Poirot: Zut alors. I must complement you, madame. Your color, it is excellent. And you did not even commence to faint. For one who...
Woman: I don't fall apart in a crisis, if that's what you mean. And furthermore, I'm not madame, I'm mademoiselle. By choice. Miss Abigail Fletcher. (Over the sound of someone telephoning.) And now, if you'll get that...uh, corpse out of here, I'd like to sit down.
Poirot: That I regret I cannot do, mam'selle. The body must not be touched before the police arrive.
Miss Fletcher: Police!
Poirot: Well yes, of course, the police. I am calling them now. 'Allo, allo? Ah, inspector Stevens. It is I, Hercule Poirot. Alas, no, I have not yet found the apartment. But I have found something of perhaps more interest. A corpse. Hm, right here in my hotel. Room number...
Miss Fletcher: (from far away) 515.
Number 5 fif-. Mamselle! What are you doing with the body?
Miss Fletcher: Nuthin. I was just trying to see his face.
Poirot: You will have that opportunity later. Pardon, inspector. We are room 515. Bien. We shall expect you immediately. (hangs up phone) Eh, bien, Miss Fletcher. Now that you have observed the face of this unfortunate one, perhaps you will be good enough to tell me who he is?
Miss Fletcher: I certainly will not! Who do you think you are?
Poirot: Ah, mamselle, permit me to present myself, I am Hercule Poirot. Formerly chief of the Belgian Surete.
Miss Fletcher: Yeah? That's what you say. Now look, Mr. Porroh, I've read plenty of detective stories and none of 'em had a detective that looked anythin' like you. I'll wait for the police and let them ask the questions.
Poirot: As you desire, mamselle. I merely wish to point out one thing. It is you the police will question first.
Miss Fletcher: Me?
Poirot: But of course. You are the most likely suspect, no?
Miss Fletcher: Well, all right. What do you want to know?
Poirot: First, what are you doing here in this hotel?
Miss Fletcher: Why, I've lived here for ten solid years! Ever since I left Waskuskego, Maine!
Poirot: And what do you do? What is your occupation?
Miss Fletcher: Why...why I...don't have any occupation. I've got a little income and...I like it here in New York and the last few years I've been doing...war work....Red Cross and things like that.
Poirot: You seem a trifle vague, mamselle. Now, about this man. Who is he?
Miss Fletcher: I don't know! I never saw him before in my life!
Poirot: Mamselle, I advise you to consider your answers with care. Do not forget, a man lies dead in this room.
Miss Fletcher: I can't help that. I don't know who he is or how he got here. I toldja I was out of the room for ...ten minutes.
Poirot: That may be, Miss Fletcher, but it does not help you. This man has been dead for at least one hour.
Miss Fletcher: How do you know?
Poirot: If you will touch the body you will observe it is already beginning to cool. Therefore, mamselle, if you left this room only ten minutes ago, your situation is indeed grave, for this man was already dead!
Miss Fletcher: Oh! But ...I couldn't have done it!
Poirot: So? And why not?
Miss Fletcher: Because his body was lying right across the doorway. You know perfectly well I couldn't get out through this doorway and still leave a body wedged against it! Belgian surety indeed!
Poirot: Hm. Very good, mamselle. But, you could have murdered him in here, made your departure by way of this fire escape through the room overhead, and come down inside the building to this corridor, where you so innocently made my acquaintance. You see, there is evidence that the fire escape has but recently been used. Now, it is not so amusing, eh? Miss Fletcher: Well, I don't care. I had nothing to do with this. I know you detectives, you are out to get a suspect, and just because a man was murdered in my room... Poirot: Gently, gently, mamselle. All is not lost. Fortunately, you deal with Hercule Poirot, who goes one step beyond the obvious. You see, this poor man was not murdered in your room. He was killed in the room overhead! Miss Fletcher: But why? Why kill him upstairs and leave him on my doorstep? Poirot: That, mamselle, we shall discover in due course.
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