Домашнее чтение на английском языке «The Murder of Roger Ackroyd»

Agatha Christie. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (продолжение)

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Chapter 24. The Whole Truth

1. Words to remember:

  1. a sign — знак
  2. to make a sign — сделать знак
  3. a fireplace — камин
  4. a criminal  — преступник
  5. a warning — предупреждение
  6. a way out —  выход
  7. the only one way out —  только один выход
  8. discrepancy in time —  разница (расхождение) во времени
  9. an accomplice — сообщник
  10. to be on the spot — быть на месте
  11. a scene  — место действия
  12. the purpose —  цель
  13. to time the dictaphone —  запрограммировать диктофон на определенное время
  14. description of the murderer —  описание убийцы
  15. to discover — обнаружить
  16. instead of — вместо
  17. a pocket — карман

Закрытый контент сайта. Chapter 24. The Whole Truth

Poirot made me a sign that he wanted me to stay. I went up to the fireplace and sat down.

When the door closed behind the last of the guests, he came up to the fireplace. «Well, my friend,» he said, «and what do you think of it all?»

«I don’t know what to think,» I said. «Why did you do it? Why didn’t you go straight to Inspector Raglan with the truth? Instead of it you gave the criminal a warning. Now the murderer can use his time and escape.»

Poirot shook his head. «He cannot escape,» he said. «There is only one way-out — and that way does not lead to freedom.»

«Do you really believe that one of the people who were here tonight committed the murder?» I asked.


«Which one?»

There was a silence for some minutes. Then Poirot threw his cigarette into the fire and began to speak. «I will take you the way which I have travelled myself,» he said. «Step by step you will go with me and see for yourself that all the facts point to one person. Now, to begin with, there were two facts and one discrepancy in time which especially attracted my attention. The first fact was the telephone call. If it was Ralph Paton who killed his stepfather, then this telephone call is useless and absurd. Therefore, I said to myself, Ralph Paton is not the murderer.»

«When we learnt that the telephone call had come from the railway station, it was clear to me that it was made by an accomplice.

«Then I thought about the motive for the call. It was difficult. I began to think about the result of this call. The result was — that the murder was dis­covered that night instead of the following morning. Do you agree?»

«Ye-es,» I agreed. «Yes. Mr. Ackroyd himself said to several people that he did not want to be disturbed that night.»

«Very good. So, the crime was discovered that night and not the following morning because of the telephone call. Why was it important? Evidently it was important for the murderer to be at the scene of the crime when the murder was discovered. And now we come to the second fact: the big armchair which was pulled out from the wall. You remember the plan of the study which you made? If you look at it, you will see that when the armchair was pulled out, it stood in a direct line between the door and the window.»

Расположение предметов мебели в комнате, где был убит Роджер Экройд

«The window!» I said quickly.

«Yes. But the armchair didn’t hide the window. It only hid the part of the wall between the window and the floor. But remember, that just in front of the window there was a little table with books and maga­zines on it. Now that table was completely hidden by the armchair — and I suspected the truth.

«Supposing, I said to myself, the murderer had put something on that table, which he did not want to be seen? And he could not carry it away with him at the time when he committed the murder? At the same time, it was necessary to remove that thing as soon as possible after the murder had been discov­ered. And so — the telephone call, which gave the murderer the opportunity to be on the spot when the body was discovered.

«Let’s go on. Before the police arrived, four peo­ple were in the study. Yourself, Parker, Major Blunt and Raymond. I did not suspect Parker: he himself had told me about the position of the armchair. Raymond and Blunt were still under suspicion.

«Now what was that thing? And what was the purpose? As soon as I learnt that a man from a dictaphone company had come to speak to Mr. Ackroyd, I began thinking about it. You remember that everybody agreed with my theory this evening that Mr. Ackroyd used a dictaphone that night. But then — why didn’t anybody find the dictaphone in the study?»

«I never thought of that,» I said.

