Special Sub-Topic: Lethal Women in the Christie World
|In "Peril at End House" the young girl Magdala Buckley, who is nicknamed "Nick", survives several attempts on her life. Hercule Poirot takes an interest in the case, as he meets the young woman while he is vacationing with his friend Arthur Hastings in St. Loo. He tries to find out who could have reason to kill Nick Buckley. Poirot persuades Nick to have someone stay with her for the weekend to ensure her safety. Nick then invites her cousin Maggie Buckley. During the fireworks in the village that weekend, Maggie is found dead, wearing Nick's red shawl. Which female character is found to be the murderer?|
Nick Buckley. The murderer turns out to be none other than Nick Buckley herself. She is in love with pilot Michael Seton, who does, however, care more for her cousin Maggie. Maggie and Nick are both officially called Magdala, so Nick kills Maggie and claims that she is the beneficiary in the will of Michael Seton, who has died in a plane crash. Michael inherited a nice sum from his uncle Matthew. Nick staged the accidents that occurred to make it look like someone was trying to kill her.
|In "Nemesis" Miss Marple receives a letter from Jason Rafiel. She met Mr. Rafiel in "A Caribbean Mystery". The letter is send to her after his death. In the letter he asks her to solve a crime for him. She is to go on a tour of houses and gardens. The trip was arranged by Mr. Rafiel before he died. Soon Miss Marple finds out about a local girl, Verity Hunt, who was supposedly killed by Mr. Rafiel's son, Michael. As a headmistress who knew the girl gets killed, Miss Marple tries to find out who is really behind the old murder. Which female turns out to be responsible for the death of Verity?|
Clothilde Bradbury-Scott. Verity Hunt was killed by Clothilde Bradbury-Scott and buried in the garden of the home where Clothilde lived with her two sisters Anthea and Lavinia. Clothilde also killed a local girl called Nora Broad and identified her as Verity, trying to frame Michael Rafiel for the murder. Towards the end of the book Clothilde tries to kill Miss Marple as well, but fortunately Mr. Rafiel provided her with two guardian angels to save her.
|In "Crooked House" the wealthy Aristide Leonides is killed by substituting his insulin with eserine drops. The family hopes that Aristide's much younger wife Brenda turns out to be the killer, but eventually the murderer is revealed to be which female family member?|
Josephine Leonides. The murderer turns out to be Josephine Leonides, who is only twelve years old. She is not really mentally stable and wrote in her diary that her grandfather would not let her take ballet lessons. This was the reason for killing him. She has inherited all the bad family traits. Her aunt, Edith who does not have long to live, takes Josephine to town and deliberately gets them into a car accident, killing both her and Josephine. She has arranged to have Josephine's diary sent to Charles Hayward, thus revealing the truth about the murders.
|In "Cat Among the Pigeons" murder takes place at a famous school for girls called Meadowbank. One of the teachers is found dead in the new sports pavillion. Julia Upjohn, a student of the school, calls in Hercule Poirot when another body is found at the sports pavillion. He manages to identify not one, but actually two murderers, both female. Which of the two lethal women committed two of the three murders that occur in the story?|
Ann Shapland. There is much excitement going on at Meadowbank. After a revolution in the country of Ramat, the pilot of the ruler of this country manages to smuggle some expensive diamonds to England, before both he and the ruler are killed. The diamonds are concealed in the handle of a tennis racket belonging to his niece Jennifer Sutcliffe, who goes to Meadowbank. A lot of people are chasing these diamonds, one of them being Ann Shapland. She has recently been hired as the secretary of the headmistress Miss Bulstrode, but is really a spy who witnessed the diamonds being smuggled out of Ramat. She attempts to remove the diamonds from the tennis racket one night, but is interrupted by the games mistress. She is forced to kill her. She is later blackmailed by the French mistress and does not hesitate to kill again. The third murder in the book was actually committed by Miss Chadwick, who wanted to succeed Miss Bulstrode as headmistress when she retired, but was jealous of Miss Vansittart, who seemed to be first in line to take over. She killed Miss Vansittart when she caught her one night investigating in the sports pavillion after the first murder took place.
