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The Ambassador’s Boots: An Agatha Christie Short Story

The Ambassador’s Boots: An Agatha Christie Short Story
The Ambassador’s Boots: An Agatha Christie Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.An ambassador’s bag is mistakenly switched after a cruise, but nothing has been stolen. Unsettled by the incident, he employs the help of Tommy and Tuppence to investigate the matter. But the Beresfords uncover a sinister crime behind the seemingly trivial mix up… The Ambassador’s Boots A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_c22ab604-2a79-57d5-b786-8c9a90052082) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) First published 2008 Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd. Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2013 Agatha Christie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library This novel 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 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. HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication. Ebook Edition © SEPTEMBER 2013 ISBN: 9780007526819 Version: 2017-04-13 Contents Cover (#ube55ac4f-d749-5291-a07f-7c5676da220d) Title Page (#u73a035ae-57e7-541e-8c7a-d4f525fa29e4) Copyright (#ulink_63a8015d-cc78-5321-8a6d-4c7df7398dfc) The Ambassador’s Boots (#ulink_fb377405-1204-5b1e-b718-1b4881e6e81e) Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Ambassador’s Boots (#ulink_780622ce-8d4e-5b44-911c-33c0eea1c582) ‘The Ambassador’s Boots’ was first published as ‘The Matter of the Ambassador’s Boots’ in The Sketch, 12 November 1924. Reggie Fortune was created by H. C. Bailey (1878–1961) ‘My dear fellow, my dear fellow,’ said Tuppence, and waved a heavily buttered muffin. Tommy looked at her for a minute or two, then a broad grin spread over his face and he murmured. ‘We do have to be so very careful.’ ‘That’s right,’ said Tuppence, delighted. ‘You guessed. I am the famous Dr Fortune and you are Superintendent Bell.’ ‘Why are you being Reginald Fortune?’ ‘Well, really because I feel like a lot of hot butter.’ ‘That is the pleasant side of it,’ said Tommy. ‘But there is another. You will have to examine horribly smashed faces and very extra dead bodies a good deal.’ In answer Tuppence threw across a letter. Tommy’s eyebrows rose in astonishment. ‘Randolph Wilmott, the American Ambassador. I wonder what he wants.’ ‘We shall know tomorrow at eleven o’clock.’ Punctually to the time named, Mr Randolph Wilmott, United States Ambassador to the Court of St James, was ushered into Mr Blunt’s office. He cleared his throat and commenced speaking in a deliberate and characteristic manner. ‘I have come to you, Mr Blunt – By the way, it is Mr Blunt himself to whom I am speaking, is it not?’ ‘Certainly,’ said Tommy. ‘I am Theodore Blunt, the head of the firm.’ ‘I always prefer to deal with heads of departments,’ said Mr Wilmott. ‘It is more satisfactory in every way. As I was about to say, Mr Blunt, this business gets my goat. There’s nothing in it to trouble Scotland Yard about – I’m not a penny the worse in any way, and it’s probably all due to a simple mistake. But all the same, I don’t see just how that mistake arose. There’s nothing criminal in it, I dare say, but I’d like just to get the thing straightened out. It makes me mad not to see the why and wherefore of a thing.’ ‘Absolutely,’ said Tommy. Mr Wilmott went on. He was slow and given to much detail. At last Tommy managed to get a word in. ‘Quite so,’ he said, ‘the position is this. You arrived by the liner Nomadic a week ago. In some way your kitbag and the kitbag of another gentleman, Mr Ralph Westerham, whose initials are the same as yours, got mixed up. You took Mr Westerham’s kitbag, and he took yours. Mr Westerham discovered the mistake immediately, sent round your kitbag to the Embassy, and took away his own. Am I right so far?’ ‘That is precisely what occurred. The two bags must have been practically identical, and with the initials R. W. being the same in both cases, it is not difficult to understand that an error might have been made. I myself was not aware of what had happened until my valet informed me of the mistake, and that Mr Westerham – he is a Senator, and a man for whom I have a great admiration – had sent round for his bag and returned mine.’ ‘Then I don’t see –’ ‘But you will see. That’s only the beginning of the story. Yesterday, as it chanced, I ran up against Senator Westerham, and I happened to mention the matter to him jestingly. To my great surprise, he did not seem to know what I was talking about, and when I explained, he denied the story absolutely. He had not taken my bag off the ship in mistake for his own – in fact, he had not travelled with such an article amongst his luggage.’ ‘What an extraordinary thing!’ ‘Mr Blunt, it is an extraordinary thing. There seems no rhyme or reason in it. Why, if any one wanted to steal my kitbag, he could do so easily enough without resorting to all this roundabout business. And anyway, it was not stolen, but returned to me. On the other hand, if it were taken by mistake, why use Senator Westerham’s name? It’s a crazy business – but just for curiosity I mean to get to the bottom of it. I hope the case is not too trivial for you to undertake?’ ‘Not at all. It is a very intriguing little problem, capable as you say, of many simple explanations, but nevertheless baffling on the face of it. The first thing, of course, is the reason of the substitution, if substitution it was. You say nothing was missing from your bag when it came back into your possession?’ ‘My man says not. He would know.’ ‘What was in it, if I may ask?’ ‘Mostly boots.’ ‘Boots,’ said Tommy, discouraged. ‘Yes,’ said Mr Wilmott. ‘Boots. Odd, isn’t it?’ ‘You’ll forgive my asking you,’ said Tommy, ‘but you didn’t carry any secret papers, or anything of that sort sewn in the lining of a boot or screwed into a false heel?’ The Ambassador seemed amused by the question. ‘Secret diplomacy hasn’t got to that pitch, I hope.’ ‘Only in fiction,’ said Tommy with an answering smile, and a slightly apologetic manner. ‘But you see, we’ve got to account for the thing somehow. Who came for the bag – the other bag, I mean?’ ‘Supposed to be one of Westerham’s servants. Quite a quiet, ordinary man, so I understand. My valet saw nothing wrong with him.’ ‘Had it been unpacked, do you know?’ ‘That I can’t say. I presume not. But perhaps you’d like to ask the valet a few questions? He can tell you more than I can about the business.’ ‘I think that would be the best plan, Mr Wilmott.’ The Ambassador scribbled a few words on a card and handed it to Tommy. ‘I opine that you would prefer to go round to the Embassy and make your inquiries there? If not, I will have the man, his name is Richards, by the way – sent round here.’ ‘No, thank you, Mr Wilmott. I should prefer to go to the Embassy.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-ambassador-s-boots-an-agatha-christie-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом.
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