Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in a Victorian mansion which doubles as a rehabilitation centre for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when a youth fires a revolver at the administrator, Lewis Serrocold. Neither is injured. But a mysterious visitor, Mr Gulbrandsen, is less fortunate – shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.
Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and vows to discover the real reason for Mr Gulbrandsen’s visit.
The more I read Christie, the more nuances I pick up on in individual books. She sometimes themes her books in a particular way. The theme here, according to me, is illusions.
This story also provides an insight into psychology and psychiatry of the times. How mental health was viewed, the stands taken by the medical community, what psychiatry seemed to believe at the time, was very illuminating to someone reading this in the current era.
Which made me realize there’s a lot of insights into class and nationality based prejudice as well in that period of time, that Christie so neatly portrays – not just here but many other books. Here though, there is more commentary on these things in terms of how the characters are with each other as well.
The story itself is a murder mystery, as we expect from the Queen of Crime. It’s about a very blended family, disparate characters, juvenile delinquents, psychiatry, plays and illusions, psychological theories of that time, a trust to help the aforementioned delinquents, and a lot of money. If these are things that interest you, you’ll love this book.
Looking at many of the recent reviews on the site, so many of them are about Agatha Christie books. This is, in part, due to the fact that I started my Agatha Christie Reading challenge, and hence have been reading more of those. I suppose I should start interspersing them with books by other authors. So many books in the world, not enough time to read them all!