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In the novel A Pocket Full of Rye, Sergeant Hay assists Inspector Neele. He finds the discarded jar of marmalade in the yard.

Sergeant Hay is at St Jude's Hospital with Rex Fortescue when he dies. He notes that Rex said it was the tea he had at the office which made him ill, but Professor Bernsdorff says that is not the case, as the poison could not have taken effect so soon. Sergeant Hay also checks the pockets of Rex's suit, and finds rye in the right-hand pocket of his jacket.

Sergeant Hay goes to Yewtree Lodge with Inspector Neele, and is tasked with making enquiries about the food served at breakfast that morning, as that was probably when Rex was poisoned. He finds out that the servants had drunk the coffee that had been leftover from breakfast at elevenses, which tells Inspector Neele that if the poison had been in Rex's coffee, it must have only been in his cup.

Later, when the body of Gladys Martin is discovered, Sergeant Hay informs Inspector Neele about it.

Sergeant Hay finds a jar of marmalade in the shrubbery, and finds out that Rex was the only one who took marmalade that morning. This was how the poison was administered.

Sergeant Hay also finds out about the blackbirds that were put in a pie the summer before the events of the novel.


In the BBC 1985 adaptation of the novel which formed part of the Miss Marple series, the part of Sergeant Hay is played by John Glover.

In the ITV 2008 adaptation of the novel (Episode 1, Season 4 of Agatha Christie's Marple), the character's name is changed to Sergeant Pickford and the part is played by Ralf Little.