|25-02-11, 04:53 AM||#1|
نجم روايتي وعضوة في فريق الترجمة
Agatha Christie - Sleeping Murder
" Let sleeping murder lie": This is the motto which is not obeyed by Gwenda Reed (née Halliday)* a woman in her early twenties who has recently married and now comes to England to settle down there. She believes her father brought her directly from India to New Zealand when she was a two year-old girl* and she has never been in England. While her husband Giles is still abroad on business* she drives around the countryside looking for a suitable house. She finds an old house in Dillmouth which instantly appeals to her* and she buys it.
After moving in* Gwenda begins to believe that she must be psychic as she seems to know things about the house which she could not possibly know: the location of a connecting door that had been walled over* the pattern of a previous wallpaper* a flight of stairs in the garden* and so on. Becoming increasingly uneasy* she accepts an invitation to go and stay in London with Miss Marple's nephew Raymond West and his wife Joan (who appear also in other stories with Miss Marple). Miss Marple's interest is piqued when* at a performance of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi* Gwenda screams and flees the theatre for no readily apparent reason* even to herself* when she hears the actor speaking the famous line "Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young." Gwenda tells Miss Marple later that as she heard those words* she felt she was looking through the banisters* at the dead* blue face of "Helen"* listening to someone utter the same line. She insists that she does not know anyone called Helen* and believes she is going mad. Miss Marple suggests that she may be remembering something she witnessed as a small child (looking through rather than over the banisters)* and that she may have been in the house that she seemed to know* despite believing that she has never been in England before.
The Reeds and Miss Marple do a bit of research* and discover that Gwenda is not psychic at all* but in fact spent part of her early childhood in the house that she was later to buy. Her young stepmother* Helen* reportedly man-crazy* disappeared* having presumably run off with a man* and her father died in an asylum. Gwenda was sent to New Zealand to an aunt. The young couple realize that there may be an unsolved crime to investigate. Miss Marple* who first advises the young couple to "let sleeping murder lie"* later suggests to her doctor that he prescribe her some sea air* and she travels to Dillmouth.
The investigation that now sets in is completely in the hands of amateurs: Giles and Gwenda Reed and Miss Marple. The amateur sleuths find two old gardeners who remember the Halliday family and some of the old household staff at St Catherine's by placing an ad in several newspapers. The young couple talk to many witnesses. They talk to Dr Kennedy* Helen's half-brother. They do not inform him of Gwenda's memory* and the doctor seems to be nothing more than a loving brother* heartbroken over the disappearance of his very wild younger sister. The police are absent as it has not even been established that a crime has ever been committed; officially* Helen Halliday ran off with one of her lovers and either died abroad or made a clean break with her brother and never contacted anyone at home.
The three men in Helen's life at the time of her disappearance: Walter Fane* a local lawyer* J J Afflick* a local tour guide and Richard Erskine* who resides in the north of England. At one point it seems very likely that one of them must be the murderer: They were all "on the spot"* as Miss Marple calls it* that August night eighteen years ago when Helen was murdered. Dr Kennedy deflects the investigation by presenting two letters posted abroad ( forged by him* as it turns out later) which he says he got from his half-sister after her disappearance.
When Lily Kimble* who used to be in Halliday's employ* reads an advertisement looking for information about Helen* she senses there could be money in it* and contacts Dr Kennedy to ask for his advice. Kennedy interprets her letter to him as a blackmail attempt. He writes back to her* inviting her to see him at his house and including a train timetable and exact instructions on how to get to his house. He misdirects her to a stretch of woodland* where he strangles her. Then he replaces his original letter with a fake one and is back at his house in time to "wait"* together with Giles and Gwenda Reed* for her arrival.
When Lily Kimble's body is found* the police finally start investigating. (When the police inspector sees Miss Marple he comments on a case of poison pen near Lymstock* thus Sleeping Murder is set after the happenings in The Moving Finger* which was published in 1942.) Now it dawns upon the Reeds that with a murderer still at large* their lives are in danger. This proves true: after Dr Kennedy unsuccessfully tries to poison Gwenda and/or Giles—it is Mrs Cocker* the cook* who takes a sip of the poisoned brandy instead and who consequently has to be hospitalized—Dr Kennedy tries to strangle Gwenda. But Miss Marple has foreseen this; she remained hidden in the house and disables Dr Kennedy by spraying soapy liquid into his face after which policemen appear to arrest him. Miss Marple explains that she believes that Helen was an ordinary* decent young woman* trying to escape from a brother who was pathologically obsessed with her* and that the only evidence of her being "man-mad" came from him. He strangled her to prevent her from living an ordinary* happy life with her husband. Being a learned man* Dr Kennedy was able to hide his condition from the villagers and he staged his sister's death in revenge for her marriage to the man she loved. There are subtle indications that Dr Kennedy had an incestuous desire for his half sister due to some kind of mental illness.
|14-05-11, 05:40 AM||#10|
نجم روايتي وعضوة في فريق الترجمة
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