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!
“Ingots of Gold” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha ChristieMary
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.
Our third mystery is shared by Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew. Let me just say I don’t like this story as much as the others and Raymond just annoys me ugh:
This mystery isn’t really fair as Raymond doesn’t know the end, but wants to share it anyway.
Two years ago Raymond went to Polperran, Cornwall to spend Whitsuntide with a man called John Newman.
Wow, that is a very British sentence.
Raymond had met John a few weeks earlier and found him to be a very interesting person. He was an authority on Elizabethan times and was really into the Spanish Armada.
Newman was interested in a ship that wrecked off the coast of Cornwall. There had been an attempt to recover the treasure but the company went belly up-although Newman bought the rights.
Newman told the story about the ship in such a compelling way and Raymond was working on a novel is set in the 16th century so he journeyed up to meet with him and learn more.
He rode up and there was only one other person traveling that way. Raymond recognizes him and discovers that he is Inspector Badgworth.
They discuss the Spanish galleons, the whole thing is something that the Inspector knows all about. In fact, that area still sees wrecks as the Inspector goes on to tell Raymond that the ship Otranto was wrecked in that same area six months ago-no lives were lost but a shipment of gold bullion was lost.
A big salvage operation went on but the gold had disappeared!
The inspector was sent there to investigate, as did the gold disappear before or after the wreck? It’s big and bulky too-not easy to move or hide. So where did it go?
They arrive at the station and Raymond meets with Newman at Pol House. That night they spend time reading old manuscripts of the shipwreck Juan Fernandez and showed him diving apparatus.
They talk about the Otranto, and Newman says that the smuggling and wrecking is still in their blood. He takes him down to the tavern where he mets Newman’s diver Higgins and the landlord Mr. Kelvin.
As they are talking Mr. Kelvin tells them that they don’t like foreigners-police and others. This makes Raymond really uneasy as it seems like a threat.
That night Raymond’s uneasiness begins, and he can’t sleep. The next day he has a feeling of foreboding.
They go out on Newman’s boat but have to return because of the rain and the tempest continues.
That night Raymond sleeps deep but the sleep is awful and terrifying. He wakes up early the next morning. Raymond goes looking for Newman, who is usually up at the crack of dawn, but can’t find him. His bed had not been slept in, and if he went out-it was in his evening clothes as they were missing.
Raymond went looking all over for him, but no luck. He then goes to the Inspector and they start out a search.
They end up discovering Newman in a ditch on his property with his hands and feet tied up.
The night before Newman went on a walk to Smuggler’s Cove when he watched some men loading something from a boat. He snuck up to them and was struck from behind.
He came to in a truck that was full of the missing gold and was thrown out on his property and flung him out. He couldn’t say what the assailants looked like, but he knew by their speech they were Cornishmen.
They searched for the gold and the truck but found nothing.
Of course…that’s not the end of it. What happened to the gold? What happened to Newman? Who is the guilty party?
Thoughts After Reading:
Like I said this isn’t my favorite as Raymond kinda sucks-so yeah, it was okay. I thought it was obvious as to who was at fault, but didn’t figure the how until I read Miss Marple’s solution.
The best part is when Miss Marple schools Raymond:
“Well, dear Raymond,’ said Miss Marple, laying down her knitting and looking across at her nephew. ‘I do think you should be more careful how you choose your friends. You are so credulous, dear, so easily gulled. I suppose it is being a writer and having so much imagination. All that story about a Spanish galleon! If you were older and had more experience of life you would have been on your guard at once. A man you had known only a few weeks, too!”
You suck, Raymond!!!
For more Miss Marple, go to The Idol House of Astarte
For more Agatha Christie, go to The Tuesday Club Murders
For more short stories, go to The Strength of Their Attachment