Tag Archive: mystery


Our school has an unwritten motto: “Keep your alumnae close and your rich alumnae closer.

I was also upset that I seemed to be falling apart. I had always thought of myself as a relatively strong person: I had weathered the deaths of both my
parents before I was thirty, endured a marriage to a man who humiliated me with his actions at least once a year, put myself through graduate school while  working full-time, and gotten a doctorate in the shortest amount of time possible. Now, I was involved in something totally out of my realm of experience and the thought of it made me sick and more than a little crazed.The weather was beautiful: bright, sunny, and clear, and in direct contrast to my mood: dark, cloudy, and complicated. I was furious at Max for leaving  me on Broadway, and I was mad at myself for allowing her to convince me to do something I knew wasn’t right.Kathy’s death also weighed heavily on my  mind. Parents sent their children to our school thinking they would be safe: a Catholic institution, a long tradition of graduating strong, independent women  (and a few men), and a peaceful setting all contributed to a feeling of safety and well-being.

We spent an hour or so stocking up on cosmetics and hair accessories at Sephora, the large cosmetics retailer on the bottom floor. Max’s hair was only a few inches long, but she bought some jeweled barrettes and some kind of turban that she said was essential to making home facials successful. We wandered around the bath aisle, finally picking up some kind of shower gel that promised, “serenity, sensuality, and a feeling of well-being.” Whatever. I[
smelled like coconut. I also picked a lipstick called Jennifer, which was a muted peachy brown and not nearly dramatic enough for Max who stuck heO
tongue out in disgust when I showed it to her.

The waiter arrived and we placed our order: me, the usual, and Max, a medium cheddar burger with fries and a chocolate shake. She looked at me and said, “I didn’t have breakfast,” as a way of explaining her large order. She’s one of those people who eats to excess and remains a size four; if I hadn’t witnessed her hedonism over the last twenty years, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. But she ate and drank to excess five out of seven nights never exercised, and still looked amazing.

I wasn’t feeling so lighthearted. I looked around the restaurant, feeling vulnerable, exposed, and a bit sad. Max was like Teflon–everything slid off her\
She didn’t seem affected by anything and found humor in almost everything. And right now, she wasn’t even sensitive enough to shut her trap and notice
that I was scared.

I guess she wasn’t as dense as I thought. She had been right there with me, all the time.

“Are you always this controlling?” I asked.”Are you always this stubborn?” He drove to my house and pulled up in front.

I could become a beer drinker in my new life as a single thirtysomething. I imagined myself at singles’ parties, hoisting beers, a big grin on my face, telling  jokes and meeting lots of other single people. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. As long as I had beer and a few single friends, I could live the life of a single woman.

She popped the trunk from inside the car and got out to retrieve her packages and her computer. Based on years of experience, I knew that we would be having a fashion show later when she modeled all of her new purchases.

DON’T SAY A WORD-Barbara Freethy

Slowing down was not part of Alex’s nature. Venturing into unknown territory, taking the photograph no one else could get, that was what he lived for.

She just needed to convince Alex to go along with it. But he was a lot like his father- stubborn, secretive, and always leaving to go somewhere. It was no wonder he wasn’t married. He couldn’t commit, couldn’t settle, couldn’t put a woman before his work-just like Charles.

He was definitely not a nine-to-five business executive or a corporate worker bee. He was a photojournalist who roamed the world, a free spirit. No wonder he’d chosen to live here when he was in town. “This neighborhood fits you,” she said.

He nodded in agreement. “It does. Freedom to be different is a luxury in many corners of the world. It’s nice to be reminded that it still exists here in San Francisco.”

“Sometimes strangers end up lovers,” Dasha said. “It happened to me when a stranger asked to share my umbrella in the rain.” A soft look came into her eyes. “We were both supposed to be with other people. We’d made promises, but love doesn’t always go as one plans, and sometimes promises have to be broken. We’ve been together forty-two years now, and we’ve been through many rough storms, but they’re easier to bear when there’s an umbrella to share and a stranger who has become a good friend.” Dasha smiled and returned to the deli counter.

The next day Julia attended Sunday morning Mass surrounded by DeMarcos. They took up almost three rows at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. This was her family. This was her place in the world, she thought, as the priest spoke about community. It was almost as if he were speaking directly to her, telling her that the most important thing in the world was to cherish the people around her.

