Greenshaw’s Folly: A Miss Marple Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Raymond West's niece is invited by an elderly recluse to help compile her late grandfather's diaries for publication. After only two days at their sprawling home of Greenshaw's Folly, she witnesses a murder, which only Miss Marple can solve… Greenshaw’s Folly A Miss Marple Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_8a8c169a-22d7-5365-94a5-af65addbfaa7) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd. Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2014 All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book onscreen. 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Contents Cover (#u0138c19d-64e6-53be-84b5-d51559507d6e) Title Page (#u0e25bb0e-ac1e-5609-9673-0733cb929bdc) Copyright Greenshaw’s Folly (#u0f0cada7-0c81-525c-ad63-0716baf58835) Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) Greenshaw’s Folly (#ulink_7f2bfc97-7c3f-5e60-9f7e-9fc829c19485) ‘Greenshaw’s Folly’ was first published in the Daily Mail, 3–7 December 1956. The two men rounded the corner of the shrubbery. ‘Well, there you are,’ said Raymond West. ‘That’s it.’ Horace Bindler took a deep, appreciative breath. ‘But my dear,’ he cried, ‘how wonderful.’ His voice rose in a high screech of ‘sthetic delight, then deepened in reverent awe. ‘It’s unbelievable. Out of this world! A period piece of the best.’ ‘I thought you’d like it,’ said Raymond West, complacently. ‘Like it? My dear –’ Words failed Horace. He unbuckled the strap of his camera and got busy. ‘This will be one of the gems of my collection,’ he said happily. ‘I do think, don’t you, that it’s rather amusing to have a collection of monstrosities? The idea came to me one night seven years ago in my bath. My last real gem was in the Campo Santo at Genoa, but I really think this beats it. What’s it called?’ ‘I haven’t the least idea,’ said Raymond. ‘I suppose it’s got a name?’ ‘It must have. But the fact is that it’s never referred to round here as anything but Greenshaw’s Folly.’ ‘Greenshaw being the man who built it?’ ‘Yes. In eighteen-sixty or seventy or thereabouts. The local success story of the time. Barefoot boy who had risen to immense prosperity. Local opinion is divided as to why he built this house, whether it was sheer exuberance of wealth or whether it was done to impress his creditors. If the latter, it didn’t impress them. He either went bankrupt or the next thing to it. Hence the name, Greenshaw’s Folly.’ Horace’s camera clicked. ‘There,’ he said in a satisfied voice. ‘Remind me to show you No. 310 in my collection. A really incredible marble mantelpiece in the Italian manner.’ He added, looking at the house, ‘I can’t conceive of how Mr Greenshaw thought of it all.’ ‘Rather obvious in some ways,’ said Raymond. ‘He had visited the châteaux of the Loire, don’t you think? Those turrets. And then, rather unfortunately, he seems to have travelled in the Orient. The influence of the Taj Mahal is unmistakable. I rather like the Moorish wing,’ he added, ‘and the traces of a Venetian palace.’ ‘One wonders how he ever got hold of an architect to carry out these ideas.’ Raymond shrugged his shoulders. ‘No difficulty about that, I expect,’ he said. ‘Probably the architect retired with a good income for life while poor old Greenshaw went bankrupt.’ ‘Could we look at it from the other side?’ asked Horace, ‘or are we trespassing!’ ‘We’re trespassing all right,’ said Raymond, ‘but I don’t think it will matter.’ He turned towards the corner of the house and Horace skipped after him. ‘But who lives here, my dear? Orphans or holiday visitors? It can’t be a school. No playing-fields or brisk efficiency.’ ‘Oh, a Greenshaw lives here still,’ said Raymond over his shoulder. ‘The house itself didn’t go in the crash. Old Greenshaw’s son inherited it. He was a bit of a miser and lived here in a corner of it. Never spent a penny. Probably never had a penny to spend. His daughter lives here now. Old lady – very eccentric.’ As he spoke Raymond was congratulating himself on having thought of Greenshaw’s Folly as a means of entertaining his guest. These literary critics always professed themselves as longing for a week-end in the country, and were wont to find the country extremely boring when they got there. Tomorrow there would be the Sunday papers, and for today Raymond West congratulated himself on suggesting a visit to Greenshaw’s Folly to enrich Horace Bindler’s well-known collection of monstrosities. They turned the corner of the house and came out on a neglected lawn. In one corner of it was a large artificial rockery, and bending over it was a figure at sight of which Horace clutched Raymond delightedly by the arm. ‘My dear,’ he exclaimed, ‘do you see what she’s got on? A sprigged print dress. Just like a housemaid – when there were housemaids. One of my most cherished memories is staying at a house in the country when I was quite a boy where a real housemaid called you in the morning, all crackling in a print dress and a cap. Yes, my boy, really – a cap. Muslin with streamers. No, perhaps it was the parlour-maid who had the streamers. But anyway she was a real housemaid and she brought in an enormous brass can of hot water. What an exciting day we’re having.’ The figure in the print dress had straightened up and had turned towards them, trowel in hand. She was a sufficiently startling figure. Unkempt locks of iron-grey fell wispily on her shoulders, a straw hat rather like the hats that horses wear in Italy was crammed down on her head. The coloured print dress she wore fell nearly to her ankles. Out of a weatherbeaten, not-too-clean face, shrewd eyes surveyed them appraisingly. ‘I must apologize for trespassing, Miss Greenshaw,’ said Raymond West, as he advanced towards her, ‘but Mr Horace Bindler who is staying with me –’ Horace bowed and removed his hat. ‘– is most interested in – er – ancient history and – er – fine buildings.’ Raymond West spoke with the ease of a well-known author who knows that he is a celebrity, that he can venture where other people may not. Miss Greenshaw looked up at the sprawling exuberance behind her. ‘It is a fine house,’ she said appreciatively. ‘My grandfather built it – before my time, of course. He is reported as having said that he wished to astonish the natives.’ ‘I’ll say he did that, ma’am,’ said Horace Bindler. ‘Mr Bindler is the well-known literary critic,’ said Raymond West. Miss Greenshaw had clearly no reverence for literary critics. She remained unimpressed. ‘I consider it,’ said Miss Greenshaw, referring to the house, ‘as a monument to my grandfather’s genius. Silly fools come here, and ask me why I don’t sell it and go and live in a flat. What would I do in a flat? It’s my home and I live in it,’ said Miss Greenshaw. ‘Always have lived here.’ She considered, brooding over the past. ‘There were three of us. Laura married the curate. Papa wouldn’t give her any money, said clergymen ought to be unworldly. She died, having a baby. Baby died too. Nettie ran away with the riding master. Papa cut her out of his will, of course. Handsome fellow, Harry Fletcher, but no good. Don’t think Nettie was happy with him. Anyway, she didn’t live long. They had a son. He writes to me sometimes, but of course he isn’t a Greenshaw. I’m the last of the Greenshaws.’ She drew up her bent shoulders with a certain pride, and readjusted the rakish angle of the straw hat. Then, turning, she said sharply, ‘Yes, Mrs Cresswell, what is it?’ Approaching them from the house was a figure that, seen side by side with Miss Greenshaw, seemed ludicrously dissimilar. Mrs Cresswell had a marvellously dressed head of well-blued hair towering upwards in meticulously arranged curls and rolls. It was as though she had dressed her head to go as a French marquise to a fancy-dress party. The rest of her middle-aged person was dressed in what ought to have been rustling black silk but was actually one of the shinier varieties of black rayon. Although she was not a large woman, she had a well-developed and sumptuous bust. Her voice when she spoke, was unexpectedly deep. She spoke with exquisite diction, only a slight hesitation over words beginning with ‘h’ and the final pronunciation of them with an exaggerated aspirate gave rise to a suspicion that at some remote period in her youth she might have had trouble over dropping her h’s. ‘The fish, madam,’ said Mrs Cresswell, ‘the slice of cod. It has not arrived. I have asked Alfred to go down for it and he refuses to do so.’ Rather unexpectedly, Miss Greenshaw gave a cackle of laughter. ‘Refuses, does he?’ ‘Alfred, madam, has been most disobliging.’ Miss Greenshaw raised two earth-stained fingers to her lips, suddenly produced an ear-splitting whistle and at the same time yelled: ‘Alfred. Alfred, come here.’ Round the corner of the house a young man appeared in answer to the summons, carrying a spade in his hand. He had a bold, handsome face and as he drew near he cast an unmistakably malevolent glance towards Mrs Cresswell. ‘You wanted me, miss?’ he said. ‘Yes, Alfred. I hear you’ve refused to go down for the fish. What about it, eh?’ Alfred spoke in a surly voice. ‘I’ll go down for it if you wants it, miss. You’ve only got to say.’ ‘I do want it. I want it for my supper.’ ‘Right you are, miss. I’ll go right away.’ He threw an insolent glance at Mrs Cresswell, who flushed and murmured below her breath: ‘Really! It’s unsupportable.’ ‘Now that I think of it,’ said Miss Greenshaw, ‘a couple of strange visitors are just what we need aren’t they, Mrs Cresswell?’ Mrs Cresswell looked puzzled. ‘I’m sorry, madam –’ ‘For you-know-what,’ said Miss Greenshaw, nodding her head. ‘Beneficiary to a will mustn’t witness it. That’s right, isn’t it?’ She appealed to Raymond West. ‘Quite correct,’ said Raymond. ‘I know enough law to know that,’ said Miss Greenshaw. ‘And you two are men of standing.’ She flung down her trowel on her weeding-basket. ‘Would you mind coming up to the library with me?’ ‘Delighted,’ said Horace eagerly. She led the way through french windows and through a vast yellow and gold drawing-room with faded brocade on the walls and dust covers arranged over the furniture, then through a large dim hall, up a staircase and into a room on the first floor. ‘My grandfather’s library,’ she announced. Horace looked round the room with acute pleasure. It was a room, from his point of view, quite full of monstrosities. The heads of sphinxes appeared on the most unlikely pieces of furniture, there was a colossal bronze representing, he thought, Paul and Virginia, and a vast bronze clock with classical motifs of which he longed to take a photograph. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/greenshaw-s-folly-a-miss-marple-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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