The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly
‘You can understand the feelings of a mother,’ said Mrs Waverly for perhaps the sixth
She looked appealingly at Poirot. My little friend, always sympathetic to motherhood in
Distress, gesticulated reassuringly.
‘But yes, but yes, I comprehend perfectly. Have faith in Papa Poirot.’
‘The police – ‘ began Mr Waverly.
His wife waved the interruption aside. ‘I won’t have anything more to do with the police.
We trusted to them and look what happened! But I’d heard so much of M. Poirot and the
Wonderful things he’d done, that I felt he might possibly be able to help us. A mother’s
Feelings – ‘
Poirot hastily stemmed the reiteration with an eloquent gesture. Mrs Waverly’s emotion
Was obviously genuine, but it assorted strangely with her shrewd, rather hard type of
Countenance. When I heard later that she was the daughter of a prominent steel
Manufacturer who had worked his way up in the world from an office boy to his present
Eminence, I realized that she had inherited many of the paternal qualities.
Mr Waverly was a big, florid, jovial‐looking man. He stood with his legs straddled wide
Apart and looked the type of the country squire.
‘I suppose you know all about this business, M. Poirot?’
The question was almost superfluous. For some days past the papers had been full of the
Sensational kidnapping of little Johnnie Waverly, the three‐year‐old son and heir of
Marcus Waverly, Esq., of Waverly Court, Surrey, one of the oldest families in England. ‘The main facts I know, of course, but recount to me the whole story, monsieur, I beg of
You. And in detail if you please.’
‘Well, I suppose the beginning of the whole thing was about ten days ago when I got an
Anonymous letter – beastly things, anyway – that I couldn’t make head or tail of. The
Writer had the impudence to demand that I should pay him twenty‐five thousand
Pounds – twenty‐five thousand pounds, M. Poirot! Failing my agreement, he threatened to
Kidnap Johnnie. Of course I threw the thing into the wastepaper basket without more ado.
Thought it was some silly joke. Five days later I got another letter. “Unless you pay, your
Son will be kidnapped on the twenty‐ninth.” That was on the twenty‐seventh. Ada was
Worried, but I couldn’t bring myself to treat the matter seriously. Damn it all, we’re in
England. Nobody goes about kidnapping children and holding them up to ransom.’
‘It is not a common practice, certainly,’ said Poirot. ‘Proceed, monsieur.’ ‘Well, Ada gave me no peace, so – feeling a bit of a fool – I laid the matter before Scotland
Yard. They didn’t seem to take the thing very seriously – inclined to my view that it was
Some silly joke. On the twenty‐eighth I got a third letter. “You have not paid. Your son will
Be taken from you at twelve o’clock noon tomorrow, the twenty‐ninth. It will cost you fifty
Thousand pounds to recover him.” Up I drove to Scotland Yard again. This time they were
More impressed. They inclined to the view that the letters were written by a lunatic, and
That in all probability an attempt of some kind would be made at the hour stated. They
Assured me that they would take all due precautions. Inspector McNeil and a sufficient
Force would come down to Waverly on the morrow and take charge.’
‘I went home much relieved in mind. Yet we already had the feeling of being in a state of