|In "Lord Edgware Dies", naturally, the title character meets his demise. His wife Jane Wilkinson arrives at their house and is admitted by the butler. She then goes to the study, where her husband is later found killed. It seems an easy case, but it soon is revealed that Jane was at a dinner party elsewhere with many witnesses present to claim she never left the table. Hercule Poirot investigates and soon finds the female killer responsible. Who is the lethal woman in this book?|
Jane Wilkinson. The murderer turns out to be Jane Wilkinson anyway. She saw actress Carlotta Adams at the theatre. Adams is know for doing wonderful impersonations. She pays her to appear at the dinner party as Jane Wilkinson. In the mean time she goes to the house to kill her husband, knowing her alibi has been set. Jane then meets with Carlotta to celebrate the successful impersonation, but poisons her drink with Veronal. She makes it look like Carlotta was addicted to Veronal and has killed herself. Hercule Poirot finds out the truth though, when he learns that the Jane Wilkinson at the party spoke at length with Donald Ross about Greek Mythology, a subject that the real Jane Wilkinson knew nothing about.
|In the "Mirror Cracked from Side to Side" we find the village of St. Mary Mead excited about Gossington Hall being sold to a film star. St. Mary Mead naturally is the home of famous amateur sleuth Miss Marple. Gossington Hall was previously owned by her friends Arthur and Dolly Bantry. Here a murder victim was once found in the book "The Body in the Library". Now Arthur Bantry has died and his wife has sold the large estate, but remains living in the lodge on the grounds. The house has been sold to film star Marina Gregg and her husband. They hold a fundraiser for the benefit of the local ambulance company. Many villagers attend the festivities and several guests are being allowed into the home, which was extensively redecorated, and get the chance to meet Marina Gregg. During the party a woman, Heather Badcock, dies of drinking a cocktail that contained poison. The cocktail was originally intended for Marina Gregg, so naturally it is assumed that she was the target. Miss Marple investigates and manages to deduce which female is responsible for the murder. Who is found to have murdered Heather Badcock?|
Marina Gregg. The murderer turns out to be Marina Gregg herself. She was introduced to Heather Badcock at the party. She told her she is a great fan and once she went to meet Marina to get an autograph, while she was actually ill. She suffered from German Measles at the time. Marina receives a great shock at learning this news. She had never been able to become pregnant, but when she finally managed, the child was born with severe mental defects, due to her having been infected with German Measles during pregnancy. She never found out how she got the disease, despite being very careful when she was pregnant. She slips poison in her own cocktail and manages to hand it to Heather Badcock to avenge the trauma the woman caused her.
|In "Murder is Easy" the narrator of the story is Luke Fitzwilliam. He is a policeman returning from the East. In the train home he meets Lavinia Fullerton, an elderly lady from the village of Wychwood-under-Ashe. She tells him she is on her way to Scotland Yard, to tell them that several deaths in the village are not natural as everyone assumed, but actually the work of a clever murderer who is not suspected by anyone. Luke is reminded of her story when he reads in the paper that Miss Fullerton was run over by a car and killed. Soon he also sees an obituary in the newspaper, announcing the death of Doctor John Humbleby, who Miss Fullerton had mentioned as the next intended victim. Luke goes to investigate in the village, posing as a writer who is doing research for a book on witchcraft. He manages to unmask the female murderer in the end and finds true love at the same time. Who is the woman responsible for many deaths in the village of Wychwood-under-Ashe?|
Honoria Waynflete. Honoria Waynflete is the murderer responsible in this book. She was once engaged to local businessman Lord Easterfield. He broke off the engagement after an incident where she killed her canary in a fit of rage. She never got over the engagement being broken off. She killed several people who had angered Lord Easterfield, actually making him believe that everyone who dared being unpleasant to him soon would be dead. After a few deaths, she found it remarkably easy to kill and continued to try to frame Lord Easterfield for the deaths.