She stared at his hard profile. He looked so alone, so lost in his misery. She wanted to help him, but he wouldn’t let her. He was a proud man who had high expectations for himself. He didn’t tolerate failure or incompetence, and right now he was blaming himself for something he couldn’t have prevented.

It’s true I’m confused. But the one thing I’ve come to realize in the past few days is that I want to live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to stop myself from asking questions or stating my opinion because I’m afraid the person I’m talking to will get hurt. I want to be free, Michael. I want to travel. I want to work on my music, on my goals. And I don’t want to cheat myself or you. That’s what I’d be doing if I married you.”

“I doubt that will ever happen. I’m far too inhibited.” She licked her lips as his gaze roamed her face, as if he were searching for all her personal secrets. There were some things she didn’t want to share with him.

“Are you inhibited?” he asked. “Or is that just the way you’ve been raised to be?”  “It’s the same thing.”   “It’s not. I believe we’re influenced by our environment, the people in our lives.”  “I suppose that’s true. My mother was very big on rules and doing the right thing, telling the truth, never going astray. She and my father made such a big, happy family life for us that it was easy to be content in it. It wasn’t until she died that I started to look around and wonder what else I wanted. I must say it’s difficult to believe she might have been the biggest liar of all.” Every time Julia thought about the lies, her heart hurt.

She loved the way his mind worked. He was sharp, perceptive, interesting-a truly fascinating man. He lived a life that she wanted. Not the photography part, but the traveling part.

“How can you be so patient?” she asked. “I thought you were a man of action.”

“When it’s called for. But I also know how to wait for the perfect light, the right angle, and the clearest view. Your mind takes photographs of everything you see just the way a camera does. Eventually it will develop those early pictures for you.”

Alex shrugged, kicking off his shoes. “Never look back,” he advised. “It doesn’t do any good.”

He spoke as head gardeners should speak–mournfully, but with dignity–like an emperor at a funeral.

It was indeed characteristic of Bundle to be

in a hurry, especially when driving a car. She

had skill and nerve and was a good driver,

had it been otherwise her reckless pace would

have ended in disaster more than once.

It was a crisp October day, with a blue sky

and a dazzling sun. The sharp tang of the air

brought the blood to Bundle’s cheeks and

filled her with the zest of living.

In my opinion half the people who

spend their lives avoiding being run over by

buses had much better be run over and put

safely out of the way. They’re no good.”

It occurred to Lady Caterham that her

niece was really wonderfully improved. Had

she, perhaps, had an unfortunate love affair?

An unfortunate love affair, in Lady

Caterham’s opinion, was often highly

beneficial to young girls. It made them take

life seriously.

A damned funny crowd,” said Bundle,

vigorously massaging her arms and legs. “As

a matter of fact, they’re the sort of crowd I

always imagined until to-night only existed in

books. In this life, Alfred, one never stops

learning.”

Looks a good-natured, tubby

little chap. But Codders is absolutely

impossible. Drive, drive, drive, from

morning to night. Everything you do is

wrong, and everything you haven’t done you

ought to have done.”

The rock-like quality of the Superintendent showed out well. Not a muscle of his face

moved.”The best of us are defeated sometimes, sir,” he said quietly.

“I’m much too clever. Always have a good opinion

of yourself—that’s my motto.”

 

 

 Oh, its nothing to do with me,” said

Lord Caterham hastily; “Eileen settles her

own affairs. If she came to me to-morrow and

said she was going to marry the chauffeur, I

shouldn’t make any objections. It’s the only

way nowadays. Your children can make life

damned unpleasant if you don’t give in to

them in every way. I say to Bundle, “Do as

you like, but don’t worry me,’ and really, on the whole, she is amazingly good about it.

. What a fatal thing

it is to pretend to take an interest in a man’s pet subject.

 

AFTER THE FUNERAL- christie

Of course Cora was a rather unbalanced and excessively stupid woman,  nd she had been noted, even as a girl, for the embarrassing manner in  which she had blurted out unwelcome truths. At least, he didn’t mean truths–that was quite the wrong word to use. Awkward statements–that was a much better term.

Cora’s unfortunate gaffe had been forgotten. After all,

Cora had always been, if not subnormal, at any rate embarrassingly naive. She had never had any idea of what should

or should not be said. At nineteen it had not mattered so

much. The mannerisms of an enfant terrible can persist to

then, but an enfant terrible of nearly fifty is decidedly disconcerting.

