Dr. Armstrong stood up. He said brusquely:
“No, a man doesn’t die of a mere choking fit. Marston’s death wasn’t what we call a natural death….Everything points to one of the cyanides. No distinctive smell of Prussic Acid, possibly Potassium Cyanide. It acts pretty well instantaneously.”
If this had been an old house, with creaking wood, and dark shadows, and heavily paneled walls, there might have been an eerie feeling. But this house was the essence of modernity. There were no dark corners—no possible sliding panels—it was flooded with electric light—everything was new and bright and shining. There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it.
Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all….
With a start Dr. Armstrong woke up. It was morning. Sunlight was pouring into the room.
And someone was leaning over him—shaking him. It was Rogers. Rogers, with a white face, saying: “Doctor—doctor!... It’s the wife, doctor. I can’t get her to wake. My God! I can’t get her to wake. And—and she don’t look right to me.”
Blore nodded his head.
“I know what you’re thinking, Mr. Lombard. I’ve asked myself the same question. Motorboat ought to have been here nigh on two hours ago. It hasn’t come. Why?... It’s not an accident—that’s what I say. It’s part and parcel of the whole business. It’s all bound up together.”
Rogers swallowed again.
“It’s those little figures sir. In the middle of the table. The little china figures. Ten of them, there were. I’ll swear to that, ten of them…. Last night, when I was clearing up, there wasn’t but nine, sir. I noticed it and thought it queer. But that’s all I thought. And now, sir, this morning. I don’t notice when I laid the breakfast. I was upset and all that.
“But now, sir, when I came to clear away. See for yourself if you don’t believe me.
“There’s only eight, sir! Only eight! It doesn’t make sense, does it? Only eight ….”