Mr. Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host, but he was a man of whome everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Hercule Poirot that he considered murder and art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether ...
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William Morrow Paperbacks
July 04, 2005
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Excerpt from Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
Chapter 1: Mr Shaitana
'My dear M. Poirot!'
It was a soft purring voice -- a voice used deliberately as an instrument -- nothing impulsive or premeditated about it.
Hercule Poirot swung round.
He shook hands ceremoniously.
There was something in his eye that was unusual. One would have said that this chance encounter awakened in him an emotion that he seldom had occasion to feel.
'My dear Mr Shaitana,' he said.
They both paused. They were like duellists en garde.
Around them a well-dressed languid London crowd eddied mildly. Voices drawled or murmured.
'Darling -- exquisite!'
'Simply divine, aren't they, my dear?'
It was the Exhibition of Snuff-Boxes at Wessex House. Admission one guinea, in aid of the London hospitals.