ABC谋杀案 38

时间:2024-01-30 08:53:39


We were sitting in a state of tense attention to listen to Poirot’s final explanation of the case.
“All along,” he said, “I have been worried over the why of this case. Hastings said to me theother day that the case was ended. I replied to him that the case was the man! The mystery was notthe mystery of the murders, but the mystery of A B C. Why did he find it necessary to commit thesemurders? Why did he select me as his adversary1?
“It is no answer to say that the man was mentally unhinged. To say a man does mad thingsbecause he is mad is merely unintelligent and stupid. A madman is as logical and reasoned in hisactions as a sane3 man—given his peculiar4 biased5 point of view. For example, if a man insists ongoing6 out and squatting7 about in nothing but a loin cloth his conduct seems eccentric in theextreme. But once you know that the man himself is firmly convinced that he is Mahatma Gandhi,then his conduct becomes perfectly8 reasonable and logical.
“What was necessary in this case was to imagine a mind so constituted that it was logical andreasonable to commit four or more murders and to announce them beforehand by letters written toHercule Poirot.
“My friend Hastings will tell you that from the moment I received the first letter I was upset anddisturbed. It seemed to me at once that there was something very wrong about the letter.”
“You were quite right,” said Franklin Clarke dryly.
“Yes. But there, at the very start, I made a grave error. I permitted my feeling—my very strongfeeling about the letter — to remain a mere2 impression. I treated it as though it had been anintuition. In a well-balanced, reasoning mind there is no such thing as an intuition—an inspiredguess! You can guess, of course—and a guess is either right or wrong. If it is right you call it anintuition. If it is wrong you usually do not speak of it again. But what is often called an intuition isreally an impression based on logical deduction9 or experience. When an expert feels that there issomething wrong about a picture or a piece of furniture or the signature on a cheque he is reallybasing that feeling on a host of small signs and details. He has no need to go into them minutely—his experience obviates10 that—the net result is the definite impression that something is wrong. Butit is not a guess, it is an impression based on experience.
“Eh bien, I admit that I did not regard that first letter in the way I should. It just made meextremely uneasy. The police regarded it as a hoax11. I myself took it seriously. I was convinced thata murder would take place in Andover as stated. As you know, a murder did take place.
“There was no means at that point, as I well realized, of knowing who the person was who haddone the deed. The only course open to me was to try and understand just what kind of a personhad done it.
“I had certain indications. The letter—the manner of the crime—the person murdered. What Ihad to discover was: the motive12 of the crime, the motive of the letter.”
Publicity13,” suggested Clarke.
“Surely an inferiority complex covers that,” added Thora Grey.
“That was, of course, the obvious line to take. But why me? Why Hercule Poirot? Greaterpublicity could be ensured by sending the letters to Scotland Yard. More again by sending them toa newspaper. A newspaper might not print the first letter, but by the time the second crime tookplace, A B C could have been assured of all the publicity the press could give. Why, then, HerculePoirot? Was it for some personal reason? There was, discernible in the letter, a slight anti-foreignbias—but not enough to explain the matter to my satisfaction.
“Then the second letter arrived—and was followed by the murder of Betty Barnard at Bexhill. Itbecame clear now (what I had already suspected) that the murders were to proceed on analphabetical plan, but the fact, which seemed final to most people, left the main question unalteredto my mind. Why did A B C need to commit these murders?”
Megan Barnard stirred in her chair.
“Isn’t there such a thing as—as a blood lust15?” she said.
Poirot turned to her.
“You are quite right, mademoiselle. There is such a thing. The lust to kill. But that did not quitefit the facts of the case. A homicidal maniac16 who desires to kill usually desires to kill as manyvictims as possible. It is a recurring17 craving18. The great idea of such a killer19 is to hide his tracks—not to advertise them. When we consider the four victims selected—or at any rate three of them(for I know very little of Mr. Downes or Mr. Earlsfield), we realize that if he had chosen, themurderer could have done away with them without incurring20 any suspicion. Franz Ascher, DonaldFraser or Megan Barnard, possibly Mr. Clarke — those are the people the police would havesuspected even if they had been unable to get direct proof. An unknown homicidal murdererwould not have been thought of! Why, then, did the murderer feel it necessary to call attention tohimself? Was it the necessity of leaving on each body a copy of an A B C railway guide? Was thatthe compulsion? Was there some complex connected with the railway guide?
“I found it quite inconceivable at this point to enter into the mind of the murderer. Surely itcould not be magnanimity? A horror of responsibility for the crime being fastened on an innocentperson?
“Although I could not answer the main question, certain things I did feel I was learning aboutthe murderer.”
“Such as?” asked Fraser.
“To begin with—that he had a tabular mind. His crimes were listed by alphabetical14 progression—that was obviously important to him. On the other hand, he had no particular taste in victims—Mrs. Ascher, Betty Barnard, Sir Carmichael Clarke, they all differed widely from each other.
There was no sex complex—no particular age complex, and that seemed to me to be a verycurious fact. If a man kills indiscriminately it is usually because he removes anyone who stands inhis way or annoys him. But the alphabetical progression showed that such was not the case here.
The other type of killer usually selects a particular type of victim—nearly always of the oppositesex. There was something haphazard21 about the procedure of A B C that seemed to me to be at warwith the alphabetical selection.
