Category Archives: suspense

A Secret Message in an Agatha Christie Novel

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The note that I found slipped between the pages of my book (Agatha’s ‘They Do It With Mirrors’) gave me the terse message:

‘We are no further from the truth. 87a.’

I disposed of this slip of paper in the time-honoured way – I ate it – then set to thinking upon this latest ‘lack of’ development.

We had been passing messages this way for all of two months. I, receiving a thin strand of rice-paper with short missives; my counterpart having the benefit of my replies and questions in a similar form, attached to various items or concealed at random points where we knew each other to be. These destinations had been set up by the number/letter arrangement on the end of the message – ’87a’ meant I was to be at Henri’s Wednesday at 14:45. We had a series of locations, days and times that we had conceived as our drop-off codes; anytime we had a feeling that the code had been *infiltrated* we would use one of our ‘curtail’ keywords. We rarely met. The system in its simple way worked – though at the moment there seemed that there was little of anything for anybody to infiltrate.

Tbc (possibly)

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Tales from the Whom Household (A Work in Progress)

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An Episode in the #dialogueforaplay series

Dr. P: Hello! I’m Doctor Proctor, Vector Inspector.

Maud: Really?

Dr. P: Yes. Don’t you believe me?

Maud: Well, it is a bit far-fetched.

Dr. P: I am an imminent physician!

Maud: Don’t you mean ’eminent?’

Dr. P: I might do. In time. Who is asking?

Maud: Whom?

Dr. P: Okay; ‘whom’ is asking?

Maud: No. I am Lady Whom, Lady Maud Whom. The last in a long line of Whoms.

Dr. P: Ah! Just the parsonage that I was looking for!

Maud: If you are looking for the Parsonage, it’s by the church – as is usual in these villages.

Dr. P: Sorry? I think you misunderstand, or misunderstood me. I was looking for Lady Whom.

Maud: You ‘was’ looking for her? Have you stopped looking for her now, young man?

Dr. P: I have. Seeing as how I has now found her whereabouts; which turned out to be hereabouts.

Maud: Or thereabouts!

Dr. P: Precisely! I was misdirected the wrong way by some youths on the traffic islands at the edge of the village.

Maud: Layabouts… on roundabouts.

Dr. P: In-deed!

Maud: And in fact, supposéd doctor.

Dr. P: I must speak with you.

Maud: Then we must stop this conversation immediately.

Dr. P: Or sooner.

Maud: Very well. (There is a short pause) About what would you speak to Lady Whom about?

Dr. P: Do you always speak of yourself in the third person?

Maud: Yes; I used to play cricket.

Dr. P: Ah! I see.

Narr: Though he clearly didn’t.

Dr. P: And who or ‘whom’ are you Sirrah?

Narr: I am the narrator to your conversation; I add a few details here and there to allow the listener (or the reader) to understand what is going on.

Dr. P: Why should they be akin to that knowledge when we so clearly are not?

Narr: It is the way of things in this sort of genre, Dr. Proctor.

Dr. P: Harrumph!

Maud: Yes. I can see that it may be a help to our audience; but, it is a bit unfair on us.

Narr: I have no free will in this, malady; my words have been written for me in advance.

Dr. P: What! Are we predestined to a destined destination?

Narr: Yes.

Maud: And we have to follow a path set out for us.

Narr: Yes.

Dr. P: Without any hope of ultimate salvation?

Narr: Yes.

Maud:

#dialogueforaplay (Tweets 106-111)

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106

PC Leaves (it’s his name) leaves.

Lady W: Do you think he suspects?

Syd: He hasn’t a clue!

Stiff: He’s not alone.

Tbc

107

Syd: Are you still alive?

Stiff: I’m ‘invincible!’

Lady W: I can see you!

Stiff: Really?

Lady W: As plain as this!

Tbc

108

The dagger gets the stiff ‘really’ dead.

Lady W: Now that ‘we’ have cleared the field, the Whom fortune is mine!

Tbc

109

Syd: Yours?

Lady W: Yes, mine, take this!

Syd: A bottle with ‘Poison!’ writ on it!

Lady W: I’m all out of knives.

Tbc

110

Syd: Do you really think I’m going to drink this?

Lady W: Not at all – that’s why I coated the bottle in poison.

Tbc

111

Syd: You…

Syd dies

Lady W: …win?

PC Leaves returns.

PC: I’m going to need a bigger notebook!

PC Leaves leaves

Tbc

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#dialogueforaplay (Tweets 64-75)

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64

Act 2 Scene1

Stage is lit. A uniformed policeman is present. The lights go out as DCI Syd of CID enters. He trips

Tbc

65

DCI: Darn!

The lights go up. DCI is on the floor with the white outline. He stands up with it. DCI: What’s this?

Tbc

66

PC: That’s the outline of the stiff’s body, sir.

DCI: Isn’t it supposed to be in chalk? PC: HSE rules! Dust hazard!

Tbc

67

DCI: Chalk dust! A hazard? You cannot be serious!

PC: Deadly, sir.

DCI: Deadly ‘serious’ or deadly ‘chalk dust’?

Tbc

68

PC: Both! We have to use chalk ‘substitute’.

DCI: It’s ‘Iron!’ Aren’t HSE worried about ‘rust!’

PC: I can’t say.

Tbc

69

DCI: You can tell me I’m a policeman.

PC: You’re a policeman!

DCI: Really! By the way; where has the stiff gone?

Tbc

70

PC: The body of the “deceased” was apprehended trying to buy a drink in the intermission. He wasn’t ‘really’ dead!

Tbc

71

DCI: Constable, let’s pretend that the ‘stiff’ is a real ‘live’ dead man for the moment. The public expects it.

Tbc

72

PC: Make a wish!

DCI: Sorry?

PC: As you wish! Tip of the Slongue.

DCI: Have you been drinking?

PC: Yes, sir, water!

Tbc

73

DC Acey enters. Sees policemen, about turns.

DCI: Have you found any clues, Constable?

PC: Only snooker ones, sir.

Tbc

74

DCI: I’ll let that rest. Where are the suspects?

PC: They were in the bar, too.

DCI: Keep it realistic, constable.

Tbc

75

An unknown lady walks in from ‘out’.

Lady: Is this the ‘Crime Scene?’

DCI: It is.

Lady: Lovely! Thanks!

She leaves.

Tbc

-/-

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