Tape-Measure Murder is a short story written by Agatha Christie which first appeared in This Week magazine on 16 November 1941 in the US. In the UK, the story was published in 1942 by The Strand Magazine as The Case of the Retired Jeweller.

By 1950, the story was gathered and published in the short story collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Miss Politt has been waiting and waiting outside Laburnum Cottage for Mrs. Spenlow, to no avail. She nervously acquires the help of her next-door neighbour, whose gumption and persistence reveal that Mrs. Spenlow is dead on the hearthrug.

The whole of St. Mary Mead is convinced the murderer is Mr. Spenlow, who shows no emotion upon his wife’s sudden death, but, with characteristic diligence, Miss Marple reveals that it is perhaps not that simple.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

BBC Radio 4[edit | edit source]

The story was adapted as a radio play by Joy Wilkinson for BBC Radio 4. This was the first of a series of 3 adaptations prepared by Wilkinson to mark the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth. June Whitfield played the part of Miss Marple and the programme was first broadcast on 16 September 2015.

Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple[edit | edit source]

NHK produced an anime adaptation of the story as episode 13 of their Japanese anime series Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple with the same title as the original story: Tape-Measure Murder. The episode was broadcast in 2004 and features Miss Marple and her great niece Mabel West.

Publication history[edit | edit source]

  • 1941, This Week, 16 November 1941, illustrated by Arthur Sarnoff
  • 1942, The Strand Magazine (Issue 614), February 1942 (Under the title The Case of the Retired Jeweller)
  • 1950, Three Blind Mice and Other Stories
    • 1950, Dodd, Mead and Company (New York), Hardback, 250 pp
    • 1952, Dell Books, Paperback, 224 pp, (Dell number 633)
    • 1960, Dell Books, Paperback, as The Mousetrap and other stories, (Dell number D354)
    • 1984, Berkley Books, Paperback, 212 pp, (Berkley number 06806-4)
  • 1978, Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories
    • 1978, Ulverscroft Large-print Edition, Hardcover, ISBN 0-7089-2346-1
    • 1979, Collins Crime Club (London), October 1979, Hardcover, 140 pp ISBN 0-00-231596-3
    • 1980, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback
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