The Blue Geranium

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 Blue Geranium” 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.

One night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home with: 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. 

Hmm…

Our seventh mystery takes place a year after the original club meetings. Colonel Arthur Bantry is having a party, of which Sir Henry Clithering is a guest of. Colonel Bantry and his wife, Dolly, are trying to decide on a sixth person, when Sir Henry suggests Miss Marple and astounds his hosts with tales of her powers of deduction.

That night they have a party with the Bantrys, Sir Henry, Miss Marple, an actress Jane Helier, and a Dr. Lloyd.

The Bsntrys decide to set a case to Miss Marple, one that has been troubling the Colonel. He had a friend George Pritchard, who was married to a rude and cantankerous invalid wife.

She was extremely cruel to her nurses, them changing regularly until Nurse Copling came along. She out up with all amounts of horrid behavior.

Mrs. Pritchard loved fortune tellers and psychics and one day a fortune teller named Zarida came calling when George and the Nurse were out. When the two returned home, Mrs. Pritchard told them that Zarida declared the house to be evil and warned her to stay away from blue flowers.

Two days later a letter arrives from Zarida

Beware of the full moon:

  • The blue primrose means warning
  • The blue hollyhock means danger
  • The blue geranium means death

Four days later one of the pink primroses in the wallpaper pattern turned blue in the middle of the night during a full moon.

A month went by and the same thing happened during a full moon to a hollyhock.

Then another month passed and the Nurse and George were worried while Mrs. Pritchard was frantic. The morning after the full moon Mrs. Pritchard was found dead, her smelling salts were in her hand, one of the geraniums was blue, and there was the smell of gas in the air.

Hmm…

Everyone suspected foul play, but could not figure out how it happened. They tried to investigate Zarida but she had disappeared without a trace.

Thoughts After Reading:

I figured out who did it, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it was done. I was extremely stumped by Christie.

Later I watched the production on Acrorn’s Miss Marple, and I did not like it at all. I don’t recommend it for your viewing pleasure. Answer will be at the end of the post.

For more Miss Marple mysteries, go to The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

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

For more Agatha Christie, go to Motive v. Opportunity

For more short stories, go to What Strange Creatures

For more strange occurrences at the full moon, go to Fool Moon

High Sea Adventure

High Sea Adventure (Barbie and Friends Book Club) by Rita Balducci

This story takes place in the 1700s, with Barbie and Midge traveling with Midge’s father, a doctor, to deliver medicine to the Caribbean islands.

Hmm…

They stop at the Cayman Islands, where the girls meet Teresa Rivera, a young lady who is studying to be a nurse and who’s home they will be staying at while Midge’s father gets the hospital up and running.

The island is beautiful, and both Midge and Barbie see it as a paradise. However, this paradise has one bad snake-a pirate called Red Beard. He has been scavenging the locals exports, such as Teresa’s family’s sugarcane; along with stealing shipments of medicine. They hope the Navy captures him soon and ends his terrorizing of the seas. But even if they do, will they ever recover the things he stole?

Teresa shows them around the island when Midge spots a map shop. Hoping to find the perfect gift for her father, Midge goes inside. As she looks at maps she overhears men who look like pirates talking to the owner.

“Tell Red Beak the trade is made…Go to the mouth of the Little Bear.”

Afterwards, Midge tells Teresa and Barbie what she heard. They try to figure out what the message means, but no luck. Later that night, Midge is looking at the stars-trying to remember the names of the all the constellations when she spots Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper or Little Bear.

This strikes a cord with her and she pulls out the map she purchased earlier. There are a series of islands that line up just like that particular constellation. The mouth of the Little Bear the Pirates were talking about must be the cave that lines up with the “mouth” of the stars.

Immediately Midge runs to wake her friends. They go to tell Midge’s father so he can relay the information to the navy. But they are too late, he has already left to search for the pirate ship.

The girls decide it is up to them and they set out on one of Teresa’s family’s boats to test their theory. Will they find the pirate treasure? Or will this be a wild goose chase? Will they stop the pirate? Or be captured by them?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was always one of my favorites as a kid as it had pirates, adventure, and just a lot of fun.

I also loved how the girls save the day.

This is actually one of the better books in the series. In fact all the mysteries are.

For more Barbie books, go to The Silver Deer

For more pirate mysteries, go to Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

For more Children’s books, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more historical fiction, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

A Duty to the Dead

So this year marks something very special. It is the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I.

In fact today is the very day it started for us Yankees. In honor of that, I decided to post a World War I mystery (even though it takes place in England and occurs before we jumped on board.

Oh well…

Before we start, I would just like to thank all those who served (whether alive or dead), thank you for serving your country and protecting it.

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A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mystery #1)

Bess is a nurse in WWI. She has encountered many wounded men, but no loss has affected her like one of her most recent patients. She actually fell in love with him and before he passed, and was given a message to deliver:

“Tell my brother Jonathan that I lied…I did it for Mother’s sake. But it has to be set right.”

After surviving a mined ship, Bess is given some time to recover from the incident and her injured arm. She decides this is the best time to travel and release the words given to her as the young soldier lay dying.

When Bess does deliver the news, none of the family seem to understand. Not Jonathan, his brother, mother, etc. Bess finds this odd, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It turns out there is another brother, Peregine, one who has been placed in a psychiatric hospital for his insanity and for the murder he committed of a young girl years before.

But when he is sent to the family homestead to be cared for as he has become ill; Bess finds him to be not what she expected. In fact the opposite of the insane, stupid, beast that has been painted for her.

But then Peregine escapes from the asylum and follows Bess home. He holds her hostage in order to prove his innocence of the crime that occurred years ago.

Is he telling the truth?

Is Peregine telling the truth and is a wronged man? Or is Bess forced to follow the whim of a murderer.

I wonder…

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Thoughts After Reading:

Amazing! I couldn’t stop reading as I had to find out what happened next. Which brother did it? Is Peregine innocent or mad?

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Paper Roses

For more retrograde mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more mysteries, go to Murder at Oklahoma