The Murder on the Links

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

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Authors: Agatha Christie
magistrate had summoned Marchaud.
    â€œMy compliments to Madame Renauld, and I should be glad to speak to her for a few minutes. Beg her not to disturb herself. I will wait upon her upstairs.”
    Marchaud saluted and disappeared.
    We waited some minutes, and then, to our surprise, the door opened, and Mrs. Renauld, deathly pale in her heavy mourning, entered the room.
    M. Hautet brought forward a chair, uttering vigorous protestations, and she thanked him with a smile. Stonor was holding one hand of hers in his with an eloquent sympathy. Words evidently failed him. Mrs. Renauld turned to M. Hautet.
    â€œYou wish to ask me something?”
    â€œWith your permission, madame. I understand your husband was a French-Canadian by birth. Can you tell me anything of his youth or upbringing?”
    She shook her head.
    â€œMy husband was always very reticent about himself, monsieur. He came from the North-West, I know, but I fancy that he had an unhappy childhood, for he never cared to speak of that time. Our life was lived entirely in the present and the future.”
    â€œWas there any mystery in his past life?”
    Mrs. Renauld smiled a little and shook her head.
    â€œNothing so romantic, I am sure, monsieur.”
    M. Hautet also smiled.
    â€œTrue, we must not permit ourselves to get melodramatic. There is one thing more—” He hesitated.
    Stonor broke in impetuously:
    â€œThey’ve got an extraordinary idea into their heads, Mrs. Renauld. They actually fancy that Mr. Renauld was carrying on an intrigue with a Madame Daubreuil who, it seems, lives next door.”
    The scarlet colour flamed into Mrs. Renauld’s cheeks. She flung her head up, then bit her lip, her face quivering. Stonor stood looking at her in astonishment, but M. Bex leaned forward and said gently:
    â€œWe regret to cause you pain, madame, but have you any reason to believe that Madame Daubreuil was your husband’s mistress?”
    With a sob of anguish, Mrs. Renauld buried her face in her hands. Her shoulders heaved convulsively. At last she lifted her head and said brokenly:
    â€œShe may have been.”
    Never, in all my life, have I seen anything to equal the blank amazement on Stonor’s face. He was thoroughly taken aback.

Eleven
J ACK R ENAULD
    W hat the next development of the conversation would have been I cannot say, for at that moment the door was thrown open violently and a tall young man strode into the room.
    Just for a moment I had the uncanny sensation that the dead man had come to life again. Then I realized that this dark head was untouched with grey, and that, in point of fact, it was a mere boy who now burst in among us with so little ceremony. He went straight to Mrs. Renauld with an impetuosity that took no heed of the presence of others.
    â€œMother!”
    â€œJack!” With a cry she folded him in her arms. “My dearest! But what brings you here? You were to sail on the Anzora from Cherbourg two days ago?” Then, suddenly recalling to herself the presence of others, she turned with a certain dignity: “My son, messieurs.”
    â€œAha!” said M. Hautet, acknowledging the young man’s bow. “So you did not sail on the Anzora? ”
    â€œNo, monsieur. As I was about to explain, the Anzora was detained twenty-four hours through engine trouble. I should have sailed last night instead of the night before, but, happening to buy an evening paper, I saw in it an account of the—the awful tragedy that had befallen us—” His voice broke and the tears came into his eyes. “My poor father—my poor, poor father.”
    Staring at him like one in a dream, Mrs. Renauld repeated:
    â€œSo you did not sail?” And then, with a gesture of infinite weariness, she murmured as though to herself: “After all, it does not matter—now.”
    â€œSit down, Monsieur Renauld, I beg of you,” said M. Hautet, indicating a chair. “My sympathy

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