Mrs McGillicuddy had recently wondered why Miss Marple drank so much – it was a comment by her niece that made her aware of the habit. She began to realise that when they shared a sherry before dinner that this was merely topping up an afternoon of ‘tinctures’ – that Miss Marple’s unsteadiness was not just a product of the passing years.
‘The culture of addiction encompasses values, artifacts, places, rituals, relationships, symbols, music and art….’
She started to wonder if she had been asking herself the wrong question. Perhaps the main issue was not why she drank but what it was about her way of life that kept her drinking so much. What did go on in that village that seemed so English and peaceful? She realised that all the houses she had visited supplied lavish selections of alcoholic drinks, and that social events were not complete without a sherry or a gin bottle to hand. The Colonel’s red face gave him away straight away; that odd couple of middle aged women were rarely seen without a glass to hand and at the big house, the squire seemed to have an unhealthy knowledge of single malts. Even the vicar’s morning sermons seemed occasionally to acquire a kind of extravagant incoherence, and everyone knew the curate’s habit with the communion wine.
Time she thought to find out more about St Mary Mead. She just needed something to distract Miss Marple. Just then, a train ran parallel with hers – a blind flew up………