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The Thumb Mark of St Peter: A Miss Marple Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Fifteen years ago, Miss Marple’s niece, Mabel Denman was accused of murdering her husband. Mabel’s marriage had been an unhappy one, as Geoffrey had been abusive and violent. Can Miss Marple clear her niece’s name and reveal the true perpetrator? THE THUMB MARK OF ST PETER A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright This short story is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental. Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) TBC This ePub edition published April 2012. Copyright © 2012 Agatha Christie Ltd. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 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 on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books. EPub Edition © 2012 ISBN: 9780007486656 Version: 2017-04-19 Contents Cover (#ud36a3f3c-e5e8-58d6-91f1-48e52e2bd817) Title Page (#u06291c59-8d6f-5d96-a6f7-22cbf7a5ed0a) Copyright The Thumb Mark of St Peter About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Thumb Mark of St Peter ‘The Thumb Mark of St Peter’ was first published in Royal Magazine, May 1928, and in the USA as ‘The Thumb-Mark of St Peter’ in Detective Story Magazine, 7 July 1928. ‘And now, Aunt Jane, it is up to you,’ said Raymond West. ‘Yes, Aunt Jane, we are expecting something really spicy,’ chimed in Joyce Lemprière. ‘Now, you are laughing at me, my dears,’ said Miss Marple placidly. ‘You think that because I have lived in this out-of-the-way spot all my life I am not likely to have had any very interesting experiences.’ ‘God forbid that I should ever regard village life as peaceful and uneventful,’ said Raymond with fervour. ‘Not after the horrible revelations we have heard from you! The cosmopolitan world seems a mild and peaceful place compared with St Mary Mead.’ ‘Well, my dear,’ said Miss Marple, ‘human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at close quarters in a village.’ ‘You really are unique, Aunt Jane,’ cried Joyce. ‘I hope you don’t mind me calling you Aunt Jane?’ she added. ‘I don’t know why I do it.’ ‘Don’t you, my dear?’ said Miss Marple. She looked up for a moment or two with something quizzical in her glance, which made the blood flame to the girl’s cheeks. Raymond West fidgeted and cleared his throat in a somewhat embarrassed manner. Miss Marple looked at them both and smiled again, and bent her attention once more to her knitting. ‘It is true, of course, that I have lived what is called a very uneventful life, but I have had a lot of experience in solving different little problems that have arisen. Some of them have been really quite ingenious, but it would be no good telling them to you, because they are about such unimportant things that you would not be interested – just things like: Who cut the meshes of Mrs Jones’s string bag? and why Mrs Sims only wore her new fur coat once. Very interesting things, really, to any student of human nature. No, the only experience I can remember that would be of interest to you is the one about my poor niece Mabel’s husband. ‘It is about ten or fifteen years ago now, and happily it is all over and done with, and everyone has forgotten about it. People’s memories are very short – a lucky thing, I always think.’ Miss Marple paused and murmured to herself: ‘I must just count this row. The decreasing is a little awkward. One, two, three, four, five, and then three purl; that is right. Now, what was I saying? Oh, yes, about poor Mabel. ‘Mabel was my niece. A nice girl, really a very nice girl, but just a trifle what one might call silly. Rather fond of being melodramatic and of saying a great deal more than she meant whenever she was upset. She married a Mr Denman when she was twenty-two, and I am afraid it was not a very happy marriage. I had hoped very much that the attachment would not come to anything, for Mr Denman was a man of very violent temper – not the kind of man who would be patient with Mabel’s foibles – and I also learned that there was insanity in his family. However, girls were just as obstinate then as they are now, and as they always will be. And Mabel married him. ‘I didn’t see very much of her after her marriage. She came to stay with me once or twice, and they asked me there several times, but, as a matter of fact, I am not very fond of staying in other people’s houses, and I always managed to make some excuse. They had been married ten years when Mr Denman died suddenly. There were no children, and he left all his money to Mabel. I wrote, of course, and offered to come to Mabel if she wanted me; but she wrote back a very sensible letter, and I gathered that she was not altogether overwhelmed by grief. I thought that was only natural, because I knew they had not been getting on together for some time. It was not until about three months afterwards that I got a most hysterical letter from Mabel, begging me to come to her, and saying that things were going from bad to worse, and she couldn’t stand it much longer. ‘So, of course,’ continued Miss Marple, ‘I put Clara on board wages and sent the plate and the King Charles tankard to the bank, and I went off at once. I found Mabel in a very nervous state. The house, Myrtle Dene, was a fairly large one, very comfortably furnished. There was a cook and a house-parlourmaid as well as a nurse-attendant to look after old Mr Denman, Mabel’s husband’s father, who was what is called “not quite right in the head”. Quite peaceful and well behaved, but distinctly odd at times. As I say, there was insanity in the family. ‘I was really shocked to see the change in Mabel. She was a mass of nerves, twitching all over, yet I had the greatest difficulty in making her tell me what the trouble was. I got at it, as one always does get at these things, indirectly. I asked her about some friends of hers she was always mentioning in her letters, the Gallaghers. She said, to my surprise, that she hardly ever saw them nowadays. Other friends whom I mentioned elicited the same remark. I spoke to her then of the folly of shutting herself up and brooding, and especially of the silliness of cutting herself adrift from her friends. Then she came bursting out with the truth. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-thumb-mark-of-st-peter-a-miss-marple-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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