So Miss Marple set off on her trip. Raymond joined her at the pick up point and they watched as the other passengers arrived. A couple of people Miss Marple thought she recognised, but for the most part they were the kind of mixed group you might expect on a coach tour of ‘famous houses and gardens’.
The tour was blessed with excellent weather and the party all mixed together very happily. Rather oddly, it seemed that none of the party took alcohol when they stopped in hotels overnight, but as the days passed, Miss Marple learned that most passengers had some sort of connection with Mr Rafael. It turned out that all had had some addiction problem and were making the same kind of recovery journey as Miss Marple herself, (with the exception of Misses Barrow and Cooke, who
behaved very furtively and kept themselves somewhat apart from the others.)
She realised that Mr Rafael was not only asking her to solve some puzzle, which seemed to involve a murdered girl engaged to his son, but was helping Miss Marple to build friendships that
were completely disconnected from alcohol, that could become a ‘recovery community’. Her experience as an ‘ambassador’, as the book designated her, stood her in excellent stead when
building friendships between all members of the coach party.
Throughout, she wrote to Mrs McGillicuddy and Lucy – helping her to keep her recovery progress under review and to reflect on the difficulties and achievements of each day.