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The Tuesday Night Club is a short story written by Agatha Christie and first published in The Royal Magazine in December 1927 in the UK. In the U.S., the story was first published in Detective Story Magazine in June 1928. This was the first story by Christie featuring Miss Marple.

After being included in The Best Detective Stories of the Year 1928 the story was then used as part of the short story collection The Thirteen Problems.

SynopsisEdit

Miss Marple and some friends form a Tuesday Night Club. The members meet every Tuesday and each of them take turns to narrate a real-life mystery after which the others attempt to solve it. Sir Henry Clithering starts the first meeting with a story of how three people fell sick after a dinner and one of them died.

Plot summaryEdit

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

A group of friends are meeting at the house of Miss Marple in St. Mary Mead. As well as the old lady herself, there is her nephew - the writer Raymond West - the artist Joyce Lemprière, Sir Henry Clithering (a former Scotland Yard commissioner), a clergyman called Dr Pender, and Mr Petherick, a solicitor. The conversation turns to unsolved mysteries; Raymond, Joyce, Pender, and Petherick all claim that their professions are ideal for solving crimes. Joyce suggests that they form a club; every Tuesday night, a member of the group must tell of a real mystery, and the others will attempt to solve it. Sir Henry agrees to participate, and Miss Marple brightly volunteers herself to round out the group.

Sir Henry tells the first story of three people who sat down to a supper after which all of them fell ill, supposedly of food poisoning and one died as a result. The three people were a Mr and Mrs Jones and the wife's companion, Miss Clark, and it was Mrs Jones who died. Mr Jones was a commercial traveller and a maid in one of his hotels saw blotting paper he had used to write a letter whose decipherable phrases referred to his dependency on his wife's money, her death and "hundreds and thousands". The maid read of the death in a paper and, knowing relatives in the same village as the Jones's, wrote to them. This started a chain of gossip which led to the exhumation of the body and the discovery that Mrs Jones was poisoned by arsenic. There was further gossip linking Mr Jones to the doctor's daughter but there was nothing substantive there. The Jones' maid, Gladys, tearfully confirmed that all three people had been served the same meal of tinned lobster, bread and cheese and trifle. She had also prepared a bowl of cornflower for Mrs Jones to calm her stomach but Miss Clark had drunk this, despite the diet she was on for her constant weight problem. Jones also had a plausible reason behind the letter which was blotted in the hotel room.

The people in the room speak of their various theories as to who the murderer is but neglect to ask Miss Marple until Sir Henry politely points out the omission. Miss Marple witters on about a similar case involving a local family (to which Raymond cannot see any relevance) until she suddenly asks Sir Henry if Gladys confessed and that she hopes Mr Jones will hang for what he made the poor girl do. The letter in the hotel room was to Gladys and the reference to "hundreds and thousands" was to the small sweets on the top of trifle. They contained the arsenic which Miss Clark had not eaten (due to her diet) and Mr Jones probably avoided eating the poisoned portion. Sir Henry confirms Miss Marple is correct. Mr Jones had got Gladys pregnant and used a promise of marriage after his wife's death to induce the girl to commit murder. Having lost her baby after birth, Gladys confessed in a dying condition.

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Publication history Edit

  • 1927 The Royal Magazine (London), issue 350 December 1927 - with illustrations by Gilbert Wilkinson
  • 1928 Detective Story Magazine (New York), Volume 101 Number 5, 2 June 1928 - as "The Solving Six"
  • 1928 The Best Detective Stories of the Year 1928, edited by Ronald Knox and H. Harrington, Faber and Faber (London), 1928
  • 1928 The Best English Detective Stories, edited by Ronald Knox and H. Harrington, Horace Liveright (New York), 1928
  • 1932, The Thirteen Problems/The Tuesday Club Murders
    • 1932, Collins Crime Club (London), June 1932, Hardcover, 256 pp
    • 1933, Dodd Mead and Company (New York), 1933, Hardcover, 253 pp
    • 1943, Dell Books (New York), Paperback, (Dell number 8)
    • 1953, Penguin Books, Paperback, (Penguin number 929), 224 pp (under slightly revised title of Miss Marple and the Thirteen Problems)
    • 1958, Avon Books (New York), Paperback (Avon number T245)
    • 1961, Pan Books, Paperback (Great Pan G472), 186 pp
    • 1963, Dell Books (New York), Paperback, 192 pp
    • 1965, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback, 192 pp
    • 1968, Ulverscroft Large-print Edition, Hardcover, 207 pp ISBN 0-85456-475-6
    • 1972, Greenway edition of collected works (William Collins), Hardcover, 222 pp
    • 1973, Greenway edition of collected works (Dodd Mead), Hardcover, 222 pp
    • 2005, Marple Facsimile edition (Facsimile of 1932 UK first edition), September 12, 2005, Hardcover, ISBN 0-00-720843-X
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