The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

So I have been reviewing short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday!

“The Thumb Mark of St. Peter” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha Christie

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know they answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. 

On the case!

Our sixth mystery is from Miss Marple herself, so you know it is going to be really good.

I’m so excited!

About ten or fifteen years ago, her young niece Mabel-a very silly girl-at age 22 married a cruel and horrid man, Mr. Denman.

She asked Miss Marple to stay with them a few times, but Miss Marple hardly ever saw Mabel after the wedding.

Hmmm…

Ten years go by and Mr. Denman died suddenly. There were no children, so Mabel inherited all the money. Mabel sent her a sensible letter regarding the death, which didn’t surprise Miss Marple as the marriage was not a good one.

Three months later, however, Miss Marple receives a distraught letter, begging her to come right away. So she dos.

When she arrives she sees old Mr. Denman, who was physically fit (although his eyes were failing) and he is “not quite right in the head” and not upset about his son’s death. Mabel on the other hand is a mass of nerves.

No one will see or speak to her, all ignore her, because they think she murdered her husband.

Now Miss Marple knows her niece, so she knows that cannot be true at all…but the cards are stacked against her:

  1. Mabel and Mr. Denham fought a LOT, and even had an argument the morning he passed.
  2. Mabel purchased arsenic that morning, she said she wanted to kill herself but changed her mind.
  3. The cook made mushrooms that night, and thought a few were peculiar, could a few bad ones have been snuck in? Who better to kill him than his wife?
  4. When Mr. Denham was sick and gasping for his last breath, Mabel left him and went to her room.

Miss Marple asks if he said anything before he died and Mabel said the help said he said something about a heap of fish or pile of something.

Miss Marple decides the only thing to do to answer the questions of murder is to do an autopsy. So they do and the reveal is…there was no trace of arsenic but also no known reason why he died? Who or what killed him? Did he kill himself? What is the answer?

Thoughts after Reading:

This was a great mystery, and a hard one-I could not figure it out. This is on par with the hundreds and thousands one.  (Solution below). Still:

For more Agatha Christie, go to Motive v. Opportunity

For more from The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Blood Stained Pavement

For more Miss Marple, go to Ingots of Gold

For more short stories, go to Cat Crimes

I found this online when I was looking around, crazy right!

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