“One slight inference I permitted myself to make. The choice of the A B C suggested to mewhat I may call a railway-minded man. This is more common in men than women. Small boyslove trains better than small girls do. It might be the sign, too, of an in some ways undevelopedmind. The ‘boy’ motif22 still predominated.
“The death of Betty Barnard and the manner of it gave me certain other indications. The mannerof her death was particularly suggestive. (Forgive me, Mr. Fraser.) To begin with, she wasstrangled with her own belt—therefore she must almost certainly have been killed by someonewith whom she was on friendly or affectionate terms. When I learnt something of her character apicture grew up in my mind.
“Betty Barnard was a flirt23. She liked attention from a personable male. Therefore A B C, topersuade her to come out with him, must have had a certain amount of attraction—of le sexappeal! He must be able, as you English say, to ‘get off.’ He must be capable of the click! Ivisualize the scene on the beach thus: the man admires her belt. She takes it off, he passes itplayfully round her neck—says, perhaps, ‘I shall strangle you.’ It is all very playful. She giggles—and he pulls—”
Donald Fraser sprang up. He was livid.
“M. Poirot—for God’s sake.”
Poirot made a gesture.
“It is finished. I say no more. It is over. We pass to the next murder, that of Sir CarmichaelClarke. Here the murderer goes back to his first method — the blow on the head. The samealphabetical complex—but one fact worries me a little. To be consistent the murderer should havechosen his towns in some definite sequence.
“If Andover is the 155th name under A, then the B crime should be the 155th also—or it shouldbe the 156th and the C the 157th. Here again the towns seemed to be chosen in rather toohaphazard a fashion.”
“Isn’t that because you’re rather biased on that subject, Poirot?” I suggested. “You yourself arenormally methodical and orderly. It’s almost a disease with you.”
“No, it is not a disease! Quelle idée! But I admit that I may be over- stressing that point.
“The Churston crime gave me very little extra help. We were unlucky over it, since the letterannouncing it went astray, hence no preparations could be made.
“But by the time the D crime was announced, a very formidable system of defence had beenevolved. It must have been obvious that A B C could not much longer hope to get away with hiscrimes.
“Moreover, it was at this point that the clue of the stockings came into my hand. It was perfectlyclear that the presence of an individual selling stockings on and near the scene of each crime couldnot be a coincidence. Hence the stocking seller must be the murderer. I may say that hisdescription, as given me by Miss Grey, did not quite correspond with my own picture of the manwho strangled Betty Barnard.
“I will pass over the next stages quickly. A fourth murder was committed—the murder of a mannamed George Earlsfield — it was supposed in mistake for a man named Downes, who wassomething of the same build and who was sitting near him in the cinema.
“And now at last comes the turn of the tide. Events play against A B C instead of into his hands.
He is marked down—hunted—and at last arrested.
“The case, as Hastings says, is ended!
“True enough as far as the public is concerned. The man is in prison and will eventually, nodoubt, go to Broadmoor. There will be no more murders. Exit! Finis! R.I.P.
“But not for me! I know nothing—nothing at all! Neither the why nor the wherefore.
“And there is one small vexing25 fact. The man Cust has an alibi26 for the night of the Bexhillcrime.”
“That’s been worrying me all along,” said Franklin Clarke.
“Yes. It worried me. For the alibi, it has the air of being genuine. But it cannot be genuineunless—and now we come to two very interesting speculations27.
“Supposing, my friends, that while Cust committed three of the crimes—the A, C, and D crimes—he did not commit the B crime.”
“M. Poirot. It isn’t—”
Poirot silenced Megan Barnard with a look.
“Be quiet, mademoiselle. I am for the truth, I am! I have done with lies. Supposing, I say, that AB C did not commit the second crime. It took place, remember, in the early hours of the 25th—theday he had arrived for the crime. Supposing someone had forestalled29 him? What in thosecircumstances would he do? Commit a second murder, or lie low and accept the first as a kind ofmacabre present?”
“M. Poirot!” said Megan. “That’s a fantastic thought! All the crimes must have been committedby the same person!”
He took no notice of her and went steadily30 on:
“Such a hypothesis had the merit of explaining one fact — the discrepancy31 between thepersonality of Alexander Bonaparte Cust (who could never have made the click with any girl) andthe personality of Betty Barnard’s murderer. And it has been known, before now, that would-bemurderers have taken advantage of the crimes committed by other people. Not all the crimes ofJack the Ripper were committed by Jack32 the Ripper, for instance. So far, so good.
“But then I came up against a definite difficulty.
“Up to the time of the Barnard murder, no facts about the A B C murders had been made public.
The Andover murder had created little interest. The incident of the open railway guide had noteven been mentioned in the press. It therefore followed that whoever killed Betty Barnard musthave had access to facts known only to certain persons—myself, the police, and certain relationsand neighbours of Mrs. Ascher.
“That line of research seemed to lead me up against a blank wall.”
The faces that looked at him were blank too. Blank and puzzled.
Donald Fraser said thoughtfully:
“The police, after all, are human beings. And they’re good-looking men—”
He stopped, looking at Poirot inquiringly.
Poirot shook his head gently.
“No—it is simpler than that. I told you that there was a second speculation28.
“Supposing that Cust was not responsible for the killing33 of Betty Barnard? Supposing thatsomeone else killed her. Could that someone else have been responsible for the other murderstoo?”
“But that doesn’t make sense!” cried Clarke.
“Doesn’t it? I did then what I ought to have done at first. I examined the letters I had receivedfrom a totally different point of view. I had felt from the beginning that there was somethingwrong with them—just as a picture expert knows a picture is wrong….
