Noted amateur detective Miss Marple, from St Mary Mead, Downshire, was left somewhat embarrassed and confused after a murder suspect confronted with significant evidence of his guilt refused to accept responsibility, instead blaming it ‘on someone else’.
Sir Percival Riddley-Baxter was brutally murdered during an evening dinner at his estate that Miss Marple just happened to be attending.
After about 90 minutes of taking statements from everyone at the murder scene and a casual forensic examination, Miss Marple gathered everyone around and explained what she had deduced, that the murder was carried out by Sir Percival’s trusted butler, Albert.
Albert Hogg, who had been Sir Percival’s butler for over 35 years, immediately denied responsibility, yet Miss Marple continued to explain the reasons behind her deduction.
When told that the murder weapon, a corkscrew, was found discarded in a bag of kitchen waste that the maid Fanny Ellis had seen him dispose of soon after the murder – a task which is usually left to the more junior staff to perform – Albert replied ‘Nah, I wasn’t even there. Nothing to do with me.’
Miss Marple continued to explain that letters she had found hidden in Sir Percival’s library detailed how 40 years previously he had profited from the purchase and sale of the Hogg farm in Nottinghamshire, forcing Albert’s parents from their ancestral land. Albert responded with ‘Just fuck right off, bitch, it wasn’t me, and you can’t prove anything.’
The final piece of the puzzle was the elimination of Sir Percival’s greedy daughter, Penelope, as a potential suspect. She had a motive – she was suspicious that Sir Percival had written her out of his will, and had a history of violence and lack of respect for authority from being involved in the Suffragette movement. However Miss Marple was clearly able to show that the angle that the corkscrew was drilled into Sir Percival’s brain was too high for Penelope to reach with her weak lady’s arms, and that six foot four Arthur was the only person with the motive, the ability and no alibi.
However, where normally a gentleman would admit to his crime and apologise, Arthur instead responded with ‘Fuck this shit. I didn’t top him, I’ve no idea who did. This is, like slander, this is. I’ll have you fucking done for libel you old slag.’
At this point Miss Marple accepted that she might have got it wrong, and apologised to the butler who, in return, promised not to press charges for ‘wrongful arrest and all that shit’ in return for Miss Marple ‘keeping her damn mouth shut’. She then went to have lunch with the Vicar before heading home.
This is not the first time that a guest has been murdered during an evening where Miss Marple was visiting. Some local residents have said they no longer invite her to parties because she is ‘bad luck’.
Miss Marple is, coincidentally, the sole beneficiary of Sir Pervical’s will.