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Dear Write Your Own Christie forum followers,
I've just written a short story in the vein of Agatha Christie. I hope you enjoy the first chapter, please let me know if you would like to read more.
Chapter 1 56B Whitehaven Mansions, Charterhouse Square, Londres, EC1 3 DP, April 1936
Miss. Lavender waited to see Monsieur Hercule Poirot after his secretary, Miss. Lemon, let her into the airy, fashionable flat at 56B Whitehaven Mansions. She was exactly as his capable secretary had described her: in her early twenties and wearing a tweed skirt and brogues that looked a little too small. Perhaps those tight shoes they were not hers? Perhaps they were borrowed for the occasion? Northern vowels coming through despite the elocution lessons. Twin set of pearls. Surely not hers either? Perhaps an elderly relative’s? A pale cashmere sweater. A prized possession? How could she have afforded it? A present from an older, married admirer? This was perhaps where Miss. Lemon went too far, n’est-ce pas? Yes, Miss. Lemon, so perceptive in her observations, always conveyed in hushed tones before showing in his guests, could sometimes go too far:
“Here is the classic, Northern girl made good, Monsieur Poirot”.
The girl looked nervous as she entered the perfectly proportioned office, all clean lines and Art Deco objets d’art.
“Miss. Lavender,” announced Miss. Lemon.
Monsieur Poirot’s guest hovered nervously, gripping her clutch bag and gloves.
“Would you care to sit down, Mademoiselle? If you would be so kind as to tell to Hercule Poirot the reason for your visit?”
“I, I.” She hesitated.
“I, I, think I’m being poisoned.”
“And why would you think that, Mademoiselle?”
The girl looked distracted.
“A tisane, perhaps?”
“Yes, yes please. A cup of tea.” What had Auntie always said? ‘A nice cup of tea. Everything will be better after a nice cup of tea’. But where was Auntie May now?
The funny little man with the boat shaped moustache rang a silver bell on his immaculate desk, and Miss. Lemon came silently through the sliding doors into the room. Miss. Lemon was a truly excellent secretary, so rare these days, both typing letters and attending to guests so efficiently, without complaint.
“Tea, if you please, Miss. Lemon.”
After an awkward wait, Miss. Lemon came in with the tea tray.
“Shall I pour, Miss.?”
Miss. Lavender looked confused, she was not used to being waited on, rather it was she who did the waiting. Monsieur Poirot, intervened diplomatically:
“If you would be so kind, Miss. Lemon?”
“Oh, no I never. Oh yes please. Two, please. It will calm my nerves.”
‘So, Madamoiselle, tell to me your sad story from the beginning.’
Miss. Lavender recounted her mysterious tale from the advert in “The Lady” to receiving Poirot's business card at the City Hotel, Luxembourg.
“So I think I’m being poisoned.”
“And why do you think you’re being poisoned?”
“I’m getting headaches, feeling sick, I’m exhausted.”
“And who do you think is poisoning you, Mademoiselle?”
“Her, my mistress!”
“Oh don’t you see, Mr. Poirot? She’s jealous. Jealous of me and her fancy man, Major Mustard!”
“Lavender, she gives me lavender soap from a friend in Provence. I started to be sick, I mean really sick, vomiting, when I started using the soap.”
I stopped typing and looked at the sprig of Lavender on my desk, the Lavender dress hanging up ready for dinner, and recalled Madame's words: “We were never allowed to wear black evening dresses at your age. It was always pastels, pinks, blues”. Madame was truly mad if she thought I’d be frightened by some Lavender. And yet I was.