|In "Appointment with Death" Hercule Poirot is in Jerusalem when he overhears a conversation between two people through an open window. He hears a man saying to his companion that it is inevitable that another woman has to be killed. He later meets the Boynton family while traveling the region and finds that Mrs. Boynton is a former prison warden, who takes great pleasure in dominating and mentally abusing her family. He learns that her son Raymond and her daughter Carol were the ones whose conversation he overheard, apparently plotting the death of their mother. When the family is at Petra, Mrs. Boynton is found dead one evening at her tent. Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate her death and manages to identify the female killer. Who is responsible for the death of Mrs. Boynton?|
Lady Westholme. Poirot manages to deduce that Lady Westholme is the killer. She is a Member of Parliament, who has a guilty secret to hide from her past. She was once incarcerated at the prison where Mrs. Boynton was a warden. Mrs. Boynton had previously said in a conversation with Sarah King that she never forgets a face. She was not talking to Miss King though, but to Lady Westholme who was standing nearby. She seizes the opportunity to find a new victim to mentally torture, but Lady Westholme kills her to prevent her past from haunting her.
|In "Murder is Announced" the people in the village of Chipping Cleghorn are surprised to find an ad in the local newspaper that a murder is to take place at Little Paddocks that evening. Assuming that some kind of murder game will be played, they all arrive at the house of Laetita Blacklock to be part of the excitement. Miss Blacklock however is just as surprised about the ad as the other villagers, thinking it is some kind of joke pulled by Julia and Patrick, her niece and nephew who live with her. At the designated hour the lights go out and a man with a revolver appears and shouts "Hands up". Soon three shots are fired and when the lights come back on the man Rudi Scherz is found dead and Miss Blacklock is bleeding heavily from her ear where a bullet grazed her. Miss Marple is staying at a nearby hotel and investigates the crime with the help of inspector Craddock. Who is the female killer she manages to unmask in the end?|
Laetitia Blacklock. It turns out that Laetitia Blacklock was not a victim of attempted murder, but the actual murderer. She arranged for the ad to be placed in the newspaper and paid Rudi Scherz to appear as a masked intruder. She managed to cause a short-circuit making the lights go out. In the darkness she slipped out a second door in the room that was never used, but specially oiled for the occasion and appeared behind Rudi Scherz to kill him. She then cut her ear to make it look like she was shot. Rudi Scherz had known her in Switzerland when she was staying there being treated for a goitre. He knows she is in fact not Laetitia Blacklock, but her sister Charlotte Blacklock. Laetitia was always the stronger sister, but died in Switzerland. She would have inherited a large fortune from financier Randall Goedler, her former employer. Charlotte then went back to England as Laetitia, who was buried as Charlotte. She then waited for Randall's wife to die, so she could still be entitled to the inheritance. Rudi Scherz blackmailed her with her secret.
|In "Sad Cypress" Elinor Carlisle is on trial for the murder of her aunt Laura Welman. She would inherit the fortune of her aunt upon her death. Recently Mrs. Welman had taken an interest in Mary Gerrard, the daughter of the lodge keeper at her estate Hunterbury. She gave her an education and was very fond of the girl. She had planned on changing her will to provide for Mary, when she suddenly died. Elinor's fiancee had recently fallen in love with Mary and Elinor was very jealous. When Mary is poisoned, naturally suspicion falls on Elinor. Hercule Poirot does not believe she is the killer and investigates the murder, unmasking the real female killer. Who is behind the murder of Mary Gerrard?|
Nurse Jessie Hopkins. The murderer turns out to be Nurse Jessie Hopkins, the district nurse. Nurse Hopkins is really Mary's aunt, Mary Riley. Nurse Hopkins encourages Mary to make a will after the death of Mrs. Welman and naturally Mary names her aunt as the beneficiary, her only living relative. Nurse Hopkins/Mary Riley knows that Mary Gerrard is not really the daughter of the lodgekeeper, but the illegitimate daughter of Mrs. Welman and Lewis Rycroft. She is therefore a closer relative than Elinor Carlisle and stands to inherit Mrs. Welman's fortune. With Mary dead the money would go to her aunt. Hercule Poirot manages to convince the court of Nurse Hopkins' guilt and manages to clear Elinor Carlisle of the murder charges.
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