Three young women share a London flat. The first is a coolly efficient personal secretary; the second an artist. The third interrupts Hercule Poirot's breakfast of 'Brioche' and 'Chocolat' insisting she is a murderer ' and then promptly disappears.
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William Morrow Paperbacks
April 30, 2000
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Excerpt from Third Girl by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot was sitting at the breakfast table. At his right hand was a steaming cup of chocolate. He had always had a sweet tooth. To accompany the chocolate was a brioche. It went agreeably with chocolate. He nodded his approval. This was from the fourth shop he had tried. It was a Danish p ' tisserie but infinitely superior to the so-called French one nearby. That had been nothing less than a fraud.
He was satisfied gastronomically. His stomach was at peace. His mind also was at peace, perhaps somewhat too much so. He had finished his Magnum Opus, an analysis of great writers of detective fiction. He had dared to speak scathingly of Edgar Allen Poe, he had complained of the lack of method or order in the romantic outpourings of Wilkie Collins, had lauded to the skies two American authors who were practically unknown, and had in various other ways given honour where honour was due and sternly withheld it where he considered it was not. He had seen the volume through the press, had looked upon the results and, apart from a really incredible number of printer's errors, pronounced that it was good. He had enjoyed this literary achievement and enjoyed the vast amount of reading he had had to do, had enjoyed snorting with disgust as he flung a book across the floor (though always remembering to rise, pick it up and dispose of it tidily in the waste-paper basket) and had enjoyed appreciatively nodding his head on the rare occasions when such approval was justified.
And now He had had a pleasant interlude of relaxation, very necessary after his intellectual labour. But one could not relax for ever, one had to go on to the next thing. Unfortunately he had no idea what the next thing might be. Some further literary accomplishment He thought not. Do a thing well then leave it alone. That was his maxim. The truth of the matter was, he was bored. All this strenuous mental activity in which he had been indulging ' there had been too much of it. It had got him into bad habits, it had made him restless '
Vexatious! He shook his head and took another sip of chocolate.