«It means that the dictaphone was taken away. Of course, at the first moment everybody’s attention was attracted to the murdered man, and it was easy for anybody to walk up to the table and take the dictaphone. But a dictaphone is rather big — you cannot put it into your pocket.

«Do you see my logic? The murderer was a person who came to the scene of the crime as soon as it was discovered, and he had a bag into which it was possi­ble to put the dictaphone.»

«But why did he have to remove the dictaphone?» I interrupted. «Why was it so important?»

«You are like Mr. Raymond. You are sure that Mr. Ackroyd was speaking into the dictaphone at nine-thirty. But think about the possibilities of a dictaphone. You speak into it, don’t you? And some time later you turn it on, and the voice speaks again.»

«Do you mean — »

«Yes, I mean that,» said Poirot. «At nine-thirty Mr. Ackroyd was already dead. And Mr. Raymond heard the dictaphone — not the man.»

«And the murderer turned it on. Then he was in the study at that moment?»

«Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe the murderer used some mechanical device with the help of which he turned the dictaphone on earlier and it began playing at nine-thirty. But in this case we must add some­thing to our imaginary portrait of the murderer. He must be someone who knew that Mr. Ackroyd had bought a dictaphone. And he must have the neces­sary knowledge to time the dictaphone for playing at the necessary moment.

«Then I began thinking about the footmarks on the window-sill. Here I saw three possibilities.

«(1) They were made by Ralph Paton. He was at Fernly Park that night, he got into the study through the window and found his stepfather dead there.

«(2) The footmarks were made by somebody else who had the same soles on his shoes. But I know that all the people in the house have different soles on their shoes, and Charles Kent wore boots.

«(3) Those footmarks were made specially by someone who wanted to throw suspicion on Ralph Paton.

To test this last possibility it was necessary to know certain facts. Ralph had two pairs of shoes of the same kind. One of these pairs was in the police sta­tion: the police had taken them at the Three Boars, and the people at the Three Boars had told them that Ralph had not put them on that day. Now the theory of the police was that Ralph was wearing the other pair of shoes that evening. And my theory was as I have said, that somebody else had put on that pair of shoes specially to throw suspicion on Ralph. If I wanted to prove that my theory was correct, I had to make sure that besides these two pairs of shoes, Ralph had a pair of boots. I asked your sister to find it out for me — you remember that you could not under­stand why I wanted to know the colour of Ralph’s boots.

«You know the result of your sister’s investiga­tion. Ralph Paton had a pair of boots. And the first question I asked him when he came to my house yes­terday morning was ‘What were you wearing on your feet that night?’ He answered at once that he had worn boots — he was still wearing them when he came to my house: he had nothing else to wear be­cause one pair of his shoes was in the police station and the other pair was stolen.

«So we can add something else to the description of the murderer: it is a person who had an opportunity to take these shoes from the Three Boars that day.» He made a pause. Then he spoke again. «Let us repeat everything — now that all is clear. Who is the murderer of Roger Ackroyd? It is a person who was at the Three Boars earlier that day; a person who knew that Ackroyd had bought a dictaphone; a person who could time the dictaphone for playing at an appointed time; a person who had with him a bag big enough to put the dictaphone in; a person who was alone in the study for a few minutes after the crime was discovered while Parker was telephoning for the police. In fact (your version)!»

* * *

Задания к главе 24

1.Make sure that you know the words:


  1. sign
  2. fireplace
  3. criminal
  4. warning
  5. way out
  6. accomplice
  7. scene
  8. purpose
  9. description
  10. pocket


  1. the only


  1. time
  2. discover


  1. instead of

2. Poirot mentions two facts and a discrepancy in time. What are these facts?

3. Look at the plan of the study one more time.

Кабинет Роджера Экройда

4. Now you know the name of the murderer. But why did he do that? Let us read on!

5. Ответы к заданиям для самопроверки — ПОЛУЧИТЬ

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