Link between The Clocks and Cat Among the Pigeons???

HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
Recently, while re-reading The Clocks, I found a reference by Merlina Rival (aka Flossie Gapp) stating that her husband (Harry Castleton, who we know was once married to her) had been mixed up with a school-teacher, and that she was pregnant. I was wondering if this may bear a connection with (SPOILER) the pregnancy of Miss Rich… Here are some reasons for this theory.

  1. In The Clocks, Mrs Rival was married to Castleton, who was involved in scams similar to those involving Mrs Rival, as Inspector Hardcastle stated (he must have known about Castleton beforehand, for he says that the police already suspected him of being people such as Roger Byron, Lawrence Dalton and Raymond Blair even before Mrs Rival came forward).
  2. Castleton and Merlina were married in 1948 (“fifteen years ago”, according to the Inspector), and since the novel was published in 1963, we can assume that the timelines are the same - the story takes place in the present day (1963, that is).
  3. The only reference to the season in which Cat Among the Pigeons takes place is in the garden, when Briggs refers to flowers. He says he wants to plant asters, which bloom in early fall to late winter, and in front of Miss Bulstrode (somewhat of a botanical Puritan) suggests Pompom Dahlias, which bloom between February and May. The only grey area between the asters and the pompom dahlias is February, which can be classified as late winter. Poirot states that Miss Rich was away “three months ago” in the previous term, which would be about the end of the previous year. Knowing that Miss Rich is pregnant, the pregnancy must have taken place about eight or seven months prior to Miss Rich’s arrival in Ramat (as she is stated as still being “fat” when in Ramat). This places it approximately in April, or May of 1958 at the latest (the novel takes place in 1959).
  4. In The Clocks, Hardcastle states that soon after Mrs Rival threw him out, Castleton disappeared (fifteen or twenty years ago). Some thought he had died, but most thought he had gone abroad. We know that the dead man (Curry) was SPOILER not Castleton, so what if he had gone abroad to forget Mrs Rival and Miss Rich?
  5. In The Clocks, Hardcastle says that Castleton disappeared fifteen or twenty years ago. Mrs Rival turned him out in 1951, but he certainly had other concubines who he was “married to” and I doubt he would have disappeared in shame after one had disowned him He could not have disappeared twenty years ago, since he married Mrs Rival fifteen years ago, but perhaps he disappeared about five years ago, allowing for Castleton’s web of lies, and Mrs Rival’s possible embarrassment at having been “duped”. Which would place his disappearance in 1958, at exactly the time when Miss Rich would have been impregnated.

Perhaps it is important to mention that, although “Curry” is NOT Castleton, the police have information that states that Merlina Rival (Flossie Gapp) did marry Harry Castleton, who was a suspected bigamist, fifteen years ago.

I know there’s quite a bit of speculation, but I want to ask some fellow Christiophiles - do you think this is possible?

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Comments

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭
    Was it someone in The Clocks who knew the Head Teacher of Meadowbanks.
  • HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
    Hello Tommy (Anthony Cade) Jones!! I actually mentioned in my outline that it was a connection between Harry Castleton (Mrs Rival's husband) and Miss Rich (teacher at Meadowbank).
  • HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
    edited September 13
    I was wondering if anyone else saw this...
  • Meadowbank isn't mentioned in "The Clocks", as far as I know, but in "Halloween Party" the headmistress tells Poirot that she heard of him from Miss Bulstrode, the former head of Meadowbank (and she sighs about the changes in Meadowbank - a "nod" to the fact that in "Cat among the Pigeons" Miss Rich had told Miss Bulstrode that she would implement changes if she became headmistress.
  • HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
    That is quite interesting, Tali - I also remember something of the sort, but I never caught on to the fact that Miss Rich had been subtly referenced as the current headmistress. Though Meadowbanks isn't mentioned in "The Clocks", Mrs Rival does mention that her former husband got a schoolteacher pregnant. Suddenly remembering Miss Rich as a pregnant schoolteacher, I did some research and found what could be a potential connection. I outlined it in the thread description... what do you think?
  • It could be. The question is, do we treat AC's books as describing one coherent world, or each book on it's own. This isn't the only "vague" link - someone pointed out that the crazed woman in the sanatorium in "Sleeping murder may be the same one mentioned in one of the Tommy and Tuppence books. I wonder if these links were really in the back of AC's mind when she wrote the books, or whether it's just coincidence, and it is our need to connect and create a coherent world out of her books. Just as a lot of us were excited to find "link" books - such as The moving finger linking Miss Marple and Mrs. Dane Calthorpe, The Pale horse Linking Mrs. Calthorpe and Ariadne Oliver, and several books linking Mrs. Oliver and Hercule Poirot - "proving" that HP and MM lived in the same fictional world.  
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭
    I think Tali is right, we have a need to link all the books together to fit our tidy minds and our tidy way of thinking and in some cases it works like for instance I think it is Poirot who meets a Head Mistress who knows the Head of Meadowbanks and her Old School has a name that sounds similar to Meadowbanks but In some cases there is no way you can link other Books, how for instance can you link other books to And Then There were None, Passenger To Frankfurt, Ordeal By Innocense or Crooked House although it is quite conceivable that Bundle and Lady Derwent mix in the same circles.
  • HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
    It could be. The question is, do we treat AC's books as describing one coherent world, or each book on it's own. This isn't the only "vague" link - someone pointed out that the crazed woman in the sanatorium in "Sleeping murder may be the same one mentioned in one of the Tommy and Tuppence books. I wonder if these links were really in the back of AC's mind when she wrote the books, or whether it's just coincidence, and it is our need to connect and create a coherent world out of her books. Just as a lot of us were excited to find "link" books - such as The moving finger linking Miss Marple and Mrs. Dane Calthorpe, The Pale horse Linking Mrs. Calthorpe and Ariadne Oliver, and several books linking Mrs. Oliver and Hercule Poirot - "proving" that HP and MM lived in the same fictional world.  
    That is certainly a question we need to address, Tali, but I am of the belief, prompted by the examples you have stated, that the books are all taking place coherently, or along the same time-frame. Mr Satterthwaite, outstanding as a quiet observer and social snob, appeared also in both Harley Quin stories and a Poirot (Murder in Three Acts). It is banking on quite a large assumption, but Christie has been known to drop little hints, as you also mentioned with Miss Rich, of two interconnected characters. I simply thought that this might be the case because I read of Mrs Rival's account of a pregnant schoolteacher, and lo and behold! A nice, convenient one appeared in the form of Miss Rich.
  • That is certainly a question we need to address, Tali, but I am of the belief, prompted by the examples you have stated, that the books are all taking place coherently, or along the same time-frame. Mr Satterthwaite, outstanding as a quiet observer and social snob, appeared also in both Harley Quin stories and a Poirot (Murder in Three Acts). It is banking on quite a large assumption, but Christie has been known to drop little hints, as you also mentioned with Miss Rich, of two interconnected characters. I simply thought that this might be the case because I read of Mrs Rival's account of a pregnant schoolteacher, and lo and behold! A nice, convenient one appeared in the form of Miss Rich.
    I'm re-reading "Clocks"  - I'll see if I can fit the books together on this point.

  • HerculeAndAchilleHerculeAndAchille Harrogate, England ✭✭✭
    If you want some reference, I outlined it in the thread description. Thanks for the help, Tali.
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