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June's Book of the Month: A Murder is Announced



  • Griselda said:

    Interesting though, I saw a factual error which is something which I have not spotted in any other AC book. Julia's eyes change colour when described in two different chapters. 

    Good job coming across that; very observant!

    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • @taliavishay-arbel: concerning the subject of homosexuality, back then in the 50's if a lesbian couple moved into the neighborhood or an English village and if they looked the way Agatha Christie described Hinch and Murgatroyd in the book, wouldn't there have been unacceptance, gossping, and some sort of heavy-handed, harsh, or smart a'leck remark or comment towards them from others, maybe not everyone but at least someone (not a comment concerning their sexual orientation but any harsh comment that would indicate something of the sort like "I know who you are and I don't approve of it", not exactly saying that but showing it in their attitude and comments)? Concerning Hinch and Murgatroyd's appearance when they were both seen together, would that have been the stereotypical appearance of how others perceived a lesbian couple to actually look like in England in the 1950's?

    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    That's true - about Cards on the Table. And in the case of when one woman was a paid companion, it wasn't necessarily broadcast - it was accepted that these were two woman choosing to live together. 

    I felt that there was a good chance of the first plot failing, but made less chancy if SPOILER ALERT !! the murderer is the resident - and there is the crucial issue of the door which was oiled and unlocked unbeknown to anyone else. It gives the killer a major advantage. I don't think the young man expected any threat, so he would be a sitting duck. What I like in a way is the sense that it is a risk, and that it is why everything unravels for the murderer - so there is a logic there - because the killer doesn't get away with the crime. It is very similar, in that respect, to Death on the Nile SPOILER ALERT!!, when the crime is a matter of minutes, and risky if anyone sees, which in the case of the first and second murder they do see it, and all goes wrong for the killer. Perhaps this is what happens with optimistic  sociopathic killer, they think they are too clever, all seems to be going their way, but if someone has seen, their story won't make sense - so the crime depends completely on all going to plan - which they confidently always think it will, and don't really make contigency plans for it not.

     I can imagine the killer in A Murder is Announced must have made the dishonest decision she did a few years earlier, and then realised, to her horror, that there can be no turning back, and the consequences of disclosure will be terrible.
  • This is an interesting point - is there really no turning back? When the book starts. the fraud has been committed, but has not had any results - Belle Goedler is still alive, the money is still hers. When the risk of exposure arises, The heroine can still expose herself, give up the fraudulent scheme, and at worst face a bit of censure and ridicule.(She doesn't even have to go public - only let Belle Goedler and her lawyers know).  However, either at this point the expectation of the inheritance is to much of a temptation, or else her respectibility is too important. I think that in "Death on the Nile" Poirot talks about the point of no return, and the need to pull back before that point. Here, that point is not the appearance of Rudi Shertz but his death.
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, Miss Marple, in Murder is Announced, does SPOILER ALERT!!! talk about announcements in the paper, re deaths, and Bunny gets in touch with L because she has seen that she is giving prizes or something at a fete,  SPOILER ALERT !!! and when Bunny gets there, she sees that it is the wrong L. So, there was the chance that the papers could get hold of the story if Rudy went to them, and then all these friends and connections L had known would look down on her.  I think if a third party, not Belle discovered and went to the police it might be treated as serious fraud. It could be argued that there would be not only social humiliation if the fraud were to be discovered - but probably prison too. SPOILER ALERT !! She had conned people  out of what was rightfully theirs. 

    But on the other hand, I feel, Taliavishay -arbel that you are correct. She would own up, and Belle would forgive and understand, given Belle's magnaminous and unmaterialistic charactier - and maybe Belle would think that if the rich guy whose name escapes me wanted to help SPOILER ALERT his secretary, he wouldn't want her sister to go without the good things in life either. Perhaps there was a chance for L to turn back, when she saw that she might be blackmailed by Rudy: she could have thrown herself on Belle's mercy. That way, there would be nothing for Rudy to gain if he went to the police because Belle would tell the police to leave it.

     However, anything involving blackmail could result in one losing the bulk of one's fortune - so it depends on how fond of money one is how one responds to a blackmailer. 

    That being said, especially given Belle's character, I think you are correct, and she could have got out of the mess sooner. I'm now seeing the novel with new eyes. SPOILER ALERT I think the character of the murderer is important: she had been a carefree and happy young woman, before her illness, and as such, probably wasn't very stoical, and able to cope with a session of embarrassment for the sake of doing what is right and owning up.  
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    SEMI SPOILER ALERT Is it credible that two sisters would not at first recognize one another? I know there has been an intervening period of about 23 years, but don't people just sense something if they are twins?
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭

    One is morec observent than the other and recognises the twin, I wouldn't mind betting the other one The Gardner came to Chipping Cleghorn knowing that Miss Blacklock was there and thought she might see er long lost sibling.

  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, I guess that in those days, claiming kin, or seeking out a benefactor who isn't a relative was the key way to get out of a mess with lack of money. Again, Miss Marple is always commenting on announcements in the paper and one of the sisters being mentioned. As they were 'Society' it would be easy to find out what they were doing - for anyone interested in knowing.
  • Griselda - at the point where the story begins, the killer has actually committed no crime but false identity - the property and money she owns come from her father and sister who are dead, and who, we have every reason to believe, have not made wills leaving their property elsewhere. So that if at this point she decides to backpedal there probably won't be any criminal proceedings involved, and certainly no prison time. 

    About 2 women living together - this is a situation that appears in other writers' books, and was probably more common than it is today. E.G. in the Chalet School series, Grizel ends up joining a friend of hers on a chicken farm. And the highly moral Chalet School owners lend her the money for her share - so this is a perfectly acceptable way of life for a young to middle-aged woman who doesn't have the inclination or the means (financial, physical or social) to marry. 
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    I see what you mean. She doesn't get the money, SPOILER ALERT until after Belle's death. So, what drives her, I wonder, to her crime? Embarrassment; greed? It does seem like going to extreme lengths.

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