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“Lomas was poisoned, shaved after death, and placed in the river. He is full of whisky and the post-mortem examination will undoubtedly prove that cocaine was in the alcohol. The murderer worked on him with a lavish hand, one so lavish that it may eventually prove to be his undoing.”

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If Lesley Dexter had not been a snob her husband might have lived out his three-score-and-ten years.

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“Death has no manners as a general rule. In this instance he was a reformed character, and knocked twice before entering.”

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“Inspector, it’s—it’s dastardly!”

“Mrs. Huntingdon,” said Knollis, “your choice of words is admirable!”

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Madeleine Burke is prepared to swear that she was Dr. Challoner’s last patient on Tuesday evening, and that he was alive and in good spirits when she bade him good night.

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He shone the torch into the depths of the well. There was water at the foot of the shaft. Something dark and mis-shapen was huddled against the brickwork.

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“He’s dead all right. Taken him clean through the heart. It’s murder, Rose!

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Frank Jennings was a keen murder-mystery fan, but no one was more surprised than he to find himself mixed up in a murder mystery in real life, and that the victim was the wife of one of his own neighbours.

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“Where are you going?” asked Knollis, as Brother Ignatius pushed back his chair.

“To try to prevent a murder.”

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Grayson tipped back his head, and stared at the ceiling. Herby was certainly not liked, but who on earth, apart from himself, hated him sufficiently to think of murder

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As Travers’s finger touched the dead hand, he felt the warmth, and wondered if the man were still alive. Then he saw the knife that stuck sideways in the ribs.

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An attendant had come in with the cage. He stooped and held the rope taut. The cage door was opened, Jules called from high in the roof and at once the rat began to climb. Then something went wrong. All at once Auguste scampered down and shot back into his cage.

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The tea had brought a pleasant warmth and Travers snuggled down in bed. Once more he was busy with something that had vastly cheered him of late—a perfect scheme for the murder of Stirrop.

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The curtain had been drawn back and there was the bed. Wharton and a stranger were standing by it, and when Wharton moved to meet me, I saw on the bed the body of Penelope Craye.

“She’s dead,” I said.

Wharton merely nodded.

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What was I to be this time? A Commandant again of a Prisoner of War Camp? Was I to get a sedentary job at the War Office itself, and begin the slow process of fossilisation? Was I due for some wholly new job of which the rank and file had never even heard? As it turned out, I most certainly was.

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“Good God!” I was staring like a lunatic. “Murdered, you say? When?”

“Less than half an hour ago, sir.”

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“Is he bad, sir?”

“Worse than that,” I said. “In fact, he’s dead.”

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“It’s about a murder. . . . Here. Five Oaks, they call it. . . . A man, he’s murdered. . . . Oh, no, it isn’t a joke. I wish it was. . . . I said I wished it was. . . . You’ll send someone at once?”

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It wasn’t I who discovered the body. I want to make that perfectly clear, if only for the benefit of a couple of club acquaintances of mine.

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““This is something desperately secret,” she said. “Something I want you to do for me . . . But I can’t tell you now. It’s something I’m frightened about.”

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“Send someone here quick. There’s been a murder!”

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Travers turned to Wharton. “I ask you, George, as a man of the world—do schoolmasters and mistresses have souls full of glamour and passion and intrigue? Are they torn by the same emotions that rend people like us?”

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“Murder is easy. It’s child’s play to commit murder and get away with it.”

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Murder on Mondays! Greatest prophecy of the century! T.P. Luffham was murdered!

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“It’s terrible. It’s a body . . . the head cut off . . . and the hands.”

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Travers looked down at the thing that sprawled. The head gave a last movement, and there was a faint sound like a tired moan. The time was eight minutes to eight.

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“You needn’t look impatient, sir. He’ll be finished with you long before dinner.ˮ

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‘I judge him to have been dead just about twenty-four hours. Suicide, almost certainly.’

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Palmer saw him out, and gave that little deprecatory cough.

“If you’ll pardon me, sir, is it another murder?”

“Looks like it,” Travers told him from the door.

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“George Wharton said he hoped I’d have a nice murder for you.”

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