“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”
William Shakespeare – Macbeth (Act IV, Scene 1)
When visiting Tommy’s Aunt Ada in her nursing home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents, Mrs Lancaster, being the strangest of them all. Her incessant reference to ‘something behind the fireplace’ and a ‘poor child’ seems at first the incoherent ramblings of an elderly woman, though when Aunt Ada sadly passes away, a painting left to Tommy in her will leads the duo on a dangerous adventure where they finally discover exactly what Mrs Lancaster was talking about.
Published in 1968, the title is taken from a line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The novel marks the return of Tommy and Tuppence after nearly three decades of silence. Unlike Christie’s other recurring characters, the detectives have aged in accordance with time. Tommy is now over seventy, and Tuppence is sixty-six. Although not in the original novel Geraldine McEwan appears as Miss Marple in ITV's 2006 episode.
Masthead Photography: Joan Hickson image © BBC
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