“I had assumed, without pausing to consider, that what was wrong with them was the fact thatthey were written by a madman.
“Now I examined them again—and this time I came to a totally different conclusion. What waswrong with them was the fact that they were written by a sane man!”
“What?” I cried.
“But yes—just that precisely34! They were wrong as a picture is wrong—because they were afake! They pretended to be the letters of a madman—of a homicidal lunatic, but in reality theywere nothing of the kind.”
“It doesn’t make sense,” Franklin Clarke repeated.
“Mais si! One must reason—reflect. What would be the object of writing such letters? To focusattention on the writer, to call attention to the murders! En vérité, it did not seem to make sense atfirst sight. And then I saw light. It was to focus attention on several murders—on a group ofmurders…Is it not your great Shakespeare who has said ‘You cannot see the trees for the wood.’”
I did not correct Poirot’s literary reminiscences. I was trying to see his point. A glimmer35 cameto me. He went on:
“When do you notice a pin least? When it is in a pincushion! When do you notice an individualmurder least? When it is one of a series of related murders.
“I had to deal with an intensely clever, resourceful murderer—reckless, daring and a thoroughgambler. Not Mr. Cust! He could never have committed these murders! No, I had to deal with avery different stamp of man—a man with a boyish temperament36 (witness the schoolboy-like lettersand the railway guide), an attractive man to women, and a man with a ruthless disregard forhuman life, a man who was necessarily a prominent person in one of the crimes!
“Consider when a man or woman is killed, what are the questions that the police ask?
Opportunity. Where everybody was at the time of the crime? Motive. Who benefited by thedeceased’s death? If the motive and the opportunity are fairly obvious, what is a would- bemurderer to do? Fake an alibi — that is, manipulate time in some way? But that is always ahazardous proceeding37. Our murderer thought of a more fantastic defence. Create a homicidalmurderer!
“I had now only to review the various crimes and find the possible guilty person. The Andovercrime? The most likely suspect for that was Franz Ascher, but I could not imagine Ascherinventing and carrying out such an elaborate scheme, nor could I see him planning a premeditatedmurder. The Bexhill crime? Donald Fraser was a possibility. He had brains and ability, and amethodical turn of mind. But his motive for killing his sweetheart could only be jealousy—andjealousy does not tend to premeditation. Also I learned that he had his holidays early in August,which rendered it unlikely he had anything to do with the Churston crime. We come to theChurston crime next—and at once we are on infinitely39 more promising40 ground.
“Sir Carmichael Clarke was an immensely wealthy man. Who inherits his money? His wife,who is dying, has a life interest in it, and it then goes to his brother Franklin.”
Poirot turned slowly round till his eyes met those of Franklin Clarke.
“I was quite sure then. The man I had known a long time in my secret mind was the same as theman whom I had known as a person. A B C and Franklin Clarke were one and the same! Thedaring adventurous41 character, the roving life, the partiality for England that had showed itself,very faintly, in the jeer42 at foreigners. The attractive free and easy manner—nothing easier for himthan to pick up a girl in a café. The methodical tabular mind—he made a list here one day, tickedoff over the headings A B C—and finally, the boyish mind—mentioned by Lady Clarke and evenshown by his taste in fiction—I have ascertained43 that there is a book in the library called TheRailway Children by E. Nesbit. I had no further doubt in my own mind—A B C, the man whowrote the letters and committed the crimes, was Franklin Clarke.”
Clarke suddenly burst out laughing.
“Very ingenious! And what about our friend Cust, caught red-handed? What about the blood onhis coat? And the knife he hid in his lodgings44? He may deny he committed the crimes—”
Poirot interrupted.
“You are quite wrong. He admits the fact.”
“What?” Clarke looked really startled.
“Oh, yes,” said Poirot gently. “I had no sooner spoken to him than I was aware that Custbelieved himself to be guilty.”
“And even that didn’t satisfy M. Poirot?” said Clarke.
“No. Because as soon as I saw him I also knew that he could not be guilty! He has neither thenerve nor the daring—nor, I may add, the brains to plan! All along I have been aware of the dualpersonality of the murderer. Now I see wherein it consisted. Two people were involved—the realmurderer, cunning, resourceful and daring — and the pseudo murderer, stupid, vacillating andsuggestible.
“Suggestible—it is in that word that the mystery of Mr. Cust consists! It was not enough foryou, Mr. Clarke, to devise this plan of a series to distract attention from a single crime. You hadalso to have a stalking horse.
“I think the idea first originated in your mind as the result of a chance encounter in a city coffeeden with this odd personality with his bombastic45 Christian46 names. You were at that time turningover in your mind various plans for the murder of your brother.”
“Really? And why?”
“Because you were seriously alarmed for the future. I do not know whether you realize it, Mr.
Clarke, but you played into my hands when you showed me a certain letter written to you by yourbrother. In it he displayed very clearly his affection and absorption in Miss Thora Grey. His regardmay have been a paternal47 one—or he may have preferred to think it so. Nevertheless, there was avery real danger that on the death of your sister-in-law he might, in his loneliness, turn to thisbeautiful girl for sympathy and comfort and it might end—as so often happens with elderly men—in his marrying her. Your fear was increased by your knowledge of Miss Grey. You are, I fancy,an excellent, if somewhat cynical48 judge of character. You judged, whether correctly or not, thatMiss Grey was a type of young woman ‘on the make.’ You had no doubt that she would jump atthe chance of becoming Lady Clarke. Your brother was an extremely healthy and vigorous man.
