first published in the UK, May 2, 1923 unillustrated, in The Sketch magazine Issue 1579
Christie wrote them following a suggestion from its editor, Bruce Ingram,
who had been impressed with the character of Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The fiancée of Philip Ridgeway asks Poirot to prove his innocence. Ridgeway is the nephew of Mr Vavasour, the joint general manager of the London and Scottish Bank and a million dollars
of bonds have gone missing whilst in his care. Poirot meets Ridgeway at the Cheshire Cheese to hear the facts of the case: Ridgeway was entrusted by his uncle and the other general manager,
Mr Shaw, with taking a million dollars of Liberty bonds to New York to extend the bank’s credit line there. The bonds were counted in Ridgeway’s presence in London, sealed in a packet and
then put in his portmanteau that had a special lock on it. The packet disappeared just a few hours before the liner on which Ridgeway was travelling, the Olympia, docked in New York.
Attempts had been made to break into the portmanteau but its lock must have then have been picked. Customs were alerted and they sealed the ship that they then searched but to no avail.
The thief was selling the bonds in New York so quickly that one dealer swears to buying some bonds before the ship docked. Poirot then questions the two general managers who confirm this
story. He then travels to Liverpool where the Olympia has just returned from another crossing and the stewards confirm the presence of an elderly man wearing glasses in the cabin next to
Ridgeway, who never left it.
Poirot meets back with Ridgeway and his fiancée and explains the case to them. The real bonds were never in the portmanteau. Instead they were posted to New York on another faster
liner, the Gigantic, which arrived before the Olympia. The confederate at the other end had instructions to begin selling the bonds only when the Olympia docked but he failed to
carry out his orders properly, hence one sale took place half an hour before docking. In the portmanteau was a false packet that the real villain took out with a duplicate key and
threw overboard – this was Mr Shaw who claims he was off work for two weeks due to bronchitis whilst these events transpired. Poirot caught him by asking if he can smoke a cigar, a
request which Mr. Shaw should have declined with his bronchitis problem. Shaw said yes. Hence he is the mastermind of the entire theft.
run time: 21 minutes 12 seconds
This item was donated by the Friends of the Dunnellon Library, Dunnellon, Florida
to be placed in this forum so our Service Veterans may enjoy it.
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