Miss Arundell died on May 1st. Though her illness was short her death did not occasion much surprise in the little country town of Market Basing where she had lived since she was a girl of sixteen. For Emily Arundell was well over seventy, the last of a family of five, and she had been known to be in delicate health for many years and had indeed nearly died of a similar attack to the one that killed her some eighteen months before.
But though Miss Arundell’s death surprised no one, something else did. The provisions of her will gave rise to varying emotions, astonishment, pleasurable excitement, deep condemnation, fury, despair, anger and general gossip.
These are the opening lines of Agatha Christie’s Dumb Witness. And because it is an Agatha Christie book, it is obvious that Miss Arundell’s death should be cause for suspicion and that it was most unlikely to have been a natural death.
From the fact that the date of her death is specified in the first sentence makes me think that must be significant. And the surprising contents of her will also indicate that Miss Arundell had perhaps changed her it – why was that?
I’m still reading Dumb Witness and as the title indicates and the cover picture on my copy shows, a dog has an important part in the mystery – one which Hercule Poirot has to solve, with very little to go on.
Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Katy, at A Few More Pages.