There might be children and your chance of inheriting your brother’s wealth would vanish.
“You have been, I fancy, in essence a disappointed man all your life. You have been the rollingstone—and you have gathered very little moss49. You were bitterly jealous of your brother’s wealth.
“I repeat then that, turning over various schemes in your mind, your meeting with Mr. Custgave you an idea. His bombastic Christian names, his account of his epileptic seizures50 and of hisheadaches, his whole shrinking and insignificant51 personality, struck you as fitting him for the toolyou wanted. The whole alphabetical plan sprang into your mind—Cust’s initials—the fact thatyour brother’s name began with a C and that he lived at Churston were the nucleus52 of the scheme.
You even went so far as to hint to Cust at his possible end—though you could hardly hope thatthat suggestion would bear the rich fruit that it did!
“Your arrangements were excellent. In Cust’s name you wrote for a large consignment53 ofhosiery to be sent to him. You yourself sent a number of A B C’s looking like a similar parcel.
You wrote to him—a typed letter purporting54 to be from the same firm offering him a good salaryand commission. Your plans were so well laid beforehand that you typed all the letters that weresent subsequently, and then presented him with the machine on which they had been typed.
“You had now to look about for two victims whose names began with A and B respectively andwho lived at places also beginning with those same letters.
“You hit on Andover as quite a likely spot and your preliminary reconnaissance there led you toselect Mrs. Ascher’s shop as the scene of the first crime. Her name was written clearly over thedoor, and you found by experiment that she was usually alone in the shop. Her murder needednerve, daring and reasonable luck.
“For the letter B you had to vary your tactics. Lonely women in shops might conceivably havebeen warned. I should imagine that you frequented a few cafés and teashops, laughing and jokingwith the girls there and finding out whose name began with the right letter and who would besuitable for your purpose.
“In Betty Barnard you found just the type of girl you were looking for. You took her out once ortwice, explaining to her that you were a married man, and that outings must therefore take place ina somewhat hole-and-corner manner.
“Then, your preliminary plans completed, you set to work! You sent the Andover list to Cust,directing him to go there on a certain date, and you sent off the first A B C letter to me.
“On the appointed day you went to Andover—and killed Mrs. Ascher—without anythingoccurring to damage your plans.
“Murder No. 1 was successfully accomplished55.
“For the second murder, you took the precaution of committing it, in reality, the day before. Iam fairly certain that Betty Barnard was killed well before midnight on the 24th July.
“We now come to murder No. 3—the important—in fact, the real murder from your point ofview.
“And here a full meed of praise is due to Hastings, who made a simple and obvious remark towhich no attention was paid.
“He suggested that the third letter went astray intentionally56!
“And he was right!…
“In that one simple fact lies the answer to the question that has puzzled me so all along. Whywere the letters addressed in the first place to Hercule Poirot, a private detective, and not to thepolice?
“Erroneously I imagined some personal reason.
“Not at all! The letters were sent to me because the essence of your plan was that one of themshould be wrongly addressed and go astray—but you cannot arrange for a letter addressed to theCriminal Investigation57 Department of Scotland Yard to go astray! It is necessary to have a privateaddress. You chose me as a fairly well-known person, and a person who was sure to take theletters to the police—and also, in your rather insular58 mind, you enjoyed scoring off a foreigner.
“You addressed your envelope very cleverly—Whitehaven—Whitehorse—quite a natural slip.
Only Hastings was sufficiently59 perspicacious60 to disregard subtleties61 and go straight for theobvious!
“Of course the letter was meant to go astray! The police were to be set on the trail only when themurder was safely over. Your brother’s nightly walk provided you with the opportunity. And sosuccessfully had the A B C terror taken hold on the public mind that the possibility of your guiltnever occurred to anyone.
“After the death of your brother, of course, your object was accomplished. You had no wish tocommit any more murders. On the other hand, if the murders stopped without reason, a suspicionof the truth might come to someone.
“Your stalking horse, Mr. Cust, had so successfully lived up to his role of the invisible—because insignificant—man, that so far no one had noticed that the same person had been seen inthe vicinity of the three murders! To your annoyance62, even his visit to Combeside had not beenmentioned. The matter had passed completely out of Miss Grey’s head.
“Always daring, you decided63 that one more murder must take place but this time the trail mustbe well blazed.
“You selected Doncaster for the scene of operations.
“Your plan was very simple. You yourself would be on the scene in the nature of things. Mr.
Cust would be ordered to Doncaster by his firm. Your plan was to follow him round and trust toopportunity. Everything fell out well. Mr. Cust went to a cinema. That was simplicity64 itself. Yousat a few seats away from him. When he got up to go, you did the same. You pretended tostumble, leaned over and stabbed a dozing65 man in the row in front, slid the A B C on to his kneesand managed to collide heavily with Mr. Cust in the darkened doorway66, wiping the knife on hissleeve and slipping it into his pocket.
“You were not in the least at pains to choose a victim whose name began with D. Anyonewould do! You assumed—and quite rightly—that it would be considered to be a mistake. Therewas sure to be someone whose name began with D not far off in the audience. It would beassumed that he had been intended to be the victim.
“And now, my friends, let us consider the matter from the point of view of the false A B C—from the point of view of Mr. Cust.
