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

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!

Cat Crimes

Cat Crimes: Masters of Mystery Present a Collection of New Cat Tales edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Ed Gorman

Thoughts Before Reading:

What goes great with mysteries? CATS! They are perfect together (and two of my favorite things in the world.)

So when I saw this, I was super excited and couldn’t wait to read it.

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was not good.

It is amazing how it failed with the amount of writers it had: Martin H. Greenberg, Peter Lovesey, Bill Pronzini, Joan Hess, Jon L. Breen, Dorothy B. Hughes, Barbara Paul, William J. Reynolds, Christopher Fahy, Bill Crider, David Everson, Douglas Borton, Les Roberts, John Lutz, Gene DeWeese, Barbara D’Amato, Barbara Collins, and J.A. Lance. You think one of them would have written an interesting mystery.

The mysteries were not even about cats!

It kind of felt like the authors took an extra story they had lying around and added a cat into it so there was a cat in the story but save for a few stories it never felt like the cat or cats were really an important part or a central figure. I did not enjoy it.

I’m so disappointed.

For more cat mysteries, go to Catnap

For more short stories, go to Motive v. Opportunity