This one might be a bit rambly again, since I read (or re-read) this last night and am going through it again as I type to dredge out all the various things I wanted to note.
Ah, we finally get to see Miss Marple's own unsolved mystery, except that it is solved, but she figures everyone's just forgotten about it or more likely never knew about it.
Here's one where Marple overdoes the omniscience a bit... but oh well, I guess it's a fine line, yes? She could lose some of the knitting though. I mean, it even creeps into her story!
One thing I'm noticing especially in this story (and somewhat in others) is that it's a bit odd reading this story, having also read a bunch of other (later) Miss Marple stories. I mean, here her nephew (great-nephew, I think?) has apparently been won over to admiration of his aunt, and a realization that life in the village isn't always all that quiet, but this seems to have died down again in later books. She also talks about how she has no truck with doctors and their medicines, although she seems to have quite a nice relationship with her own doctor later on. (I suppose this could be a matter of her being won over later, but...) And of course her mentioning hating to stay in someone else's house, which never seems to slow her down in the future.
I'm also slightly surprised that Raymond West isn't familiar with this story at all, since it is a relative of his in some way, but I guess that's not too out-there, since branches of families do sometimes tend to lose track of one another. Still, I wouldn't think that these particular branches were that far off. (Then again, I guess West would also have been fairly young...)
I'm starting to wonder if Christie didn't exactly have a great view of marriage in general. I mean, many of her main characters are unmarried, and the whole "girl marries a total rotter" theme is so prevalent in all her books... or maybe she just has a very low opinion of younger females of the species?
If it weren't for the whole trend of servants in this book to be at least part of the solution, I'd wonder if there was anyone who didn't guess at the old father... since he's about the only damn person mentioned in the story other than Marple's niece. (And I guess she didn't get the brains of the family...)
(I was going to make an aside of another class, or subclass maybe, of people that I've learned to immediately suspect when they appear in a Christie novel, but that might be classed as general spoilers, so I'll skip it I guess.)
Another side note: for whatever reason, I'd had the impression that ptomaine poisoning was a specific type of bacterial poisoning a la salmonella or something, but no, says Wiki Pete. Huh. I'd grown up hearing that term at least from time to time, and didn't even realize it wasn't accepted as a scientific term anymore.
Blah blah blah religion, blah blah.
Anyhow, I do like how the gathered listeners don't even bother to try to guess the culprit, like they did in the other stories. It's like they're now just disciples at the feet of Miss Marple, content to listen to her story and solution alike.
Anyhow, I think that pretty much does it for my commentary (finally!), but of course feel free to add anything I've missed. ;)
Vocabulary for the day:
Board Wages: apparently wages just sufficient for room and board, or are the room and board themselves.
Thumb Mark of St. Peter: this is a mark on a haddock that legend says is from, duh, St. Peter's Thumb, who pulled temple tax from a fish's mouth in one of Jesus' miracles.