“The Andover crime means nothing to him. He is shocked and surprised by the Bexhill crime—why, he himself was there about the time! Then comes the Churston crime and the headlines in thenewspapers. An A B C crime at Andover when he was there, an A B C crime at Bexhill, and nowanother close by…Three crimes and he has been at the scene of each of them. Persons sufferingfrom epilepsy often have blanks when they cannot remember what they have done…Rememberthat Cust was a nervous, highly neurotic67 subject and extremely suggestible.
“Then he receives the order to go to Doncaster.
“Doncaster! And the next A B C crime is to be in Doncaster. He must have felt as though it wasfate. He loses his nerve, fancies his landlady68 is looking at him suspiciously, and tells her he isgoing to Cheltenham.
“He goes to Doncaster because it is his duty. In the afternoon he goes to a cinema. Possibly hedozes off for a minute or two.
“Imagine his feelings when on his return to his inn he discovers that there is blood on his coatsleeve and a blood-stained knife in his pocket. All his vague forebodings leap into certainty.
“He—he himself—is the killer! He remembers his headaches—his lapses69 of memory. He isquite sure of the truth—he, Alexander Bonaparte Cust, is a homicidal lunatic.
“His conduct after that is the conduct of a hunted animal. He gets back to his lodgings inLondon. He is safe there—known. They think he has been in Cheltenham. He has the knife withhim still—a thoroughly70 stupid thing to do, of course. He hides it behind the hall stand.
“Then, one day, he is warned that the police are coming. It is the end! They know!
“The hunted animal does his last run….
“I don’t know why he went to Andover—a morbid71 desire, I think, to go and look at the placewhere the crime was committed—the crime he committed though he can remember nothing aboutit….
“He has no money left—he is worn out…his feet lead him of his own accord to the policestation.
“But even a cornered beast will fight. Mr. Cust fully24 believes that he did the murders but hesticks strongly to his plea of innocence72. And he holds with desperation to that alibi for the secondmurder. At least that cannot be laid to his door.
“As I say, when I saw him, I knew at once that he was not the murderer and that my namemeant nothing to him. I knew, too, that he thought himself the murderer!
“After he had confessed his guilt38 to me, I knew more strongly than ever that my own theory wasright.”
“Your theory,” said Franklin Clarke, “is absurd!”
Poirot shook his head.
“No, Mr. Clarke. You were safe enough so long as no one suspected you. Once you weresuspected proofs were easy to obtain.”
“Yes. I found the stick that you used in the Andover and Churston murders in a cupboard atCombeside. An ordinary stick with a thick knob handle. A section of wood had been removed andmelted lead poured in. Your photograph was picked out from half a dozen others by two peoplewho saw you leaving the cinema when you were supposed to be on the race course at Doncaster.
You were identified at Bexhill the other day by Milly Higley and a girl from the Scarlet73 RunnerRoadhouse, where you took Betty Barnard to dine on the fatal evening. And finally — mostdamning of all—you overlooked a most elementary precaution. You left a fingerprint74 on Cust’stypewriter—the typewriter that, if you are innocent, you could never have handled.”
Clarke sat quite still for a minute, then he said:
“Rouge, impair75, manque!—you win, M. Poirot! But it was worth trying!”
With an incredibly rapid motion he whipped out a small automatic from his pocket and held itto his head.
I gave a cry and involuntarily flinched76 as I waited for the report.
But no report came—the hammer clicked harmlessly.
Clarke stared at it in astonishment77 and uttered an oath.
“No, Mr. Clarke,” said Poirot. “You may have noticed I had a new manservant today—a friendof mine—an expert sneak78 thief. He removed your pistol from your pocket, unloaded it, andreturned it, all without you being aware of the fact.”
“You unutterable little jackanapes of a foreigner!” cried Clarke, purple with rage.
“Yes, yes, that is how you feel. No, Mr. Clarke, no easy death for you. You told Mr. Cust thatyou had had near escapes from drowning. You know what that means—that you were born foranother fate.”
Words failed him. His face was livid. His fists clenched79 menacingly.
Two detectives from Scotland Yard emerged from the next room. One of them was Crome. Headvanced and uttered his time-honoured formula: “I warn you that anything you say may be usedas evidence.”
