Miss Marple’s Final Cases
A collection of Miss Marple mysteries, plus some bonus short stories…First, the mystery man in the church with a bullet-wound… then, the riddle of a dead man’s buried treasure… the curious conduct oif a caretaker after a fatal riding accident… the corpse and a tape-measure… the girl framed for theft… and the suspect accused of stabbing his wife with a dagger.Six gripping cases with one thing in common – the astonishing deductive powers of Miss Marple.Also includes two non-Marple mysteries, ‘The Dressmaker’s Doll’ and ‘In a Glass Darkly’.
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd
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London SE1 9GF
First published in Great Britain by Collins, The Crime Club 1979
Miss Marple’s Final Cases™ is a trade mark of Agatha Christie Limited
and Agatha Christie® Marple® and the Agatha Christie Signature are
registered trade marks of Agatha Christie Limited in the UK and elsewhere.
Copyright © 1979 Agatha Christie Limited. All rights reserved.
Cover by www.juliejenkinsdesign.com (http://www.juliejenkinsdesign.com) © HarperCollins/Agatha Christie Ltd 2016
Agatha Christie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
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Source ISBN: 9780008196646
Ebook Edition © December 2016 ISBN: 9780007422463
Table of Contents
Title Page (#u7ae281b8-11f8-5441-8ac9-ec0f68a6c85a)
Strange Jest (#u63f9f6e5-7529-5997-8627-6b962131ddc1)
Tape-Measure Murder (#litres_trial_promo)
The Case of the Caretaker (#litres_trial_promo)
The Case of the Perfect Maid (#litres_trial_promo)
Miss Marple Tells a Story (#litres_trial_promo)
The Dressmaker’s Doll (#litres_trial_promo)
In a Glass Darkly (#litres_trial_promo)
Greenshaw’s Folly (#litres_trial_promo)
Also by Agatha Christie (#litres_trial_promo)
About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)
The vicar’s wife came round the corner of the vicarage with her arms full of chrysanthemums. A good deal of rich garden soil was attached to her strong brogue shoes and a few fragments of earth were adhering to her nose, but of that fact she was perfectly unconscious.
She had a slight struggle in opening the vicarage gate which hung, rustily, half off its hinges. A puff of wind caught at her battered felt hat, causing it to sit even more rakishly than it had done before. ‘Bother!’ said Bunch.
Christened by her optimistic parents Diana, Mrs Harmon had become Bunch at an early age for somewhat obvious reasons and the name had stuck to her ever since. Clutching the chrysanthemums, she made her way through the gate to the churchyard, and so to the church door.
The November air was mild and damp. Clouds scudded across the sky with patches of blue here and there. Inside, the church was dark and cold; it was unheated except at service times.
‘Brrrrrh!’ said Bunch expressively. ‘I’d better get on with this quickly. I don’t want to die of cold.’
With the quickness born of practice she collected the necessary paraphernalia: vases, water, flower-holders. ‘I wish we had lilies,’ thought Bunch to herself. ‘I get so tired of these scraggy chrysanthemums.’ Her nimble fingers arranged the blooms in their holders.
There was nothing particularly original or artistic about the decorations, for Bunch Harmon herself was neither original nor artistic, but it was a homely and pleasant arrangement. Carrying the vases carefully, Bunch stepped up the aisle and made her way towards the altar. As she did so the sun came out.
It shone through the east window of somewhat crude coloured glass, mostly blue and red—the gift of a wealthy Victorian churchgoer. The effect was almost startling in its sudden opulence. ‘Like jewels,’ thought Bunch. Suddenly she stopped, staring ahead of her. On the chancel steps was a huddled dark form.
Putting down the flowers carefully, Bunch went up to it and bent over it. It was a man lying there, huddled over on himself. Bunch knelt down by him and slowly, carefully, she turned him over. Her fingers went to his pulse—a pulse so feeble and fluttering that it told its own story, as did the almost greenish pallor of his face. There was no doubt, Bunch thought, that the man was dying.
He was a man of about forty-five, dressed in a dark, shabby suit. She laid down the limp hand she had picked up and looked at his other hand. This seemed clenched like a fist on his breast. Looking more closely she saw that the fingers were closed over what seemed to be a large wad or handkerchief which he was holding tightly to his chest. All round the clenched hand there were splashes of a dry brown fluid which, Bunch guessed, was dry blood. Bunch sat back on her heels, frowning.
Up till now the man’s eyes had been closed but at this point they suddenly opened and fixed themselves on Bunch’s face. They were neither dazed nor wandering. They seemed fully alive and intelligent. His lips moved, and Bunch bent forward to catch the words, or rather the word. It was only one word that he said:
There was, she thought, just a very faint smile as he breathed out this word. There was no mistaking it, for after a moment he said it again, ‘Sanctuary …’