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The Tragedy of Marsdon Manor: A Hercule Poirot Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.An ageing country squire, heavily insured and whose estate is in financial ruin is thought to have committed suicide. Hercule Poirot investigates under the guise of a representative of the company who insured the victim in order to uncover the identity of the real murderer. THE TRAGEDY OF MARSDON MANOR 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 Tragedy at Marsdon Manor’ was first published in The Sketch, 18 April 1923. 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: 9780007486571 Version: 2017-04-19 Contents Cover (#uc5099979-e51e-568d-af27-3fe272a2591c) Title Page (#u4f9c1f84-abc3-5a81-9e68-aeeaedc2f5d6) Copyright The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor ‘The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor’ was first published in The Sketch, 18 April 1923. I had been called away from town for a few days, and on my return found Poirot in the act of strapping up his small valise. ‘A la bonne heure, Hastings, I feared you would not have returned in time to accompany me.’ ‘You are called away on a case, then?’ ‘Yes, though I am bound to admit that, on the face of it, the affair does not seem promising. The Northern Union Insurance Company have asked me to investigate the death of a Mr Maltravers who a few weeks ago insured his life with them for the large sum of fifty thousand pounds.’ ‘Yes?’ I said, much interested. ‘There was, of course, the usual suicide clause in the policy. In the event of his committing suicide within a year the premiums would be forfeited. Mr Maltravers was duly examined by the Company’s own doctor, and although he was a man slightly past the prime of life was passed as being in quite sound health. However, on Wednesday last – the day before yesterday – the body of Mr Maltravers was found in the grounds of his house in Essex, Marsdon Manor, and the cause of his death is described as some kind of internal haemorrhage. That in itself would be nothing remarkable, but sinister rumours as to Mr Maltravers’ financial position have been in the air of late, and the Northern Union have ascertained beyond any possible doubt that the deceased gentleman stood upon the verge of bankruptcy. Now that alters matters considerably. Maltravers had a beautiful young wife, and it is suggested that he got together all the ready money he could for the purpose of paying the premiums on a life insurance for his wife’s benefit, and then committed suicide. Such a thing is not uncommon. In any case, my friend Alfred Wright, who is a director of the Northern Union, has asked me to investigate the facts of the case, but, as I told him, I am not very hopeful of success. If the cause of the death had been heart failure, I should have been more sanguine. Heart failure may always be translated as the inability of the local GP to discover what his patient really did die of, but a haemorrhage seems fairly definite. Still, we can but make some necessary inquiries. Five minutes to pack your bag, Hastings, and we will take a taxi to Liverpool Street.’ About an hour later, we alighted from a Great Eastern train at the little station of Marsdon Leigh. Inquiries at the station yielded the information that Marsdon Manor was about a mile distant. Poirot decided to walk, and we betook ourselves along the main street. ‘What is our plan of campaign?’ I asked. ‘First I will call upon the doctor. I have ascertained that there is only one doctor in Marsdon Leigh, Dr Ralph Bernard. Ah, here we are at his house.’ The house in question was a kind of superior cottage, standing back a little from the road. A brass plate on the gate bore the doctor’s name. We passed up the path and rang the bell. We proved to be fortunate in our call. It was the doctor’s consulting hour, and for the moment there were no patients waiting for him. Dr Bernard was an elderly man, high-shouldered and stooping, with a pleasant vagueness of manner. Poirot introduced himself and explained the purpose of our visit, adding that Insurance Companies were bound to investigate fully in a case of this kind. ‘Of course, of course,’ said Dr Bernard vaguely. ‘I suppose, as he was such a rich man, his life was insured for a big sum?’ ‘You consider him a rich man, doctor?’ The doctor looked rather surprised. ‘Was he not? He kept two cars, you know, and Marsdon Manor is a pretty big place to keep up, although I believe he bought it very cheap.’ ‘I understand that he had had considerable losses of late,’ said Poirot, watching the door narrowly. The latter, however, merely shook his head sadly. ‘Is that so? Indeed. It is fortunate for his wife, then, that there is this life insurance. A very beautiful and charming young creature, but terribly unstrung by this sad catastrophe. A mass of nerves, poor thing. I have tried to spare her all I can, but of course the shock was bound to be considerable.’ ‘You had been attending Mr Maltravers recently?’ ‘My dear sir, I never attended him.’ ‘What?’ ‘I understand Mr Maltravers was a Christian Scientist – or something of that kind.’ ‘But you examined the body?’ ‘Certainly. I was fetched by one of the under-gardeners.’ ‘And the cause of death was clear?’ ‘Absolutely. There was blood on the lips, but most of the bleeding must have been internal.’ ‘Was he still lying where he had been found?’ ‘Yes, the body had not been touched. He was lying at the edge of a small plantation. He had evidently been out shooting rooks, a small rook rifle lay beside him. The haemorrhage must have occurred quite suddenly. Gastric ulcer, without a doubt.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-tragedy-of-marsdon-manor-a-hercule-poirot-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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