The Golden Ball is a short story, written by Agatha Christie.


George Dundas is sacked by his uncle from his job for taking too much time off work. He is accused of not grasping the "golden ball of opportunity". Walking through the city, he is stopped by a society girl, Mary Montresor, in her expensive touring car who driving past Hyde Park Corner questions George as to whether or not he would like to marry her. Somewhat distracted by Mary's reckless driving, he has answered yes when he sees newspaper bills, which tell that Mary is to marry the Duke of Edgehill. Mary doesn't seem interested in her commitment and suggests they drive into the country and find a place to live. Going along with her, George agrees.

Heading southwest they spot a house on the brow of a hill that Mary likes and go to investigate. Mary states that they will suggest to anyone that is there that they thought it belonged to a "Mrs Pardonstenger" to cover up their investigations. Peeping through the windows they are approached by a butler who does not seem surprised by the pseudonym Mary uses and asks them into the house. Once inside they are quickly accosted by a man and a woman. The man produces a revolver and tells George and Mary to go upstairs at gunpoint. At the top of the stairs, George suddenly fights back and knocks the man out badly. George is all for tying the man up but Mary begs him to leave the house, which they do, George taking the revolver with him.

Once in the car, he checks the gun and is astonished to find that it isn't loaded. Mary confesses that the house is hers and the situation they found themselves in was staged by her as a test of any prospective husband and how he would react instinctively to protect her from danger. All so far have failed the test. The couple in the house were engaged by her for the purpose, the man being Rube Wallace, a film actor. As George has been proposed to and passed the test, he suggests getting a special licence for the wedding. Mary however wants him to go down on bended knee, which George refuses to do, telling her that it is degrading. When they arrive in London and he contrives to slip on a banana skin when he gets out of the car, thereby getting down on one knee. George enjoys going back to his uncle and telling him that he is going to marry a rich young society girl – he has grasped the golden ball!

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