Chapter 23

To their surprise, the family were readily cooperative. Raymond’s wife, Joan, said she had been going on about this for some time to Raymond. They hatched a plot to get Joan, an artist, to paint a portrait of Jane – a process that would involve frequent modelling sessions. They could then control Jane’s access to alcohol for a while.

Lionel Peel was a bit difficult to find because he had separated from his wife, but he came up with a Mr Rafael, for whom Miss Marple had great respect and who was an addict earlier in his life. He was a very wealthy and successful business man and Lionel suggested making contact with him.

Diana ‘Bunch’ Harmon turned out to be a god daughter and not a niece, but she was a vicar’s wife and her husband knew Rev Leonard Clement well. It turned out that the drinking habits of St Mary Mead had been discussed in the Clement vicarage on more than one occasion. They said they would discuss how to approach the vicar with the Bishop. They also mentioned Marjorie Hubbard, a good friend of Jane Marple in the village but one who had broken free of the drinking culture.

After all this, Lucy and Mrs McGillicuddy felt much encouraged. Now they thought they had the beginnings of a recovery strategy. They knew that it was a small step – any plan for recovery would have to belong to Miss Marple herself – it could not be sorted out for her.

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