“He has said quite enough,” said Poirot, and he added to Clarke: “You are very full of an insularsuperiority, but for myself I consider your crime not an English crime at all—not aboveboard—notsporting—”



1 adversary mxrzt     
  • He saw her as his main adversary within the company.他将她视为公司中主要的对手。
  • They will do anything to undermine their adversary's reputation.他们会不择手段地去损害对手的名誉。
2 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不过是重复了你以前讲的话。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去纯粹是浪费时间。
3 sane 9YZxB     
  • He was sane at the time of the murder.在凶杀案发生时他的神志是清醒的。
  • He is a very sane person.他是一个很有头脑的人。
4 peculiar cinyo     
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
5 biased vyGzSn     
  • a school biased towards music and art 一所偏重音乐和艺术的学校
  • The Methods: They employed were heavily biased in the gentry's favour. 他们采用的方法严重偏袒中上阶级。
6 ongoing 6RvzT     
  • The problem is ongoing.这个问题尚未解决。
  • The issues raised in the report relate directly to Age Concern's ongoing work in this area.报告中提出的问题与“关心老人”组织在这方面正在做的工作有直接的关系。
7 squatting 3b8211561352d6f8fafb6c7eeabd0288     
v.像动物一样蹲下( squat的现在分词 );非法擅自占用(土地或房屋);为获得其所有权;而占用某片公共用地。
  • They ended up squatting in the empty houses on Oxford Road. 他们落得在牛津路偷住空房的境地。
  • They've been squatting in an apartment for the past two years. 他们过去两年来一直擅自占用一套公寓。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
9 deduction 0xJx7     
  • No deduction in pay is made for absence due to illness.因病请假不扣工资。
  • His deduction led him to the correct conclusion.他的推断使他得出正确的结论。
10 obviates d7fa676d68bdd5d830d6843ea9557767     
v.避免,消除(贫困、不方便等)( obviate的第三人称单数 )
  • This new evidence obviates the need for any further enquiries. 这项新证据排除了继续调查的必要。
  • The new road obviates the need to drive through the town. 有了新路,车辆不必再穿行市区了。 来自辞典例句
11 hoax pcAxs     
  • They were the victims of a cruel hoax.他们是一个残忍恶作剧的受害者。
  • They hoax him out of his money.他们骗去他的钱。
12 motive GFzxz     
  • The police could not find a motive for the murder.警察不能找到谋杀的动机。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable.他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
13 publicity ASmxx     
  • The singer star's marriage got a lot of publicity.这位歌星的婚事引起了公众的关注。
  • He dismissed the event as just a publicity gimmick.他不理会这件事,只当它是一种宣传手法。
14 alphabetical gfvyY     
  • Please arrange these books in alphabetical order.请把这些书按字母顺序整理一下。
  • There is no need to maintain a strict alphabetical sequence.不必保持严格的字顺。
15 lust N8rz1     
  • He was filled with lust for power.他内心充满了对权力的渴望。
  • Sensing the explorer's lust for gold, the chief wisely presented gold ornaments as gifts.酋长觉察出探险者们垂涎黄金的欲念,就聪明地把金饰品作为礼物赠送给他们。
16 maniac QBexu     
  • Be careful!That man is driving like a maniac!注意!那个人开车像个疯子一样!
  • You were acting like a maniac,and you threatened her with a bomb!你像一个疯子,你用炸弹恐吓她!
17 recurring 8kLzK8     
  • This kind of problem is recurring often. 这类问题经常发生。
  • For our own country, it has been a time for recurring trial. 就我们国家而言,它经过了一个反复考验的时期。
18 craving zvlz3e     
  • a craving for chocolate 非常想吃巧克力
  • She skipped normal meals to satisfy her craving for chocolate and crisps. 她不吃正餐,以便满足自己吃巧克力和炸薯片的渴望。
19 killer rpLziK     
  • Heart attacks have become Britain's No.1 killer disease.心脏病已成为英国的头号致命疾病。
  • The bulk of the evidence points to him as her killer.大量证据证明是他杀死她的。
20 incurring ccc47e576f1ce5fe49a4f373b49987ba     
遭受,招致,引起( incur的现在分词 )
  • Many of the world's farmers are also incurring economic deficits. 世界上许多农民还在遭受经济上的亏损。
  • He spoke to the Don directly, taking a chance on incurring Michael's ill will. 他直接向老头子谈自己的意见,这显然要冒引起迈克尔反感的风险。 来自教父部分
21 haphazard n5oyi     
  • The town grew in a haphazard way.这城镇无计划地随意发展。
  • He regrerted his haphazard remarks.他悔不该随口说出那些评论话。
22 motif mEvxX     
  • Alienation is a central motif in her novels.疏离感是她小说的一个重要的主题。
  • The jacket has a rose motif on the collar.这件夹克衫领子上有一朵玫瑰花的图案。
23 flirt zgwzA     
  • He used to flirt with every girl he met.过去他总是看到一个姑娘便跟她调情。
  • He watched the stranger flirt with his girlfriend and got fighting mad.看着那个陌生人和他女朋友调情,他都要抓狂了。
24 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
25 vexing 9331d950e0681c1f12e634b03fd3428b     
adj.使人烦恼的,使人恼火的v.使烦恼( vex的现在分词 );使苦恼;使生气;详细讨论
  • It is vexing to have to wait a long time for him. 长时间地等他真使人厌烦。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • Lately a vexing problem had grown infuriatingly worse. 最近发生了一个讨厌的问题,而且严重到令人发指的地步。 来自辞典例句
26 alibi bVSzb     
  • Do you have any proof to substantiate your alibi? 你有证据表明你当时不在犯罪现场吗?
