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The Edge is a short story with a supernatural theme written by Agatha Christie and first published in issue 374 of Pearson's Magazine in February 1927. It was not published 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.


Claire Halliwell has a dilemma. The man she loves, Gerald, is married to Vivien. Now she finds out that Vivien is having an affair with someone else. What does Claire do?

Plot summary

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

Claire Halliwell lives a quiet country life with her dog. A conscientious and popular parish worker, she takes everything in her stride—even when Sir Gerald Lee, the man she loves, marries Vivien, a glamorous city girl.

When Claire learns that Vivien is having an affair, she is torn – does she tell Gerald and get Vivien out of her way and hopefully clear her path to Gerald? Or does she keep quiet as she is a Christian and not give in to this temptation?

A few days after the discovery of Vivien’s infidelity Claire is amongst a select group invited to dinner at Sir Gerald’s house.  Before entering the main room where the guests are gathered she hears Vivian making disparaging remarks about her. Later that evening Claire makes it clear to Vivien that she knows about the affair.

Vivien makes attempts to speak to Claire and appeals on behalf of her lover. Claire demurs and is non-committal about telling Sir Gerald. Vivien is kept on tenterhooks.

Sometime later Sir Gerald meets Claire and tells her that he and Vivien are going to live abroad for a year. Vivien then arranges to meet Claire outside the village at a spot along the cliffs in a final appeal to Claire. During this meeting Claire refuses to relent and Vivien jumps up and runs straight down the steep path and goes over the cliff!

Several people have seen this and Claire is shouting that she has killed Vivien but they all say it is nonsense since they have seen what happened.  

Claire however never recovers and is kept in her own house. (The Nurse has pretended that she was from Pentonville Jail and that Claire’s sentence had been commuted to penal servitude with a room made up to be a Cell!)



  • Daymer's End
    • Medenham Grange
  • Skippington
    • County Arms

Publications History