To blurt out unwelcome truths– Mr. Entwhistle’s train of thought came to an abrupt check.It was the second time that that disturbing word had occurred. Truths. And why was it so disturbing ? because, of course,that had always been at the bottom of the embarrassment that Cora’s outspoken comments had caused. It was because her ave statements had been either true or had contained some grain of truth that they had been so embarrassing.

Well, the doctor had been wrong–but doctors, as they were

the first to admit themselves, could never be sure about the

individual reaction of a patient to disease. Cases given up,

unexpectedly recovered. Patients on the way to recovery,

relapsed and died. So much depended on the vitality of the

patient. On his own inner urge to live.

It made her sad to think of that, but she pushed the sadness aside

resolutely. It did one no good to dwell on the past.

A large umber of Wives with matrimonial troubles

had passed through the office of Bollard, Entwhistle, Entwhistle

and Bollard. Wives madly devoted to unsatisfactory and

often what appeared quite unprepossessing husbands, wives

contemptuous of, and bored by, apparently attractive and

impeccable husbands. What any woman saw in some particular

man was beyond the comprehension of the average intelligent

male. It just was so. A woman who could be intelligent

about everything else in the world could be a complete fool

when it came to some particular man.

At my age the chief pleasure, almost the only pleasure that still remains, is the pleasure of the table.Mercifully I have an excellent stomach.”

She had character, you see, and character is always highly individual.”

“Women are never kind,” remarked Poirot. “Though they

can sometimes be tender.

‘ Women can be fools in ninety-nine different ways but be pretty shrewd in the hundredth. Oh yes, and he said, ‘

A woman of very exceptional character, She mayhave had certain–what shall I say ?–reticences in her life.

“It’s not your place to say anything of that kind–that’s what you really mean. But there are times when one has to do violence to one’s sense of what is fitting.

“Don’t think. That is the wrong way to bring anything back. Let it go. Sooner or later it will flash into your mind. And when it does-let me know–at once.”

It was true that Miss Gilchrist did not benefit from Cora Lansquenet’s death but who was to know that ? And  besides, there were so many tales—ugly tales-of animOSity arising between women who lived together–strange pathological motives for sudden violence.

“A funeral has always been a recognised excuse for absenteeism. And this funeral is indubitably genuine. Besides,a murder always fascinates people.

“Oh no, it’s not. Perhaps your generation doesn’t do it.

Young ladies nowadays mayn’t se so much store on getting married. But it is an old custom. Put a piece of wedding cake under your pillow and you’ll dream of your future husband.”

“I sent the boys out. They do what they can–good ladsgood lads all of them, but not what they used to be in the old days. They don’t come that way nowadays. Not willing to learn, that’s what it is. Think they know everything after they’ve only been a couple of years on the job. And they work to time. Shocking the way they work to time.”

“And all this education racket. It gives them ideas. They come back and tell us what they think. They can’t think, most of them, anyway. All they know is things out of books., That’s ,n,o good in our business. Bring in the answers–that s all that s needed—no thinking.”

Never shall I forget the killing of

Lord Edgware. I was nearly defeated–yes, I, Hercule

Poirot–by the extremely simple cunning of a vacant brain. The very simple minded have often the genius to commit an uncomplicated crime and then leave it alone. Let us hope that our murderer–if there is a murderer in this affair—is intelligent and superior and thoroughly pleased with himself and unable to resist painting the Iffy.

She’s

devoted to her husband, treats him like a child. “Yes, yes, the maternal complex.”

Always thinking of something new they were, these doctors.

Look at them telling old Rogers he had a disc or some such

in his spine. Plain lumbago, that was all that was the matter

with him. Her father had been a gardener and he’d suffered

from lumbago.

Oh l it is true enough–it is an old maxim–everyone has something to hide. It is true of all of us–it is perhaps true of you, too, Madame. But I say to you, nothing can be ignored.

“How clever of you. I suppose backs are distinctive.” “Much more so than faces. Add a beard and pads in your cheeks and do a few things to your hair and nobody will know you when you come face to face with them–but beware of the moment when you walk away.”

George looked at his cousin appreciatively, lie admired the slanting planes of her face, the generous mouth, the radiant colouring. Altogether an unusual and vivid face. And he recognised in Susan that odd, indefinable quality, the quality of success.

