The Blue Geranium: A Miss Marple Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Sir Henry Clithering returns to Mary Mead to dine with his friends the Bantrys and suggests inviting Miss Marple. Over dinner they discuss the peculiar case of a superstitious woman who is told that a blue geranium will bring about her death. When she dies, her loyal husband is in the frame for her murder… The Blue Geranium A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_dc8ce8c2-0c7e-5748-9554-146d61d26308) 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. 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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Ebook Edition © MAY 2013 ISBN: 9780007526475 Version: 2017-04-13 Contents Cover (#u31d1c483-ffdc-5cc2-a700-01e24ee62e37) Title Page (#u5225ca4a-a6e9-55ac-a7e5-c9ed03d8cf9a) Copyright The Blue Geranium Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Blue Geranium (#ulink_a293c8f4-2c40-5dfe-9655-76b8750b4c5a) ‘The Blue Geranium’ was first published in The Christmas Story-Teller, December 1929. ‘When I was down here last year –’ said Sir Henry Clithering, and stopped. His hostess, Mrs Bantry, looked at him curiously. The Ex-Commissioner of Scotland Yard was staying with old friends of his, Colonel and Mrs Bantry, who lived near St Mary Mead. Mrs Bantry, pen in hand, had just asked his advice as to who should be invited to make a sixth guest at dinner that evening. ‘Yes?’ said Mrs Bantry encouragingly. ‘When you were here last year?’ ‘Tell me,’ said Sir Henry, ‘do you know a Miss Marple?’ Mrs Bantry was surprised. It was the last thing she had expected. ‘Know Miss Marple? Who doesn’t! The typical old maid of fiction. Quite a dear, but hopelessly behind the times. Do you mean you would like me to ask her to dinner?’ ‘You are surprised?’ ‘A little, I must confess. I should hardly have thought you – but perhaps there’s an explanation?’ ‘The explanation is simple enough. When I was down here last year we got into the habit of discussing unsolved mysteries – there were five or six of us – Raymond West, the novelist, started it. We each supplied a story to which we knew the answer, but nobody else did. It was supposed to be an exercise in the deductive faculties – to see who could get nearest the truth.’ ‘Well?’ ‘Like in the old story – we hardly realized that Miss Marple was playing; but we were very polite about it – didn’t want to hurt the old dear’s feelings. And now comes the cream of the jest. The old lady outdid us every time!’ ‘What?’ ‘I assure you – straight to the truth like a homing pigeon.’ ‘But how extraordinary! Why, dear old Miss Marple has hardly ever been out of St Mary Mead.’ ‘Ah! But according to her, that has given her unlimited opportunities of observing human nature – under the microscope as it were.’ ‘I suppose there’s something in that,’ conceded Mrs Bantry. ‘One would at least know the petty side of people. But I don’t think we have any really exciting criminals in our midst. I think we must try her with Arthur’s ghost story after dinner. I’d be thankful if she’d find a solution to that.’ ‘I didn’t know that Arthur believed in ghosts?’ ‘Oh! he doesn’t. That’s what worries him so. And it happened to a friend of his, George Pritchard – a most prosaic person. It’s really rather tragic for poor George. Either this extraordinary story is true – or else –’ ‘Or else what?’ Mrs Bantry did not answer. After a minute or two she said irrelevantly: ‘You know, I like George – everyone does. One can’t believe that he – but people do do such extraordinary things.’ Sir Henry nodded. He knew, better than Mrs Bantry, the extraordinary things that people did. So it came about that that evening Mrs Bantry looked round her dinner table (shivering a little as she did so, because the dining-room, like most English dining-rooms, was extremely cold) and fixed her gaze on the very upright old lady sitting on her husband’s right. Miss Marple wore black lace mittens; an old lace fichu was draped round her shoulders and another piece of lace surmounted her white hair. She was talking animatedly to the elderly doctor, Dr Lloyd, about the Workhouse and the suspected shortcomings of the District Nurse. Mrs Bantry marvelled anew. She even wondered whether Sir Henry had been making an elaborate joke – but there seemed no point in that. Incredible that what he had said could be really true. Her glance went on and rested affectionately on her red-faced broad-shouldered husband as he sat talking horses to Jane Helier, the beautiful and popular actress. Jane, more beautiful (if that were possible) off the stage than on, opened enormous blue eyes and murmured at discreet intervals: ‘Really?’ ‘Oh fancy!’ ‘How extra-ordinary!’ She knew nothing whatever about horses and cared less. ‘Arthur,’ said Mrs Bantry, ‘you’re boring poor Jane to distraction. Leave horses alone and tell her your ghost story instead. You know … George Pritchard.’ ‘Eh, Dolly? Oh! but I don’t know –’ ‘Sir Henry wants to hear it too. I was telling him something about it this morning. It would be interesting to hear what everyone has to say about it.’ ‘Oh do!’ said Jane. ‘I love ghost stories.’ ‘Well –’ Colonel Bantry hesitated. ‘I’ve never believed much in the supernatural. But this – ‘I don’t think any of you know George Pritchard. He’s one of the best. His wife – well, she’s dead now, poor woman. I’ll just say this much: she didn’t give George any too easy a time when she was alive. She was one of those semi-invalids – I believe she had really something wrong with her, but whatever it was she played it for all it was worth. She was capricious, exacting, unreasonable. She complained from morning to night. George was expected to wait on her hand and foot, and every thing he did was always wrong and he got cursed for it. Most men, I’m fully convinced, would have hit her over the head with a hatchet long ago. Eh, Dolly, isn’t that so?’ ‘She was a dreadful woman,’ said Mrs Bantry with conviction. ‘If George Pritchard had brained her with a hatchet, and there had been any woman on the jury, he would have been triumphantly acquitted.’ ‘I don’t quite know how this business started. George was rather vague about it. I gather Mrs Pritchard had always had a weakness for fortune tellers, palmists, clairvoyantes – anything of that sort. George didn’t mind. If she found amusement in it well and good. But he refused to go into rhapsodies himself, and that was another grievance. ‘A succession of hospital nurses was always passing through the house, Mrs Pritchard usually becoming dissatisfied with them after a few weeks. One young nurse had been very keen on this fortune telling stunt, and for a time Mrs Pritchard had been very fond of her. Then she suddenly fell out with her and insisted on her going. She had back another nurse who had been with her previously – an older woman, experienced and tactful in dealing with a neurotic patient. Nurse Copling, according to George, was a very good sort – a sensible woman to talk to. She put up with Mrs Pritchard’s tantrums and nervestorms with complete indifference. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-blue-geranium-a-miss-marple-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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