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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Christie Agatha
 

«Death On The Nile», Agatha Christie

Part One

Chapter 1

Linnet Ridgeway!

"That's Her." saidMr.Burnaby, the landlord of the Three Crowns.

He nudged his companion.

The two men stared with round bucolic eyes and slightly open mouths.

A big scarlet Rolls-Royce had just stopped in front of the local post office.

A girl jumped out, a girl without a hat and wearing a frock that looked (but only looked) simple. A girl with golden hair and straight autocratic features-a girl with a lovely shape-a girl such as was seldom seen in MaltonunderWode.

With a quick imperative step she passed into the post office.

"That's her!'! saidMr.Burnabyagain. And he went on in a low awed voice.

"Millions she's got… Going to spend thousands on the place. Swimming pools there's going to be, and Italian gardens and a ballroom and a half of the house pulled down and rebuilt…" "She'll bring money into the town," said his friend.

He was a lean seedy-looking man. His tone was envious and grudging.

Mr.Burnabyagreed.

"Yes, it's a great thing for Malton-under-Wode. A great thing it is."Mr.Burnabywas complacent about it. "Wake us all up proper," he added.

"Bit of a difference fromSirGeorge," said the other.

"Ah, it was the 'orses did for him," saidMr.Burnabyindulgently. "Never 'ad no luck." "What did he get for the place?" "A cool sixty thousand, so I've heard." The lean man whistled.

Mr.Burnabywent on triumphantly: "And they say she'll have spent another sixty thousand before she's finished!" "Wicked!" said the lean man. "Where'd she get all that money from?" "America, so I've heard. Her mother was the only daughter of one of those millionaire blokes. Quite like the pictures, isn't it?" The girl came out of the post office and climbed into the car.

As she drove off the lean man followed her with his eyes.

He muttered: "It seems all wrong to me--her looking like that. Money and looks-it's too much! Ifa girl's as rich as that she's no right to be a good-looker as well. And she is a good-looker… Got everything that girl has. Doesn't seem fair…" ii

Extract from the social column of the Daily Blague.

"Among those supping at Chez Ma Tante I noticed beautiful Linnet Ridgeway. She was with theHon.JoannaSouthwood,LordWindleshamand Mr.

TobyBryce.MissRidgeway, as everyone knows, is the daughter ofMelhuishRidgewaywho marriedAnnaHartz. She inherits from her grandfather,LeopoldHartz, an immense fortune. The lovely Linnet is the sensation of the moment, and it is rumoured that an engagement may be announced shortly. CertainlyLordWindleshamseemed very pris!"

TheHon.JoannaSouthwoodsaid: "Darling, I think it's going to be all perfectly marvellous!" She was sitting in Linnet Ridgeway's bedroom at Wode Hall.

From the window the eye passed over the gardens to open country with blue shadows of woodlands.

"It's rather perfect, isn't it?" said Linnet.

She leaned her arms on the window-sill. Her face was eager, alive, dynamic.

Beside her,JoannaSouthwoodseemed, somehow, a little dim-a tall, thin young woman of twenty-seven, with a long clever face and freakishly plucked eyebrows.

"And you've done so much in the time! Did you have lots of architects and things?" "Three." "What are architects like? I don't think I've ever met any." "They were all right. I found them rather unpractical sometimes." "Darling, you soon put that right! You are the most practical creature!"Joannapicked up a string of pearls from the dressing-table.

"I suppose these are real, aren't they, Linnet?" "Of course." "I know it's 'of course' to you, my sweet, but it wouldn't be to most people.

Heavily cultured or evenWoolworth! Darling, they really are incredible, so exquisitely matched. They must be worth the most fabulous sums!" "Rather vulgar, you think?" "No, not at all-just pure beauty. What are they worth?" "About fifty thousand." "What a lovely lot of money! Aren't you afraid of having them stolen?" "No, I always wear them-and anyway they're insured." "Let me wear them till dinner-time, will you, darling? It would give me such a thrill." Linnet laughed.

"Of course, if you like." "You know, Linnet, I really do envy you. You've simply got everything…Here you are at twenty, your own mistress, with any amount of money, looks, superb health. You've even got brains! When are you twenty-one?" "Next June. I shall have a grand coming-of-age party inLondon." "And then are you going to marryCharlesWindlesham? All the dreadful little gossip writers are getting so excited about it. And he really is frightfully devoted." Linnet shrugged her shoulders.

"I don't know. I don't really want to marry any one yet." "Darling, how right you are! It's never quite the same afterwards, is it?"

The telephone shrilled and Linnet went to it.

"Yes? Yes?" The butler's voice answered her.


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