Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Body in the Bathtub: A Poirot Mystery

Hercule Poirot was enjoying a hot tisane, which he drank from a square cup in a square chair
in his satisfyingly square flat, when his manservant, the faithful George, interrupted him.
"There is an urgent phonecall from Inspector Hastings, sir," said George with an apologetic cough.
Inspector Hastings, stolid and wooden as ever, urged Poirot to hurry to Looroll Lodge,
where a terrible murder had just taken place.
"Lady Sanitée de la Bidet, a young heiress, has been found murdered in the bathroom at Looroll Lodge!
We're in a bit of a pickle, old chap, and could use your help, what what!" said the Inspector.
"Tiens!" cried the famous Belgian detective. "J'arrive, j'arrive!"

George drove Poirot at breakneck speed through the countryside.
"Mon dieu, Georges," complained the famous detective, "do not exert overdue pressure on the accelerator, I beg you!
We want to arrive at the lodge with our necks unbroken!"
Parbleu, these patent leather shoes are most uncomfortable, thought Poirot to himself
as George slowed the automobile down. But, alors, they are most stylish; I am exceedingly pleased with them.
At dinner that night, Poirot observed the residents at Looroll Lodge carefully.
There was Lord Lavender, the proprietor of the magnificent house. A famous womaniser, he had spawned an army of bastards. In a cruel genetic trick, Mother Nature had given them all Lord Lavender's signature yellow moustache, and efforts to explain them away as distant orphaned nephews and nieces were becoming more and more strained.
Lady Lavender, Lord Lavender's wife of thirty humiliating years, was a bitter woman, with a raging grudge against her husband. No amount of frantic gardening could calm her troubled soul.
Berthold Bowles, the impecunious Earl of Eau de Toilette, was a no-good wastrel. A distant relative of Lady Lavender's, he had been sponging off Lord Lavender's hospitality for longer than anyone cared to remember. Lord Lavender longed to give the young scoundrel a hefty kick in the trousers, especially as he suspected that the disappearance of a certain valuable necklace was due to Earl Bowles's long-fingered thieving,
but his guilty conscience restrained him, and he allowed the relative of his long-suffering wife to stay.

After a few days' observation, Poirot gathered everyone in the library.
"You, Lord Lavender;" he began, "desired Lady Sanitée de la Bidet. I suggest that you murdered her in a fit of rage
when she rejected your sordid advances."
"I did nothing of the kind," huffed Lord Lavender, adjusting his monocle.
"Quite right," agreed Poirot. "Actually it was you, Lady Lavender!" he exclaimed dramatically. "Jealous of Lady Sanitée's beauty and of the attention your philandering husband was giving her, you killed her in a fit of jealousy!"
"Preposterous," sniffed Lady Lavender.
"Bien sûr, preposterous. I am merely jesting," chuckled the famous Belgian detective.

"It was you, Earl Bowles! Lady Sanitée was blackmailing you! She found out that you murdered your friend Smoothblend Mixup, the distinguished manufacturer of modern mixer taps.
A stickler for tradition and poor hygiene, you hated his efficient mixer taps
and begrudged him the money he made from his successful business.
You murdered him by flinging him over the banister of his own opulent home!
To raise cash with which to pay lady Sanitée you stole Lady Lavender's necklace, but when the money ran out,
and you were unable to pay her any more, you decided to silence her forever!"

"You killed her," continued Poirot, "by drowning her in the bath, hoping it would look like an accident.
But, mon dieu, you did not count on the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot!" exclaimed the little Belgian smugly.

A few days later, back in his square flat, Poirot mused on the dramatic events at Looroll Lodge.
"Mon dieu, Georges, but that Inspector Hastings is slow! That young devil Bowles had nearly succeeded in strangling me by the time Hastings turned up to make his arrest!" Poirot shuddered.
"A cup of chocolate will restore our equilibrium, hein!"
"I shall plunge right at it, sir," replied the faithful George.

Related Reading 

Another mystery: A Christmas Mystery: The Mysterious Case of the Curse at Crapper Castle, or, Put a Lid on It, or, No Shit, Sherlock
Want more? See all Toilet Tales

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