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!

The Tuesday Club Murders

The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie

So I was debating whether to post this on Sunday, Agatha Christie’s birthday, as it is a short story and I do Short Story Sunday, but the title of my copy is The Tuesday Club Murders. I have to post on Tuesday! Right?

So here we go, the first story will be posted today, while the following will be on Sundays as they usually are.

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 Marples 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: The Tuesday Night Club. 

Or Murder Club!

Sir Henry starts them off:

There are three people who sit down to a dinner of tinned lobster. Later that night all fall ill, two recovered and one died.

Mr. Jones was a traveller and a good looking man of fifty. He is married to Mrs. Jones who was average looking and forty-five. Mrs. Jones’ companion is Miss Clark, a sixty year-old stout woman.

Now no one would have thought anything of this except that shortly before the incident, Mr. Jones stayed at a hotel and wrote some mail. One of the maids had been reading tons of mystery novels and decided to go over the blotting paper and see what was written and finds part of a note:

Entirely dependent on my wife…when she is dead I will…hundreds and thousands…

That started the wheel, and they then discovered that he was very friendly with the doctor’s daughter.

Hmm…

They did an autopsy and then discovered she died of arsenic poisoning.

So they started digging-Mr. Jones was a ladies’ man, who’s wife had the money, but he only inherited $8000-not hudreds and thousands.

Dinner that night had been tinned lobster, salad, trifle, bread, and cheese. Nothing of the dinner remained so there was nothing for them to test.

They questioned the young maid, Gladys Linch, who was terribly upset-but had no helpful information.

All three ate the same food, and it couldn’t be Mr. Jones who did the poisoning as he came right when the food was being served.

Miss Clark was looked at but there was no motive-she wasn’t having an affair with Mr. Jones, and with Miss Jones dead she had to find a new job-not easy for a woman of her age.

Mrs. Jones did ask her husband to make her some corn-flour after dinner. However, she didn’t eat it. She didn’t care for it, and her companion was banting (dieting), and starving and ate it.

All guess and are wrong, except for Miss Marple. Who did it and how did she figure it out?

(I will post the end upside down on the bottom for those interested.)

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this! Although there was no hope of me ever getting it as I’m an American. I only got it this time because I discussed this item and them with my British boss. I know I’ve read this story a hundreds and thousands of times and I just finally get it!

For more Miss Marple, go to The Murder at the Vicarage

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Secret Adversary

For more short stories, go to The Man with the Twisted Lip

For more poisonings, go to A Much Expected Murder

And in other news happy 10 years to:

Borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

Answer: