all?’ Miss Kingston Bruce shrugged her shoulders. ‘People make such a fuss about things,’ she murmured. Tommy cleared his throat. ‘Of course,’ he said doubtfully. ‘I am extremely busy just now –’ ‘I quite understand,’ said the girl, rising to her feet. There was a quick gleam of satisfaction in her eyes which Tuppence, for one, did not miss. ‘Nevertheless,’ continued Tommy. ‘I think I can manage to run down to Wimbledon. Will you give me the address, please?’ ‘The Laurels, Edgeworth Road.’ ‘Make a note of it, please, Miss Robinson.’ Miss Kingston Bruce hesitated, then said rather ungraciously. ‘We’ll expect you then. Good-morning.’ ‘Funny girl,’ said Tommy when she had left. ‘I couldn’t quite make her out.’ ‘I wonder if she stole the thing herself,’ remarked Tuppence meditatively. ‘Come on, Tommy, let’s put away these books and take the car and go down there. By the way, who are you going to be, Sherlock Holmes still?’ ‘I think I need practice for that,’ said Tommy. ‘I came rather a cropper over that bus ticket, didn’t I?’ ‘You did,’ said Tuppence. ‘If I were you I shouldn’t try too much on that girl – she’s as sharp as a needle. She’s unhappy too, poor devil.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-affair-of-the-pink-pearl-an-agatha-christie-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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