Passenger to Frankfurtby Agatha Christie
At Frankfurt Airport, a mysterious young woman seeks SirStafford Nye's aid on a secret mission of the utmost urgencyWith his own life in grave danger, the diplomat works touncover a conspiracy for global domination mastermindedby a cunning murderer See more details below
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At Frankfurt Airport, a mysterious young woman seeks SirStafford Nye's aid on a secret mission of the utmost urgencyWith his own life in grave danger, the diplomat works touncover a conspiracy for global domination mastermindedby a cunning murderer
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PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT
"Fasten your seat belts, please." The diverse passengers in the plane were slow to obey. There was a general feeling that they couldn't possibly be arriving at Geneva yet. The drowsy groaned and yawned. The more than drowsy had to be gently roused by an authoritative stewardess.
"Your seat belts, please."
The dry voice came authoritatively over the intercom. It explained in German, in French, and in English that a short period of rough weather would shortly be experienced. Sit Stafford Nye opened his mouth to its full extent, yawned and pulled himself upright in his seat. He had been dreaming very happily of fishing an English river.
He was a man of forty-five, of medium height, with a smooth, olive, clean -- shaven face, In dress he rather liked to affect the bizarre. A man of excellent family, he felt fully at ease indulging any such sartorial whims. If it made the more conventionally dressed of his colleagues wince occasionally, that was merely a source of malicious pleasure to him. There was something about him of the eighteenth-century buck. He liked to he noticed.
His particular kind of affectation when travelling was a kind of bandit's cloak which he had once purchased in Corsica. It was of a very dark, purply blue, had a scarlet lining and a kind of burnous hanging down behind which he could draw up over his head when he wished to, so as to obviate draughts.
Sir Stafford Nye had been a disappointment in diplomatic circles. Marked out in early youth by his gifts for great things, he had singularly failed to fulfill his early promise. A peculiar and diabolical senseof humor was wont to afflict him in what should have been his most serious moments. When it came to the point, he found that he always preferred to indulge his delicate Puckish malice to boring himself. He was a well-known figure in public life without ever having reached eminence. It was felt that Stafford Nye, though definitely brilliant, was not -- arid presumably never would be -- a safe man. In these days of tangled politics and tangled foreign relations, safety, especially if one were to reach ambassadorial rank, was preferable to brilliance. Sir Stafford Nye was relegated to the shelf, though he was occasionally entrusted with such missions as needed the art of intrigue, but were not of too important or public a nature. journal, ists sometimes referred to him as the dark horse of diplomacy.
Whether Sir Stafford himself was disappointed with his own career, nobody ever knew. Probably not even Sir Stafford himself. He was a man of a certain vanity, but he was also a man who very much enjoyed indulging his own proclivities for mischief.
He was returning now from a commission of inquiry in Malaya. He had found it singularly lacking in interest. His colleagues had, in his opinion, made up their minds beforehand what their findings were going to be. They saw and they listened, but their preconceived views were not affected. Sir Stafford had thrown a few spanners into the works, more for the hell of it than from any pronounced convictions. At all events, he thought, it had livened things up. He wished there were more possibility ties of doing that sort of thing. His fellow members of the commission had been sound, dependable fellows, and remarkably dull. Even the well-known Mrs. Nathaniel Edge, the only woman member, well known as having bees in her bonnet, was no fool when it came down to plain facts. She saw, she listened and she played safe.
He had met her before on the occasion of a problem to be solved in one of the Balkan capitals. It was there that Sir Stafford Nye had not been able to refrain from embarking barking on a few interesting suggestions. In that scandal loving periodical Inside News it was insinuated that Sit Stafford Nye's presence in that Balkan capital was inti. mately connected with Balkan problems, and that his mission was a secret one of the greatest delicacy. A kind friend had sent Sir Stafford a copy of this with the relevant passage marked. Sir Stafford was not taken aback, He read it with a delighted grin. It amused him very much to reflect how ludicrously far from the truth the journalists were on this occasion. His presence in Sofiagrad had been due entirely to a blameless interest in the rarer wild flowers and to the urgencies of an elderly friend of his, Lady Lucy Cleghorn, who was indefatigable in her quest for these shy floral rarities, and who at any moment would scale a rock cliff or leap joyously into a bog at the sight of some flowerlet, the length of whose Latin name was in inverse proportion to its size.
A small band of enthusiasts had been pursuing this botanical search on the slopes of mountains for about ten days when it occurred to Sir Stafford that it was a pity the paragraph was not true. He was a little -- just a little -- tired of wild flowers and, fond as he was of dear Lucy, her ability, despite her sixty-odd years, to race up hills at top speed easily outpacing him, sometimes annoyed him. Always just in front of him he saw the seat of those bright royal-blue trousers and Lucy, though scraggy enough elsewhere, goodness knows, was decidedly too broad in the beam to wear royal-blue corduroy trousers. A nice little international pie, he had thought, in which to dip his fingers, in which to play about . . .
In the airplane the metallic intercom voice spoke again. It told the passengers that owing to heavy fog at Geneva, the plane would be diverted to Frankfurt airport and proceed from there to London. Passengers to Geneva would be re-routed from Frankfurt as soon as possible. It made no difference to Sir Stafford Nye. If there...
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Meet the Author
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976. Sophie Hannah is the internationally bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers, which have been published in more than 20 countries and adapted for television. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and as a poet has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
- Date of Birth:
- September 15, 1890
- Date of Death:
- January 12, 1976
- Place of Birth:
- Torquay, Devon, England
- Home schooling
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If you're looking for thrills, go to a movie. But there's a reason Agatha Christie detective classics are immortal: She does not disappoint. Her timing is perfect. A worldly diplomat hands his passport to an unassuming stranger and the oddyssy begins. The detective enters at precisely the right moment and gathers clues methodically, Christie style. I've read every Agatha Christie on the market and rate this one as The Ultimate in suspense.