Sheiks And Adders (Sir John Appleby, Book 33)
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When half of the guests at a charity masquerade fete at Drool Court turn up dressed as sheiks, it must be more than pure coincidence. One of them is the real thing, however, and Sir John Appleby, master detective, discovers that he is in grave danger. When one of the pseudo-sheiks is murdered, Appleby finds himself in the midst of an international political crisis.
concern, and he might well be there now, supervising the final arrangements. Having some curiosity about Cherry’s heavy father, Appleby moved in that direction again. The lawns in front of the mansion were crowded – so crowded that any individual was liable to vanish from view seconds after one sighted him. Prudent persons were already entering a large marquee in the hope, if not of champagne, at least of strawberries and cream. There was a prematurely expectant crowd round the hot-air
reluctant to agree to your request. It would be a most awkward yarn with which to return to Oxford. No, really – I think you must hold me excused, Mr – Dear me! I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.’ ‘Appleby. John Appleby.’ ‘Great God in heaven!’ The herpetologist (whose own name we know to be Gillam) produced this profane ejaculation with sudden extraordinary energy. ‘Sir John Appleby! My dear sir, your name is a legend among us. In the senior common room of my college, that is; and it
altogether happily, in the middle of Lady Appleby’s shrub roses. (There were to be a few survivors among the Fantin Latours, but the Nuits de Young proved annihilated for good.) The effect was as if some monstrous and garish bloom from science fiction’s outer space had suddenly crashed down upon the carefully cultivated wild garden of Long Dream Manor. It was unlikely that Judith Appleby would be amused. As for Sir John and the Emir Hafrait, they were considerably shaken, terra firma seeming
want it that way, either.’ ‘Is Tibby your brother?’ Appleby asked innocently. ‘Tibby is not my brother.’ Miss Chitfield stamped her foot again. ‘My brother is Mark, and he’s quite horrid. Tibby is a friend of mine, and he’s to do the rescuing. But we both think it’s silly. At least I do, and Tibby agrees with me.’ Cherry paused, as if to lend emphasis to this material distinction. ‘I want to be a girl just like I am – or almost just like I am – and to be carried off by a sheik.’
it wouldn’t be rather fun,’ she added. ‘You’d scare them all stiff.’ ‘I’m far from wanting to do that.’ ‘John, is there anything sensible you do want to do about this affair?’ ‘Well, yes – I believe there is.’ Appleby hesitated. ‘There was something odd about the way that girl was upset. You might say I’m minded to take a second bite at the Cherry.’ ‘Very well.’ Lady Appleby, if not particularly diverted by this joke, appeared to judge it tactful to acquiesce in any proposal