Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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It was close on midnight when a man crossed the bakery by the corner. In spite of the handsome fur coat which grabbed his body entirely, there was something essentially weak and paltry about him.
A tall man with a face like a rat. A man, one would say, in an empire where rats ruled, he might be the king of rats. Then on the corner, the street light beamed on him and he was recognizable at once. It was our famous Scotland Yard detective Chief Inspector Greg with a package in his hands.
‘Well,’ I said, as I was by the window, ‘I think Greg is coming here to meet you.’
‘Sheppard, I think our big friend is in trouble.’ said Parker who was comforting himself on the sofa.
The electrical bell rang and George (faithful man-servant) opened the door with a discreet smile, welcoming the chief inspector.
Within few seconds the inspector removed his fur and his hat and handed it over to George. The inspector sat on the chair hastily and put the parcel on the table in front of him.
‘It is a pleasure to meet you Chief Inspector Greg,’ said Parker with a smile in his face, ‘but I didn’t expected you to be here at this time.’
‘I am sorry to disturb you mate but I am here for a case which needs to be solved.’ said the inspector hastily.
‘A case.’ murmured my friend and got lost for a minute a two.
I rose and poured a glass of sherry to the inspector for which he was craving.
‘I didn’t notice you Captain Sheppard,’ said the inspector jollily, ‘when did you returned from your ranch in Eton?’
‘A month if I have guessed correctly.’ I said.
‘Cher Inspector please tell me about the case.’ interrupted the little detective.
‘Yes,’ The inspector took a sip from his glass and continued, ‘you might have heard about the case where a girl had killed his father with poison in his coffee.’
‘Yes.’ I said and started to find the newspaper which had the article of this case from under the table. Both men looked at me with great interest and at last I exclaimed ‘Ah! Here you are.’ and grabbed the newspaper and started to find a specific page and pointed it out to the others. The column goes as follows:-
Daughter killed Father out of Vengeance
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
London, Aug. 5: Yesterday at 5:43 pm, a daughter killed her father by mixing poison in his cup of coffee. This took place at the Moore Street. The body was discovered by the victim’s wife and then was admitted in St. Bethetral Hospital where the victim was declared dead. After a long search, the daughter was found at her friend’s place. She denied the matter. Police have taken her in custody and she is suspected for the murder.
Both men finished the column and looked at each other.
‘So what is the name of our victim?’ Parker questioned, looking at the inspector.
‘His name was Antony Ball. He was a stock broker, not wealthy though.’ answered the inspector.
‘Monsieur Ball was a stock broker. Inspector, what makes you think that the daughter had killed her father?’
‘Good question.’ the inspector appreciated the comment and continued, ‘This information was provided by Mrs. Thora Ball, Mr. Ball’s wife. The night before the murder, father and the daughter had a fight and the daughter wished if she could kill her father and leave the home.’
‘And what was the fight for?’
‘Miss Elena Ball wanted to marry the person she loves but her father won’t approve him and then all the chaos started.’
‘Where was Mrs. Ball at the time of the murder?’
‘She was at her mother’s home. She has a perfect alibi which cannot be questioned.’
‘That is true but inspector will you please tell me all the facts from the beginning?’
‘You have read it in the papers,’ the inspector took a sip and continued, ‘They have given all the facts in it.’
‘Truly I don’t believe the papers,’ Parker twinkled, ‘they all want to, what you English say, spice things up.’
We both nodded.
Then Greg pulled out a small diary from his pocket and handed it over to Parker. He read something from the diary and passed it to me. I looked into the diary and found that the facts of the case were similar to the paper.
‘Nowadays we do reveal most of the facts to the press and they also try not to spice things up.’ Those words flowed out of Greg’s mouth which I thought might have irritated Parker.
Then ‘out of the blue’ Parker asked a question:
‘Is Mademoiselle Elena beautiful?’
‘Parker!’ I reproached, ‘Does this have anything with the case?’
‘Yes, that always decides her destiny.’
‘Yes she is.’ That was Inspector Greg who spoke.
‘As I guessed.’ said Parker.
‘Nothing, just my little thoughts about-’
Parker gave it away with a smile.
‘So you are going to help?’
‘Bon, I will meet Mademoiselle Elena tomorrow, ask her a few questions and then if she is on good terms I will help her.’
‘You can’t meet her. She is bound to meet anyone. It is an order from AC.’
‘But you can meet her, can’t you?’
‘Well then you will do the work for me.’
Parker rose and went to his thinking chair which was beside the window. He seated himself and closed his eyes slowly and started to draw conclusions. In the meantime, the inspector finished his sherry and I was enjoying the view outside the window. After five to ten minutes, Parker slowly opened his eyes and he smiled gently. We both looked at him as we knew that now the great detective is going to speak.
‘After thinking a lot I have drawn two conclusions. Whichever suits you will be your answer,’ Parker coughed a little and then started to speak, ‘My first conclusion is that when Monsieur Ball came to his home, he demanded coffee as usual. The coffee was made by Madame Thora Ball. Then Mademoiselle Elena mixed poison in the coffee and then voila. Monsieur Ball drank the coffee which sentenced him to his death and then Mademoiselle Elena went to his friend’s house to hide but was unsuccessful.’
‘A simple conclusion.’ murmured the inspector.
‘And the most idiotic one.’
‘Yes, I don’t know Mademoiselle Elena closely but think it out again. She killed her father and then went to her friend’s house to hide, a place where the police could find her easily. She could have run away with her lover but instead she went to her friend’s house.’
‘It might be a part of her plan?’
‘A silly plan for sure.’ laughed Parker.
‘And what is your second little idea?’ I inquired.
‘One thing is bothering me which needs to be answered.’ said the French detective.
‘And what is it?’ said Greg gravely.
‘Did Mademoiselle Elena liked coffee or not?’
‘It is not even related to the case but still I’ll ask her.’
The inspector departed and everyone retired to bed. On the following day the inspector was invited for a cup of coffee and the answer which Parker was seeking. The inspector showed up with his fancy fur on. The coffee was served by George. Parker started the conversation.
‘What did Mademoiselle Elena told you?’
‘Oh yes,’ the inspector took a sip and continued, ‘She told that she hate coffee but her father liked coffee.’
‘Voila!’ exclaimed Parker and he rose as he was going to say his second conclusion, ‘and now I am going to state my second conclusion. As usual Monsieur Ball entered his house and demanded for a cup of coffee which was already made for him. Mademoiselle Elena poured it out for her father. He drank the coffee and in a moment he was dead. By looking at this she got scared and went to her friend’s house. All of this was planned by Madame Thora Ball as she knew her daughter would be the suspect and she was also out of the house which made her into the clean sheets.’
‘But it doesn’t make any sense.’
‘Yes, it does when I add up the fact that Mademoiselle Elena hated coffee.’
‘I don’t see how?’
‘If Mademoiselle Elena liked coffee, she might have poured a little bit for herself and then both father & daughter would quarreled in heaven and then all hands would be pointed at Mrs. Thora Ball and she would be guilty. She knew this fact and used it as her advantage.’
At that moment I ignored the bad pronunciation from Parker and tried to concentrate on the facts which were utterly true. A well calculated plan laid by Mrs. Thora Ball but in the end her fate was decided by Parker Pierre.