Chapter 22

Mrs McGillicuddy started on the second half of the book and came across a section that seemed especially important for her current problem – ‘engaging the client through cultural and personal identification’. This seemed at first sight a bit of a mouthful, but she realised it was crucial – how would she engage Jane in a recovery process with which she could identify, rather than one imposed upon her.

This pointed Mrs McGillicuddy and Lucy to the kind of social world of which Miss Marple was a part, but which had other ways of sustaining itself than alcohol.

The book emphasised four conditions for successful intervention. The first was ‘high frequency of contact by the treatment staff, by others who had progressed in treatment and by self help volunteers’.

So Mrs McGillicuddy thought she needed some allies in addition to Lucy, who could become part of the recovery process. She would start with the family and visit Lionel, Diana and Raymond.

Three things were needed from the family –to stop colluding with the problem, to become part of a solution and to point to social contacts in Jane’s life that might become part of the recovery process. They needed to be clear with Miss Marple that they saw she was drinking too much, and to find ways in which they could support, not just activities, but purposeful activities that would move her life away from the culture of addiction. Hopefully, they would help to identify some more potential allies.

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Chapter 21

Mrs McGillicuddy had been impressed by Lucy. She had not really understood until now what her job entailed, but she had discovered her niece spoke with knowledge and impressively about the problem with Jane and how to deal with it.

The book was making sense as well – Jane had, she realised, changed as a person the more she had immersed herself in this culture of drinking. She was in an ‘addiction – denying’ group – they all managed to hide the fact that having a drink was not an incidental addition to their social intercourse, but the main reason for it. She was a woman of standing in the community, and she could ‘hustle’ – manipulating people into supplying her with drink. She was skilled at explaining lapses away – digestive problems were attributed to ‘something she ate’; she fell asleep at Dolly’s house one afternoon and this was explained by the fire there being ‘far too hot’; a morning headache would be blamed on some villager who had ‘insisted  that she take another gin and tonic….. “and I didn’t want it, you know”. Funnily enough , the morning headache did not seem to stop Jane from taking a ‘small sherry’ well before lunch. A near accident when she was driving close to the village was the fault of some young man who was ‘driving far too fast’, and so on….

Mrs McGillicuddy thought that she had now spent enough time trying to understand the problem – it was time to act. But how?

Chapter 20

‘That sounds cosy’ said Mrs McGillicuddy. ‘Well, I suppose it does, but do you know any partnership that does not involve really difficult arguments. In fact, I always think that the real test of a partnership is the quality of the arguments that take place. Jane is not going to get much help from a friend who won’t stand up to her, tell her the truth and argue their corner!’

Now Mrs McGillicuddy could certainly hold her own with the butcher in her High Street, and with the vicar, but Jane was a different matter! She felt a little weak and got up for a strengthening drink when she remembered what they were talking about, so pretended she just needed to stretch her legs.

Later that evening, Mrs McGillicuddy turned to the section in the book concerning milestones in the addicts career. She was now quite used to thinking of Jane as an addict, though she thought Jane would be horrified by the suggestion! Well, Jane had passed the initiation stage long ago and had moved beyond the phase of controlled use – her rituals of use (when, where,how much) were established, she was established in a social network where her drinking could be sustained. It was hard to think of any of her friends where drinking was not part of the relationship. Jane now had a wide repertoire of excuses for a drink – feeling good, feeling bad, to keep other people company, to calm the nerves and so on!

Chapter 19

Lucy also warned Mrs McGillicuddy that she should not think of Jane Marple as just a ‘patient’ who is in receipt of treatment. It is easy for the helper to think that they hold the answers, for the therapist to imagine that they are the experts who are dispensing their expertise to a less well informed person. This is a common problem, she said, and it leads to the helper feeling powerful and the helped person as weak and dependent – just the reverse of what we would be trying to achieve.

There are two things that happen in treatment that can feed into this tendency. First of all, the treatment worker can be faced with denial by the addict, with resistance and manipulations to avoid facing the truth about their condition. This can be frustrating to the worker and one way of overcoming the anger it can arouse is to say to oneself that the client ‘can’t help it’.

