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Short Story Monday – The Herb of Death and The Affair at the Bungalow by Agatha Christie

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

I’m winding down the to the last of the related short story collection featuring the Tuesday Night Club.

The Herb of Death and The Affair at the Bungalow 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 and will finish up the last one next week. I’ve fallen in love with Miss Marple and will definitely be reading some of the books that feature her.

The dinner party and sharing of mystery stories finishes up with these two stories. The most reluctant storytellers of the group are the last to participate.

In The Herb of Death, Mrs. Bantry is reluctant but is finally persuaded to share a mystery

Her reluctance manifests itself in the way she tells her story. In a few short sentences she tells of a dinner party in which foxglove leaves were mixed with sage and result in the death of the party host’s niece. When the rest of the group realizes that Mrs. Bantry is done with telling her story they decide to turn it into a twenty questions type of game in which they take turns asking Mrs. Bantry questions to round out her story. This results in a bit more information and enough for the expected Miss Marple solution. Along the way however is also some very humorous pokes at the actress Jane Heiler who seems to always be few minutes behind the rest of the group in keeping up with what is going on. I liked the extra giggles I got with this story.

In The Affair at the Bungalow, it’s Jane Heiler’s turn to share a story.

As expected from the earlier stories and in particular The Herb of Death which immediately precedes this one, Jane Heiler’s turn at telling a mystery story is quite disconnected and a little hard to follow. It starts out with her attempting to hide the identities of the people involved but she quickly gives away that her story is not about a friend, but herself. While rehearsing a play she is unexpectedly called to the police station to confront a young man accused of theft from a nearby bungalow. She doesn’t know the man and his story seems to indicate that he was misled into thinking a message he received was from Jane when in fact it was from someone pretending to be Jane. Soon it turns out that nearly everyone was called away from the bungalow under false pretenses and the identity of the person who stole the jewelry is more and more difficult to figure out. In fact after everyone makes their attempts at the answer, Jane admits that eve she does not know the true outcome. The group gives her a hard time for not exactly playing by the ‘rules’ of their game but admit it was still fun to guess. As she is saying goodbye, Miss Marple whispers something to Jane that indicates our intrepid little lady has once again been the only person to figure out the real truthl

What fun – particularly reading these two together. There is one story left in this collection and it’s on my agenda for next Monday.

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


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