Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Miss Marple. (You can read my interview HERE.) Since that time we’ve become good friends. We have a lot in common: we both love to knit something useful with soft, luxurious yarn; we both love the garden, although we can’t do anything heavy anymore; and we both love to people watch.
Jane is what you would call world renowned for her people-watching. While I honed my people skills in the corporate world, Jane sharpened her skills in her village of St. Mary Mead. As she said, “Human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at closer quarters in a village.”
Jane has experienced the skepticism of others, but Jane also has her champions. Sir Henry Clithering is one of them. He is the ex-Commissioner of Scotland Yard. He has a “deep respect for Miss Marple” and her “amazing penetration.” “He remembered a dozen unsolved and hypothetical cases — and how in each case this typical ‘old maid of the village’ had leaped unerringly to the right solution of the mystery.” Sir Henry is one of the founding members of what has become the Tuesday Night Club.
I’ve heard so much about this club that I was very curious about it. When Jane invited me to attend I was over the top. I arrived a few minutes early in case Jane needed help with the tea things. Traditionalists would love seeing Jane’s drawing room. It’s loaded (actually, a little too loaded) with good old furniture.
We were soon joined by Raymond West, Jane’s nephew who’s a famous novelist. With him was his “friend” Joyce Lempriere, an artist. (I put quotes around “friend” because Jane suspects they may be romantically involved.) Others in the club include Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman, Mr Petherick, a lawyer, and Sir Henry.
The purpose of the Tuesday Night Club is to solve mysteries. Each member takes a turn relating a mystery they are familiar with and then the other members try to solve the case. Each one of the club members is skilled in various aspects of life: Raymond, the writer, understands atmosphere, Joyce, the artist, sees details; Dr. Pender and Mr. Petherick understand the problems of people; and Sir Henry brings his Scotland Yard experience. It’s really quite a knowledgeable group.
The meeting I attended was one of their earlier meetings. I was shocked at how they seem to disregard Jane’s input into the mystery. I could tell by the look in their eyes and their mannerisms. They seem to pooh-pooh her ideas. I could also tell they thought she was somewhat feeble minded. I think Jane saw it too.
In the end, it was Jane who had the final satisfaction. She solved the mystery with her attention to the details in the story. I hope it won’t be much longer until the members of the Tuesday Night Club show Jane the respect and admiration she deserves.
Before the evening was over Jane had completed the lovely shawl she was knitting. Many people might wonder how she can concentrate on both her knitting and the mystery. The secret is something experienced knitters know: knitting with the hands frees the mind to concentrate on the problem. Jane and I agree that more detectives should take up knitting.
September 15th was the 120th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. The entire month of September has been devoted to honoring this special woman. Each day of the month various members of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge have been participating in this blog tour. You can see the full tour schedule at Mysteries In Paradise. For those of you who have been wanting to join this challenge you will find information on the Mysteries In Paradise website.
The Tuesday Club Murders (1932) are also known as The Thirteen Problems because it contains thirteen short stories featuring Miss Marple and her friends. This book is available at most libraries as well as Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
*Thanks to the website dvdverdict and google for this picture of Miss Marple with her knitting.