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Short Story Monday – The Blue Geranium and The Companion by Agatha Christie

>> Monday, August 8, 2011

I’m continuing with the related short story collection featuring the Tuesday Night Club.

The Blue Geranium and The Companion by Agatha Christie
Part of a collection published as The Thirteen Problems originally published 1932
Published: originally published 1932 this edition published 2004 by Harper Collins

I read two more stories from this collection this week. I’m enjoying all of these stories and getting to know the utterly delightful Miss Marple. The second set of stories takes place about a year after the meetings of the Tuesday Night Club when a dinner party that includes Miss Marple and Sir Henry Clithering becomes an evening of sharing mysteries.

In The Blue Gernaium, it is about a year after the initial meetings of The Tuesday Night Club, Sir Henry Clithering is staying with friends in the area again.

He suggests Miss Marple as a dinner guest because she might be able to solve a ghostly mystery his host has mentioned. In this story a cranky and demanding semi-invalid wife of a friend of his has died under mysterious circumstances. She was a cranky and demanding patient who had a succession of nurses. Her interest in fortune tellers was a source of both amusement and frustration for her husband. When a fortune teller warns her of a succession of blue flowers it's initially laughed off by everyone else, but when the 'fortune' begins to appear to be coming true they begin to take her fears more seriously. When she is found dead in her locked room and a blue geranium is found nearby, everyone wonders if someone can truly be frightened to death. Miss Marple, of course figures out the truth.

In The Companion, one of the other dinner guests, a Doctor Lloyd tells his story.

Continuing the sharing of mysteries with this new group of dinner guests, Dr. Lloyd tells of events that occurred when he was living in the Canary Islands. He had seen a pair of middle aged women who were tourists from England. His initial thought was that nothing interesting would ever happen to either of them. Of course he was wrong. The next day he came upon a disturbance at the beach. It seems that Miss Durrant was out swimming and Miss Barton said she'd called for help. When MIss Barton swam out to help her she also began to struggle and needed to be rescued by a man with a boat. MIss Durrant who was the paid companion to Miss Barton drowned. What was distressing was that one of the witnesses swore that she had seen Miss Barton holding Miss Durrant under water rather than helping her. Several months later Miss Barton herself drowned after leaving a suicide note confessing to a crime. Her inheritance went to some distant cousins in Australia. Miss Marple is naturally the only one of the dinner guests to pick up on the deceptions behind the story.

I’m glad that the second set of 6 stories in this collection continues the concept of a group of guests sharing mystery tales but with a new group at a dinner party. I didn't figure out either of these before Miss Marple solved them.

I’ve got 5 stories left in this collection and I’m having a great time reading them.

Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.


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