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It's from 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' by Agatha Christie, as below.


As I was returning from my round the following morning, I was hailed by Inspector Raglan. I pulled up, and the inspector mounted on the step.

“Good-morning, Dr. Sheppard,” he said. “Well, that alibi is all right enough.”

“Charles Kent’s?”

“Charles Kent’s. The barmaid at the Dog and Whistle, Sally Jones, she remembers him perfectly. Picked out his photograph from among five others. It was just a quarter to ten when he came into the bar, and the Dog and Whistle is well over a mile from Fernly Park. The girl mentions that he had a lot of money on him—she saw him take a handful of notes out of his pocket. Rather surprised her, it did, seeing the class of fellow he was, with a pair of boots clean dropping off him. That’s where that forty pounds went right enough.”

I can't figure out what 'with a pair of boots clean dropping off him' means.

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  • They slid off easily? Commented Jun 14 at 18:58
  • More intriguing is "That’s where that forty pounds went right enough." £40 in 1926 was a great deal. Moreover in 1926 a pub would not be open at 10am, and the closing time was 10pm, so "a quarter to ten" would be just before "last orders please", and hard to spend £40, with the average weekly wage being about £5. Commented Jun 14 at 19:08

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I interpret this to mean that the man was wearing boots so worn or tattered or ill-fitting that they look like they might fall off his feet. The barmaid was surprised that the man had a lot of money "seeing the class of fellow he was", implying that the man is visibly of low class - he wears a pair of boots that are dropping off his feet. Here "clean" is used as an intensifier to mean "completely" or "outright".

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