Agatha Christie Wiki

In the short story The Case of the Perfect Maid, Miss Lavinia Skinner is the sister of Emily Skinner. The two sisters were tenants of one of the four flats in Old Hall, in St. Mary Mead. Lavinia was the older of the two sisters and considered by the villagers as the working member of the pair. She was frequently seen busying herself looking after the wants of the invalid Emily who fussed constantly about what kinds of food she wanted, how she wanted her water bottle done up and so on.

At the beginning of the story, Lavinia had given her maid Gladys Holmes a month's notice following a series of incidents including the suspected theft of a brooch. Edna, Miss Marple's maid, was the cousin of Gladys and she asked Miss Marple to help. Miss Marple was convinced that Gladys was basically honest and visited Lavinia to intercede but to no avail. However, as rumours circulated in the village about Gladys' dishonesty, Miss Marple continued to pursue the matter. Following the arrival of a new maid Mary Higgins and a series of burglaries of the neighbouring flats at Old Hall, Miss Marple proved that, in fact, the crimes had been committed by Lavinia and her sister Emily in a carefully planned and skilful operation.

Lavinia Skinner was described as "a tall, gaunt, bony female of fifty. She had a gruff voice and an abrupt manner."


In the NHK anime adaptation The Perfect Maid, the portrayal of Lavinia is faithful to the original story, with the only addition that she and her sister were arrested by Constable Hearst at the end. The voice actress behind the character was Kumiko Takizawa.