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Manx Gold is a short story, written by Agatha Christie. The story is the result of unusual commissions undertaken by Christie in her career. Christie had been asked to design a treasure hunt on the Isle of Man by a committee whose job was to promote the Isle of Man as a tourist destination. The clues to the real treasure boxes were incorporated in a short story which was serialised in the Daily Dispatch in five instalments on 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28 May 1930. The clues led to the location of four snuffboxes hidden on the island, each of which contained a voucher for £100 – a considerable sum in 1930. Island residents were barred from taking part. To further promote the hunt, the story was then published in a promotional booklet entitled June in Douglas which was distributed at guesthouses and other tourist spots. Although a quarter of a million copies of this booklet were printed, only one is known to have survived.[1]

Subsequent to the event, the story was not published again as part of a collection until While the Light Lasts and Other Stories in the U.K. and The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories in the U.S., both in 1997.

Because of treasure hunt, the chief protagonists in the stuff find their treasure using the clues but their reasoning process is not explained. An explanation is given by Tony Medawar in an afterword published as part of the 2003 edition of While The Light Lasts.

Plot summary

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

The story starts with cousins Fenella Mylecharane and Juan Faraker talking about their Uncle Myles whose grandfather “Old Mylecharane” had allegedly hidden treasure of gold that no one had ever found. 

Then Fenella and Juan receive a letter, via his solicitors, from Uncle Myles on his death which indicates that he had found the treasure and he was inviting the cousins and two other distant relatives to find it. There were 5 clues leading to the snuff boxes which had the treasure inside each one.

The two distant relations were Ewan Corjeag, whom Uncle Myles described as a “bad lot” and Dr Fyall who he described as somebody who he had heard little of and none of it any good. 

The two cousins are given a head start by their Uncle and they rush off to the Isle of Man. After a chat with Uncle Myles' housekeeper, they realise that there is four snuff boxes to be found. and get the first two clues.

They find the first treasure box quite rapidly. Then Dr Fyall appears and the third set of clues go missing. Ewan is found outside their cottage dying after he has apparently fallen from a ladder and hit his head.

Dr Fyall is nowhere to be seen and the envelopes with the clues are not on Ewan. The dying man gives Fenella enough of a clue to lead the cousins towards the second treasure box which they manage to get to before the doctor.

The fourth set of clues are given out to the cousins and Dr Fyall at the same time. They all head off in the same direction and are crossing each other’s paths all afternoon but then Juan thinks up a better way to solve the clue and he and Fenella find the treasure box.

The fifth and final clue sees the cousins trapping Dr Fyall and having him arrested for the murder of Ewan.

The cousins have all four of the treasure snuff boxes and are able to marry and settle down on the Isle of Man and enjoy the wealth of their great grandfather – the smuggler, Old Mylecharane!

How the cousins solved the clues is not explained in the narrative as the short story was published in five episodes in the Dispatch, as part of the publicity effort, before the real Treasure Hunt. The clues were also published separately by the Isle of Man committee. The explanation of the clues is by Tony Medford in the Afterword of the story in the 2003 Agatha Christie Signature Edition published by HarperCollins

Characters

  • Fenella Mylecharane
  • Juan Faraker
  • Uncle Myles
  • Ewan Corjeag
  • Dr Fyall

References

  1. "HarperCollins publish `lost' Agatha Christie stories!", twbooks.co.uk, 3 Mar 2003. Archive URL, accessed 6 Jun 2021.
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