As the book pointed out, there was a real risk of replacing alcohol with caffeine and so Miss Marple had to experiment to find out which drinks she could enjoy. Mrs McGillicuddy also encouraged her to think more carefully about what she ate, emphasising the point of building her body’s strength as
it got used to life without alcohol.
They also talked about ways of dealing with some of the psychological problems of changing her lifestyle. How was she to refuse drinks when she did visit friends? Should she be open in explaining what she was doing? How could she change her daily routine so that she would not be drawn to pre-lunch drinks or to a ‘stiffener’ when she was feeling upset or lonely?
In fact, Miss Marple did get rather emotional and tearful at this stage of her recovery. One evening, she talked for the first time about the young man who had been killed in the first world war.
Raymond had told Mrs McGillicuddy that the family thought there had been someone to whom Miss Marple had been attached in her younger days but it was never spoken of. Mrs McGillicuddy had the good sense not to probe too deeply as Miss Marple began to talk of this, much as she would have liked to know more. She just encouraged Miss Marple to say something about how this memory affected her now, about how often and in what way she now thought about him.