The Witness for the Prosecution

Agatha Christie is a well-known author. In this particular story the action takes place in a small town of Cricklewood. The plot is psychological and enigmatic. So we together with the author follow the dialogues of the characters and the speculations of the solicitor and in the long run we have to make up our own mind of the traditional question asked by the judge opening every trial: "Do you plead guilty or not guilty?"



Mr. Mayherne adjusted his pince-nez and cleared his throat. Then he looked again at the man opposite him, the man charged with willful murder.

Mr. Mayherne was a small man, precise in manner, neatly, not to say foppishly dressed, with a pair of very shrewd and piercing grey eyes. By no means a fool. Indeed, as a solicitor, Mr. Mayherne's reputation stood very high. His voice, when he spoke to his client, was dry but not unsympathetic.

"I must impress upon you again that you are in very grave danger, and that the utmost frankness is necessary."

Leonard Vole transferred his glance to the solicitor.

"I know," he said hopelessly. "You keep telling me so. But I can't realize yet that I'm charged with murder, murder. And such a dastardly crime, too."

Mr. Mayherne was practical, not emotional. He coughed again, took off his pince-nez, polished them carefully, and replaced them on his nose. Then he said, "Yes, yes, yes. Now, my dear Mr. Vole, we're going to make a determined effort to get you off — and we shall succeed — we shall succeed. But I must have all the facts. I must know just how damaging the case against you is likely to be. Then we can fix upon the best line of defence."

Still the young man looked at him in the same dazed, hopeless fashion. To Mr. Mayherne the case had seemed black enough, and the guilt of the prisoner assured. Now, for the first time, he felt a doubt.

"You think I'm guilty," said Leonard Vole in a low voice. "But, by God, I swear. I'm not. It looks pretty black against me, I know that. I'm like a man caught in a net. But I didn't do it, Mr. Mayherne, I didn't do it".

In such a position a man was bound to protest his innocence. Mr. Mayherne knew that. Yet in spite of himself, he was impressed. It might be, after all, that Leonard Vole was innocent.