Miss Marple Tells A Story by Agatha Christie, 1934
The magic trick:
Solving the mystery via social commentary
Agatha Christie gets a little political here. It’s rare turf for her. The puzzle always comes first. And that remains true in this story. It’s just that in this case the key to the puzzle also happens to be a bit of social commentary.
And that’s quite a trick on Christie’s part.
The situation boiled down to this—no one but Mr Rhodes and the chambermaid had entered the victim’s room. I enquired about the chambermaid.
‘That was our first line of enquiry,’ said Mr Petherick. ‘Mary Hill is a local woman. She had been chambermaid at the Crown for ten years. There seems absolutely no reason why she should commit a sudden assault on a guest. She is, in any case, extraordinarily stupid, almost half-witted. Her story has never varied. She brought Mrs Rhodes her hotwater bottle and says the lady was drowsy—just dropping off to sleep. Frankly, I cannot believe, and I am sure no jury would believe, that she committed the crime.’
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