Chapter 5

Jane had gone round to Gossington Hall for pre-dinner drinks with the Bantry’s – a regular Saturday night ritual. It was an occasion to which Jane drove, seemingly oblivious to the danger she posed in a car given the amount she had drunk through the day. The whole village apparently conspired to dismiss concerns about road safety; the only dangers anyone seemed to comment on involved that arty couple who had got into trouble with the body in the library at Gossington. Jane Marple had always seemed a very moral person but those strictures departed when it came to her drinking habits, and no one in the village questioned this behaviour, least of all Inspector Bacon, everyone’s favourite local bobby.


So values were skewed by alcohol, and just as the book suggested, Mrs McGillicuddy realised that drink was surrounded by rituals and symbols – the special cut glass decanter, the elaborate pouring rituals, the regular times for drinking and so on. Jane also had a sturdy friendship with the landlord at the pub, and of course she had a steady order ready to be collected from the off licence counter. Now Mrs McGillicuddy was staying with Jane, she realised that the musty smell coming from her clothes came from a less regular attention to her laundry, her poor maids lacking the initiative to do more than they were told. As to leisure time, it was apparent that Jane Marple’s whole existence took place just seconds from a drinks cabinet.


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