  • The police are suspicious of his alibi because he already has a record.警方对他不在场的辩解表示怀疑,因为他已有前科。
27 speculations da17a00acfa088f5ac0adab7a30990eb     
n.投机买卖( speculation的名词复数 );思考;投机活动;推断
  • Your speculations were all quite close to the truth. 你的揣测都很接近于事实。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • This possibility gives rise to interesting speculations. 这种可能性引起了有趣的推测。 来自《用法词典》
28 speculation 9vGwe     
  • Her mind is occupied with speculation.她的头脑忙于思考。
  • There is widespread speculation that he is going to resign.人们普遍推测他要辞职。
29 forestalled e417c8d9b721dc9db811a1f7f84d8291     
v.先发制人,预先阻止( forestall的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She forestalled their attempt. 她先发制人,阻止了他们的企图。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I had my objection all prepared, but Stephens forestalled me. 我已做好准备要提出反对意见,不料斯蒂芬斯却抢先了一步。 来自辞典例句
30 steadily Qukw6     
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
31 discrepancy ul3zA     
  • The discrepancy in their ages seemed not to matter.他们之间年龄的差异似乎没有多大关系。
  • There was a discrepancy in the two reports of the accident.关于那次事故的两则报道有不一致之处。
32 jack 53Hxp     
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
33 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
34 precisely zlWzUb     
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
35 glimmer 5gTxU     
  • I looked at her and felt a glimmer of hope.我注视她,感到了一线希望。
  • A glimmer of amusement showed in her eyes.她的眼中露出一丝笑意。
36 temperament 7INzf     
  • The analysis of what kind of temperament you possess is vital.分析一下你有什么样的气质是十分重要的。
  • Success often depends on temperament.成功常常取决于一个人的性格。
37 proceeding Vktzvu     
  • This train is now proceeding from Paris to London.这次列车从巴黎开往伦敦。
  • The work is proceeding briskly.工作很有生气地进展着。
38 guilt 9e6xr     
  • She tried to cover up her guilt by lying.她企图用谎言掩饰自己的罪行。
  • Don't lay a guilt trip on your child about schoolwork.别因为功课责备孩子而使他觉得很内疚。
39 infinitely 0qhz2I     
  • There is an infinitely bright future ahead of us.我们有无限光明的前途。
  • The universe is infinitely large.宇宙是无限大的。
40 promising BkQzsk     
  • The results of the experiments are very promising.实验的结果充满了希望。
  • We're trying to bring along one or two promising young swimmers.我们正设法培养出一两名有前途的年轻游泳选手。
41 adventurous LKryn     
  • I was filled with envy at their adventurous lifestyle.我很羨慕他们敢于冒险的生活方式。
  • He was predestined to lead an adventurous life.他注定要过冒险的生活。
42 jeer caXz5     
  • Do not jeer at the mistakes or misfortunes of others.不要嘲笑别人的错误或不幸。
  • The children liked to jeer at the awkward students.孩子们喜欢嘲笑笨拙的学生。
43 ascertained e6de5c3a87917771a9555db9cf4de019     
v.弄清,确定,查明( ascertain的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The previously unidentified objects have now been definitely ascertained as being satellites. 原来所说的不明飞行物现在已证实是卫星。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I ascertained that she was dead. 我断定她已经死了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
44 lodgings f12f6c99e9a4f01e5e08b1197f095e6e     
n. 出租的房舍, 寄宿舍
  • When he reached his lodgings the sun had set. 他到达公寓房间时,太阳已下山了。
  • I'm on the hunt for lodgings. 我正在寻找住所。
45 bombastic gRGy0     
  • The candidate spoke in a bombastic way of all that he would do if elected.候选人大肆吹嘘,一旦他当选将要如何如何。
  • The orator spoke in a bombastic manner.这位演说家的讲话言过其实。
46 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
47 paternal l33zv     
  • I was brought up by my paternal aunt.我是姑姑扶养大的。
  • My father wrote me a letter full of his paternal love for me.我父亲给我写了一封充满父爱的信。
48 cynical Dnbz9     
  • The enormous difficulty makes him cynical about the feasibility of the idea.由于困难很大,他对这个主意是否可行持怀疑态度。
  • He was cynical that any good could come of democracy.他不相信民主会带来什么好处。
49 moss X6QzA     
  • Moss grows on a rock.苔藓生在石头上。
  • He was found asleep on a pillow of leaves and moss.有人看见他枕着树叶和苔藓睡着了。
50 seizures d68658a6ccfd246a0e750fdc12689d94     
n.起获( seizure的名词复数 );没收;充公;起获的赃物
  • Seizures of illicit drugs have increased by 30% this year. 今年违禁药品的扣押增长了30%。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Other causes of unconsciousness predisposing to aspiration lung abscess are convulsive seizures. 造成吸入性肺脓肿昏迷的其他原因,有惊厥发作。 来自辞典例句
51 insignificant k6Mx1     
  • In winter the effect was found to be insignificant.在冬季,这种作用是不明显的。
  • This problem was insignificant compared to others she faced.这一问题与她面临的其他问题比较起来算不得什么。
52 nucleus avSyg     
  • These young people formed the nucleus of the club.这些年轻人成了俱乐部的核心。
  • These councils would form the nucleus of a future regime.这些委员会将成为一个未来政权的核心。
53 consignment 9aDyo     
  • This last consignment of hosiery is quite up to standard.这批新到的针织品完全符合规格。
  • We have to ask you to dispatch the consignment immediately.我们得要求你立即发送该批货物。
54 purporting 662e1eb2718c2773c723dc9acb669891     
v.声称是…,(装得)像是…的样子( purport的现在分词 )
  • Cindy Adams (Columnist) : He's purporting to be Mother Teresa. 辛迪?亚当斯(专栏作家):他无意成为德兰修女。 来自互联网
  • To prohibit certain practices purporting to be sales by auction. 本条例旨在对看来是以拍卖方式作出的售卖中某些行为予以禁止。 来自互联网
55 accomplished UzwztZ     
  • Thanks to your help,we accomplished the task ahead of schedule.亏得你们帮忙,我们才提前完成了任务。
  • Removal of excess heat is accomplished by means of a radiator.通过散热器完成多余热量的排出。
56 intentionally 7qOzFn     
  • I didn't say it intentionally. 我是无心说的。
  • The local authority ruled that he had made himself intentionally homeless and was therefore not entitled to be rehoused. 当地政府裁定他是有意居无定所,因此没有资格再获得提供住房。
57 investigation MRKzq     
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
58 insular mk0yd     
  • A continental climate is different from an insular one.大陆性气候不同于岛屿气候。
  • Having lived in one place all his life,his views are insular.他一辈子住在一个地方,所以思想狭隘。
59 sufficiently 0htzMB     
  • It turned out he had not insured the house sufficiently.原来他没有给房屋投足保险。
  • The new policy was sufficiently elastic to accommodate both views.新政策充分灵活地适用两种观点。
60 perspicacious zM9xO     
  • It is very perspicacious of you to find the cause of the trouble so quickly.你真是明察秋毫,问题的原因这么快就找出来了。
  • He's an impartial and perspicacious judge.这位法官明镜高悬。
61 subtleties 7ed633566637e94fa02b8a1fad408072     
细微( subtlety的名词复数 ); 精细; 巧妙; 细微的差别等
  • I think the translator missed some of the subtleties of the original. 我认为译者漏掉了原著中一些微妙之处。
  • They are uneducated in the financial subtleties of credit transfer. 他们缺乏有关信用转让在金融方面微妙作用的知识。
62 annoyance Bw4zE     
  • Why do you always take your annoyance out on me?为什么你不高兴时总是对我出气?
