Just ahead of Episode Eight of our current Tale for Our Time, a word from your host:
As I predicted a year ago just ahead of the US election, things are deteriorating very fast on the free-speech front - in North America, Europe, and the rest of the west. If you listen to the BBC, the only problem with COP-26 is that it doesn't go far enough - just as the only problem last month's faux Facebook "whistleblower" had with Zuckerberg was that he didn't censor enough. Increasingly, the only opposition permitted by "social media" is people who wholly agree with the official view except that they want even more of it. Meanwhile, even suggesting that Kyle Rittenhouse will be acquitted or should not have been put on trial is enough to get you bounced on Twitter.
In this grim world, I thank all of you who keep this l'il ol' website and its various activities part of your daily rounds. I so miss the Internet of yore and the heyday of independent bloggers in the early years of this century - before the woketalitarians seized control and tightened the screws. We stagger on for as long as we can.
I'm particularly touched in such an environment by the geographic range of our correspondents. After yesterday's musings by Veronica in Auckland on Dorcas, the housemaid in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Robert in Ottawa, a First Fortnight Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, responds:
For the demise of Dorcas Beatrix Potter may well bear a share of the blame. My first encounter with the name was Little Pig Robinson's aunts Dorcas and Porcas.
Might as well name a child Nutkin.....
And with that on to tonight's episode of Agatha Christie's first novel. Hercule Poirot today explains why he's always ten steps ahead of Captain Hastings:
"Another point—how did you know that the key of the despatch-case had been lost?"
"I did not know it. It was a guess that turned out to be correct... On her bunch I found what was obviously the duplicate key, very new and bright, which led me to the hypothesis that somebody else had inserted the original key in the lock of the despatch-case."
"Yes," I said, "Alfred Inglethorp, without doubt."
Poirot looked at me curiously.
"You are very sure of his guilt?"
"Well, naturally. Every fresh circumstance seems to establish it more clearly."
"On the contrary," said Poirot quietly, "there are several points in his favour."
"Oh, come now!"
"I see only one."
"That he was not in the house last night."
"'Bad shot!' as you English say! You have chosen the one point that to my mind tells against him."
Poor old Hastings: one bad shot after another.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Episode Eight by clicking here and logging-in.
Earlier instalments of The Mysterious Affair at Styles can be found here - and, if your tastes incline to the more obviously timely, my serialization of Nineteen Eighty-Four starts here.
Thank you again for all your comments, thumbs up or down, on this latest tale. Very much appreciated. If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for Part Nine of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
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