Potugal's first detective novel which now has classic status
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||557 KB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
To the Editor of the Diário de Notícias
Sir,?I am placing in your hands my personal account of an extraordinary affair in which I became involved in my capacity as a doctor, and I ask that you publish - in whatever way you deem appropriate - at least the substance of what I set before you.?So grave, so veiled in mystery, so seemingly steeped in criminality are the events I am about to describe, that I feel it is vital to make the facts available to the general public, as a way of providing the only key to unlocking what seems to me a truly horrifying drama, even though I was only present at one act, and know nothing of the preceding scenes, nor how it may end.?Three days ago, I was travelling back to Lisbon from the outskirts of Sintra in the company of F., a friend of mine, at whose house I had been staying for a few days.?We were riding horses kept by F. on his estate and which were due to be returned to Sintra by a servant who had set off for Lisbon the previous evening.?It was late afternoon as we crossed the moors. The melancholy of both the hour and the place coloured our mood, and we gazed silently about us as we trotted slowly along.?About halfway between São Pedro and Cacém - at a deserted spot whose name I do not know because I so seldom pass that way - we came across a coach stopped in the road.?It was a coupé, painted dark green and black and drawn by a pair of chestnut horses.?The coachman, who wore no uniform, was standing in front of the horses with his back to us.?Two fellows were bent over the wheels on the side of the coach we had to pass, and seemed to be intently studying some detail of the steering mechanism.?A fourth individual, also with his back to us, was standing near the ditch on the other side of the road, where he appeared to be looking for something, perhaps a stone to place beneath the wheel.?‘It’s all down to the disgraceful state of this road,’ observed my friend. ‘The axle’s probably broken or else a wheel’s come adrift from the hub.’?By this time, we were passing between the three men I mentioned, and F.’s conjectures had barely left his lips when the horse I was riding veered suddenly and fell to the ground.?The man beside the ditch, and to whom I had paid little attention, being too engrossed in studying the stationary carriage, had caused my horse to fall by snatching at its reins and tugging as hard as possible, while, simultaneously, driving the animal in the opposite direction with a hefty kick to its flank.