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A Pocket Full of Rye

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Pocket Full of Rye (1953) Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

A Pocket FUll of RyeIt was a normal day at work, when they took Rex Fortescue. Then he keeled over, and nothing made sense any more.

Who could have poisoned Rex–and filled his coat pocket with grain? His much younger (and beautiful) wife, who has been carrying on with another man? The son Percival, who recently had a row with his father? Or someone else?

“No, sir. But there’s one thing that’s odd. The suit he was wearing— I checked the contents of the pockets. The usual stuff— handkerchief, keys, change, wallet— but there was one thing that’s downright peculiar. The right-hand pocket of his jacket. It had cereal in it.”

“Cereal?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What do you mean by cereal? Do you mean a breakfast food? Farmer’s Glory or Wheatifax. Or do you mean corn or barley—”

“That’s right, sir. Grain it was. Looked like rye to me. Quite a lot of it.”

I had completely forgotten about Mary Dove–it makes me wonder if she was the source material for a mystery I read in the last year, where the main character was a retired butler (although she also asked as housekeeper and many other things as well).

My dear Inspector Neele, this is the perfect racket. People will pay anything— anything— to be spared domestic worries. To find and engage a staff is a thoroughly tedious job. Writing to agencies, putting in advertisements, interviewing people, making arrangements for interviews, and finally keeping the whole thing running smoothly— it takes a certain capacity which most of these people haven’t got.”

In retrospect, the interesting thing about this story is that unlike the last several, love doesn’t win out in the end. All the women seem to have chose poorly in their love lives, and it doesn’t seem likely to be any better for any of them. I had forgotten that, which perhaps made the end of the story depressing, since although we know the murderer is going to get his due, nothing seems likely to work out for anyone else.

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Cozy, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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