17th February 2021.
Under the cover of a children’s nursery rhyme a killer is bumping people in the Fortescue house. The dysfunctional family, ably looked after by the efficient Miss Dove, offer up plenty of suspects and motives, as you would expect with Agatha Christie. Then there are the servants, a lover, and a historical rivalry to add more suspects to the pool.
The author handles it all with her usual mastery, laying false trails and diversions to fox the local police. There’s no lack of social comment and humour as she reveals the secrets and conflicts within the family.
Having trained one of the parlour maids serving there, Miss Marple arrives at the house to assist the police. It doesn’t take her long to separate the rye from the chaff with her incisive knowledge of human nature and ability to spot the worst in people.
The story’s a joy from start to finish, weaving a winding trail through a house filled with largely unlikable characters, nearly all tarnished by money and greed. It’s a masterclass in the classic whodunit and hugely entertaining.
In Agatha Christie’s classic, A Pocket Full of Rye, the bizarre death of a financial tycoon has Miss Marple investigating a very odd case of crime by rhyme.
Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his “counting house” when he suffered an agonizing and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals.
Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Miss Marple’s suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme. . .