A Pocket Full of Rye

A Pocket Full of Rye begins when wealthy business man Rex Fortescue, seated at his desk in his office, drinks his usual morning cup of tea and shortly after dies - indisputably poisoned.

The doctor who is called to attend the dying man gives his (unofficial) opinion that the poison used was taxine, which is obtained from yew berries. And Rex Fortescue's country mansion is called Yew Tree Lodge! One very strange circumstance of the case is that Rex Fortescue had a quantity of grain in his jacket pocket - rye as a matter of fact.

The police naturally make enquiries at Yew Tree Lodge, interviewing the various members of Fortescue's household and it is while this investigation is taking place that two other deaths occur and it soon becomes apparent that someone is using the old nursery rhyme 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' as the basis for his or her twisted plans.

Miss Marple reads of the triple tragedy and is distressed to discover that one of the victims is a former maid of hers. She immediately makes her way to Yew Tree Lodge and of course is instrumental in the unmasking of the villain.

There are suspects galore. Among others is his much younger wife Adele; Adele's lover, Vivian Dubois; his son Percival who is worried about his father's irrational business decisions and a shadowy figure from the past who may be out to extract revenge for a wicked swindle that Fortescue allegedly perpetrated in connection with the Blackbird Mine (there is even the suggestion that he may have committed murder)

This is one of several books where Agatha Christie uses a nursery rhyme for the title and in this particular one, the way the murderer tries to follow the rhyme is intruiging.

There are lots of twists and turns in 'A Pocket Full of Rye' and very few actual clues, I think and if you managed to suss out whodunnit, well done!

Of course, when Miss Marple takes us through her reasoning process, it all seems quite obvious.

This is good, solid, vintage Agatha Christie with a particulary poignant ending. Enjoy.

You can get hold of A Pocket Full of Rye via the following links.

A Pocket Full of Rye

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