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In the novel Hallowe'en Party, Elspeth McKay is the sister of Superintendent Spence. After Spence's retirement he moves in with her and they share a house Pine Crest at Woodleigh Common. Elspeth had lost her husband and her two children were married and living abroad, one in Australia and one in South Africa. While Poirot is investigating the death of Joyce Reynolds, Elspeth proves to be a valuable resource person on background information about the people in the village. As her brother says, "There's not much about people she doesn't know."

Elspeth "as unlike her brother ... as she could be in every way." He is broad, she is angular and "thin as a thread". "Her sharp, thin face looked out on the world with shrewd appraisal". Superintendent Spence would express himself slowly and carefully as the result of due thought and deliberation. Mrs McKay would pounce, quick and sharp, "like a cat upon a mouse". Nonetheless, to Poirot both could be relied upon for judgement and good sense but they would express themselves differently.

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