As a cousin

he did not mind being spiteful, but he had an uneasy sense

that Susan’s feeling for her husband was a thing to be treated

with care. It had all the qualities of a dangerous explosive.

“You forget that I’m a lawyer. I see a lot of the queer,illogical side of people.

“Nothing. I only want you to be—careful, ,,Mick.” “Careful about what ? I’m always careful. -. “No,I don’t think you are. You alway thnk you can get away with things and that everyone will elieve.wha-teve, r,

you want them to.

“Things aren’t over when you’ve done them. It’s really a sort of beginning and then one’s got to arrange what to do

next, and what’s important and what is not.”

There was a quality of passive resistance about her that seemed unexpectedly strong.Had she, while apparently graceful and unconcerned, managed to impress her own reluctance upon him ?

For Hercule Poirot had a lifetime of experience behind him, and as a man who deals with pictures can recognize the artist, so Poirot believed he could recognize a likely type of the amateur criminal who will–if his own particular need arises be prepared to kill.

He had used his eyes and his ears. He had watched and listened–openly and behind doors! He had noticed affinities, antagonisms, the unguarded words that arose as always when property was to be divided. He had

engineered adroitly tte–ttes, walks upon the terrace, and

had made his deductions and observations.

“But you are a realist, Madame. Let us admit without more ado

that the world is full of the young–or even the middle-aged–who wait,

patiently or impatiently, for the death of someone whose decease will give them if not affluence –then opportunity.”

How averse human beings were ever to admit ignorance!

. More or less forgotten by all, Hercule Poirot leant back in his chair, sipped his coffee and observed, as a cat may observe, the twitterings, and comings and goings of a flock of birds. The cat is not ready yet to make its spring.

“Rather a shame to bait old Timothy,” he said. “But he really is quite unbelievable. He’s had his own way in every-thing so iong that he’s become quite pathological about it.”

“The truth is,” said George, “that one very seldom looks

properly at anyone. That’s why one gets such wildly differing

accounts of a person from different witnesses in court. You’d

be surprised. A man is often described as tall–short; thin

–stout; fair–dark; dressed in a dark–light–suit; and so

on. There’s usually one reliable observer, but one has to make

up one’s mind who that is.”

“Another queer thing,” said Susan,” is that you sometimes

catch sight of yourself in a mirror unexpectedly and don’t

know who it is. It,just looks vaguely familiar. And you say

to yourself, ‘That s somebody I know quite well.., and

then suddenly realise it’s yourself”

George said: “It would be more difficult still if you could

really see yourself—and not a mirror image.”

“Why ?” asked Rosamund, looking puzzled.

“Because, don’t you see, nobody ever sees themselves–as

they appear to other people. They always see themselves in a

glass–that is–as a reversed image.”

“She is of the generation that rises early,” said Poirot

nodding his head. “The younger ones, now they do not get

up so early ?”

peril at end house

read at one go yesterday night…………now that i remember ,  maybe that’s the reason i had a gud night’s sleep and woke up happy ?!    many twists and turns……….suspected nick at one point due to the  ‘ old nick-young nick thing ‘  –  u know christie’s predilection for  ” evil streak  running  in the family ” ….but with the box of chocolates ……….i ruled her out .ok  , here go the excerpts………..

No seaside town in the south of England is, I think, as attractive as St. Loo. It is well named the Queen of Watering Places and  reminds one forcibly of the Riviera. The Cor-nish coast is to my mind every bit as fasci-nating as that of the south of France.

And for the English I have always had, as you know, a great admiration.

She impressed me, I think, as the most tired person I had ever met. Tired in mind, not in body, as though she had found everything in the world to be empty and valueless.

“She’s one of my oldest friends,” she said, “and I always think loyalty’s such a tiresome virtue, don’t you? Principally practiced by the Scotch like thrift and keeping the Sab-bath.

“Possibly. It is an interesting subject of after-dinner conversation are all criminals really madmen? There may be a malformation in their grey cells yes, it is very likely. That, it is the affair of the doctor. For me I have different work to perform. I have the innocent to think of, not the guilty the victim, not the criminal. It is you I am considering, Mademoiselle, not your unknown assailant. You are young and beautiful, and the sun shines and the world is pleasant, and there is life and love ahead of you. It is all that of which I think, Mademoiselle.