Secondly, many clients will happily slip into the role of ‘patient’ and flatter the helper by emphasising how they are keen to learn from the helper’s superior knowledge and expertise. Given such an apparently motivated client, it is easy for the worker to be drawn into this kind of relationship, only to find the ‘patient’ never changes, safe in the knowledge that failure to make progress will be because the expert is not good enough..

“You have to think of Miss Marple as a partner in the change process”, Lucy said.

Chapter 18

Lucy was very impressed by what Mrs McGillicuddy told her about the St Mary Mead addiction community, and she thought it was time for her to talk about how to approach treating the problem. Jane was far too involved in worrying about who the body might be to notice how involved Lucy and Mrs McGillicuddy were in their conversations.

Lucy began with some general points. Mrs McGillicuddy had already begun to understand from the book that addiction was not some health problem which could be treated by a single
intervention. People did not recover because they had regular conversations with a therapist, took a medication, or went to AA meetings. Any of these approaches could have a part to play but they were not ‘the answer’. As the book revealed, recovery would be a process in which all kinds of life style issues would need to change, and which would involve not just, in this case Miss Marple, but her whole social world? The process was better understood as a ‘journey’. Strategies would need to change and develop as the journey took place. Some of the station stops on the journey could not be predicted in advance and so the well intentioned helper couldn’t assume that they would always be the most useful person at all stages. They could however stay around so that if the journey is broken at any stage and Miss Marple starts to get lost, they would be there to get her back on the train.

Chapter 17

This new arrangement suited Mrs McGillicuddy perfectly – now she had not only the book, but Lucy to help her plan to deal with Jane and her drinking! They spent the evening talking about the
culture of addiction that the Crackenthorpes inhabited.

The Crackenthorpes were involved with all the issues of criminality that go with drugs, but Mrs McGillicuddy learned that in all sorts of other ways the Crackenthorpe addiction culture was entirely in line with the addiction culture in St Mary Mead. Similar distorted values were at work. They had some of the same roles in the community, from Dr Quimper, a ‘Protector’, Emma a ‘Mark’, Alfred, an ‘Ambassador’ perhaps, and old Mr Crackenthorpe seemed to be the ‘Jailhouse lawyer’.
Cedric, Lucy thought, was a ‘non addicted hustler’, more excited by the criminality itself and careful to control his drug use. Harold was a sort of mixture – ‘High Priest’ but not above using gangsters to maintain the business?

It was difficult to know how far this family was just a bunch of criminals who happened to be involved in drugs or whether it was the drugs that was a spur to their criminality. The truth no doubt was a bit of a mixture. Cedric, she thought was just a wrong-un but Brian Eastley was a troubled unhappy person and seemed to have become trapped by the drugs. But then, it probably suited Cedric to play the part of a criminal – his life seemed empty and pointless behind the bravado.

Chapter 16

When Lucy had found a body in the outhouse at Crackenthorpe Hall, she suddenly appeared at Danemead Cottage to see Jane. She was feeling understandably nervous and shocked. Should she carry on at the Hall? With all the drug dealing business she had unearthed, she felt she was now at considerable risk.

They discussed the problem at length and Mrs McGillicuddy, armed with the insights from her book started to ask some questions about how the drug business worked. Lucy thought that the physical movement and storage of drugs was kept away from Crackenthorpe Hall so that this would be a safe haven for the family, a place where they could present themselves as normal socially acceptable people. She did not think therefore that the murder had anything to do with the drugs business.

Her only doubts concerned Dr Quimper, the family doctor (not Dr Haydock they noted), who she thought must have some knowledge of the source of the family’s money. Lucy was sure that Emma Crackenthorpe was in love with Dr Quimper but also that she had no idea what her brothers (and father?) were up to.

Clearly, the discovery of the body would make the family very nervous, so they decided that Lucy should leave. Jane decided she would try and worm her way in, in her place. The family would already be making sure that no connection could be made between the murder enquiry and their real business activity