  • I felt annoyance at being teased.我恼恨别人取笑我。
63 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
64 simplicity Vryyv     
  • She dressed with elegant simplicity.她穿着朴素高雅。
  • The beauty of this plan is its simplicity.简明扼要是这个计划的一大特点。
65 dozing dozing     
v.打瞌睡,假寐 n.瞌睡
  • The economy shows no signs of faltering. 经济没有衰退的迹象。
  • He never falters in his determination. 他的决心从不动摇。
66 doorway 2s0xK     
  • They huddled in the shop doorway to shelter from the rain.他们挤在商店门口躲雨。
  • Mary suddenly appeared in the doorway.玛丽突然出现在门口。
67 neurotic lGSxB     
  • Nothing is more distracting than a neurotic boss. 没有什么比神经过敏的老板更恼人的了。
  • There are also unpleasant brain effects such as anxiety and neurotic behaviour.也会对大脑产生不良影响,如焦虑和神经质的行为。
68 landlady t2ZxE     
  • I heard my landlady creeping stealthily up to my door.我听到我的女房东偷偷地来到我的门前。
  • The landlady came over to serve me.女店主过来接待我。
69 lapses 43ecf1ab71734d38301e2287a6e458dc     
n.失误,过失( lapse的名词复数 );小毛病;行为失检;偏离正道v.退步( lapse的第三人称单数 );陷入;倒退;丧失
  • He sometimes lapses from good behavior. 他有时行为失检。 来自辞典例句
  • He could forgive attacks of nerves, panic, bad unexplainable actions, all sorts of lapses. 他可以宽恕突然发作的歇斯底里,惊慌失措,恶劣的莫名其妙的动作,各种各样的失误。 来自辞典例句
70 thoroughly sgmz0J     
  • The soil must be thoroughly turned over before planting.一定要先把土地深翻一遍再下种。
  • The soldiers have been thoroughly instructed in the care of their weapons.士兵们都系统地接受过保护武器的训练。
71 morbid u6qz3     
  • Some people have a morbid fascination with crime.一些人对犯罪有一种病态的痴迷。
  • It's morbid to dwell on cemeteries and such like.不厌其烦地谈论墓地以及诸如此类的事是一种病态。
72 innocence ZbizC     
  • There was a touching air of innocence about the boy.这个男孩有一种令人感动的天真神情。
  • The accused man proved his innocence of the crime.被告人经证实无罪。
73 scarlet zD8zv     
  • The scarlet leaves of the maples contrast well with the dark green of the pines.深红的枫叶和暗绿的松树形成了明显的对比。
  • The glowing clouds are growing slowly pale,scarlet,bright red,and then light red.天空的霞光渐渐地淡下去了,深红的颜色变成了绯红,绯红又变为浅红。
74 fingerprint 4kXxX     
  • The fingerprint expert was asked to testify at the trial.指纹专家应邀出庭作证。
  • The court heard evidence from a fingerprint expert.法院听取了指纹专家的证词。
75 impair Ia4x2     
  • Loud noise can impair your hearing.巨大的噪音有损听觉。
  • It can not impair the intellectual vigor of the young.这不能磨灭青年人思想活力。
76 flinched 2fdac3253dda450d8c0462cb1e8d7102     
v.(因危险和痛苦)退缩,畏惧( flinch的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He flinched at the sight of the blood. 他一见到血就往后退。
  • This tough Corsican never flinched or failed. 这个刚毅的科西嘉人从来没有任何畏缩或沮丧。 来自辞典例句
77 astonishment VvjzR     
  • They heard him give a loud shout of astonishment.他们听见他惊奇地大叫一声。
  • I was filled with astonishment at her strange action.我对她的奇怪举动不胜惊异。
78 sneak vr2yk     
  • He raised his spear and sneak forward.他提起长矛悄悄地前进。
  • I saw him sneak away from us.我看见他悄悄地从我们身边走开。
79 clenched clenched     
v.紧握,抓紧,咬紧( clench的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He clenched his fists in anger. 他愤怒地攥紧了拳头。
  • She clenched her hands in her lap to hide their trembling. 她攥紧双手放在腿上,以掩饰其颤抖。 来自《简明英汉词典》