“Lonely? What a funny idea. I’m not down here much, you know. I’m usually in  London.Relations are too devastating as a rule. They fuss and interfere. It’s much more fun to be on one’s own.”

la recherche des elephants’

Nom d’un petit bonhomme – name of a matchstick

“As one journeys through life,” said Poirot, “one finds more and more that people are often interested in things that are none of their own business. Even more so than they are in things that could be considered as their own business.”

A fairly imperious woman. Would have her way. Intelligent, intellectual, satisfied, he thought, with life as she  had lived it, enjoying the pleasures and suffering the sorrows life brings.

I believe that it is fairly well recognized by the medical profession that identical twins are born either with a great bond between them, a great likeness in their characters which means that although they may be divided in their environment, where they are brought up, the same things will happen to them at the same time of life. They will take the same trend. Some of the cases quoted as medical examples seem quite extraordinary.Two sisters, one living in Europe, one, say, in France, the other in England, they have a dog of the same kind which they choose at about the same date. They marry men singularly alike. They give birth perhaps to a child almost within a month of each other. It is as though they have to follow the pattern wherever they are and without knowing what the other one is doing. Then there is the opposite to that. A kind of revulsion, a hatred almost, that makes one sister draw apart, or one brother reject the other as though they seek to get away from the sameness, the likeness, the knowledge, the things they have in common. And that can lead to very strange results.”

“I know,” said Poirot, “I have heard of it. I have seen it

once or twice. Love can turn to hate very easily. It is easier to

hate where you have loved than it is to be indifferent where

you have loved.”

I am thinking of the girl, Celia. A rebellious girl, spirited, difficult perhaps to manage but with brains, a good mind, capable of happiness, capable of courage, but needing—there are people who need—truth. Because they can face truth without dismay. They can face it with that brave acceptance that you have to have in life if life is to be any good to you.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/The_Murder_of_Roger_Ackroyd_First_Edition_Cover_1926.jpg

It is odd, when you have a secret belief of your own which you do not wish to acknowledge, the. voicing of it by someone else will rouse you to a fury of denial.

Had she taken her own life? Surely, if she had done so, she would have left some word behind to say what she contemplated doing? Women, in my experience, if they once reach the determination to commit suicide, usually wish to reveal the state of mind that led to the fatal action. They covet the limelight. [ i do not agree men covet the limelight equally…….if not more]

Do not disquiet yourself. It is not with me a habit. But you can figure to yourself, monsieur, that a man may work towards a certain object,  may labour and toil to attain a certain kind of leisure and occupation, and then find that, after all, he yearns for the old busy days, and the old occupations that he thought himself so glad to leave?”The chains of habit. We work to attain an object, and the object gained, we find that what we miss is the daily toil.

The most interesting work there is in the world.”The study of human nature, monsieur!

I risked the substance forthe shadow.’


 

 

One can press a man as far as one likes – but with a woman one must not press too far. For a woman has at heart  a great desire to speak the truth. How many husbands who have deceived their wives go comfortably to their graves, carrying their secret with them! How many wives who have deceived their husbands wreck their lives by throwing the fact in those same husbands’ teeth! They have been pressed too far. In a reckless moment (which they will afterwards regret, bien entendu) they fling safety to the winds and turn at bay, proclaiming the truth with great momentary satisfaction to themselves.

Ten Little Indians

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;

One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;

One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;

One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;

One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;

A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Indian boys going in for law,

One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Indian boys going out to sea;

A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;

A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun;

On got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone;

He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

“Every one made such a fuss over things nowadays! They wanted injections before they had teeth pulled–they took drugs if they couldn’t sleep–they wanted easy chairs and cushions and the girls allowed their figures to slop about anyhow and lay about half naked on the beaches in summer.”
– Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None, Ch. 1

“There is no question of defence. I have always acted in accordance with the dictates of my conscience. I have nothing with which to reproach myself.”
– Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None, Ch. 4

A cool customer, he should imagine-and one who could hold her
own-in love or war. He’d rather like to take her on. .
There was something magical about an island-the mere word suggested fantasy. You   lost touch with the world-an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps,   from which you might never return. He thought: “I’m leaving my ordinary life behind me.”  And, smiling to himself, he began to make plans, fantastic plans for the future.
All  doctors are damned fools. Harley Street ones are the worst of the lot.”