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Death Comes To Perigord by John Ferguson

Death Comes To Perigord (1931)

by John Ferguson

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With a screech of rusty hinges the green door in the high blank wall opened and the avocat, Le Marinel, for whose house I was then looking, stepped into sight.
"Well, you know," I said, "I have a reason for thinking he may be here." "Ah, VOUS AVEZ RAISON! Like ze cat after ze mouse, you know where to look, HEIN? Now I begin to, what you call it? - smell a cat," he cried, rubbing his nose and looking around for an audience who could enjoy the joke. "VOUS AVEZ LE BEC PROPRE," I laughed, jeering in my turn. He stared back at me stupefied, his finger still held at the side of his long thin nose. At first I thought any reference to his nose must be as delicate a matter to him as it was to Cyrano de Bergerac. Possibly it was more delicate, for Catulle Coquard was certainly a criminal, which Cyrano was not, and all criminals are egoists and stuffed with vanity. But now, looking back, I think it was the sudden revelation that I was familiar enough not only with French, but with his own kind of French to use the word BEC and not NEZ for his nose that alarmed him, and set him on his guard. As a matter of fact, I had myself begun to smell a rat; but not so quickly as Catulle and, as will be apparent later, it was not the same animal.
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