Murder At The Vicarage – Whodunit? (Part 4)

Read Part 1 of the story here.

Read Part 2 of the story here.

Read Part 3 of the story here.

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The first thing I saw, when I opened my eyes, was John looking down at me.  Toby then popped his head up by the side of me and licked my face.

“Where am I?”

“Back at the Inn” replied John.  “Are you feeling better? You gave us all a scare.”

“Oh no, where’s that old woman I was talking with, I’m sure she poisoned me.”

“Oh, don’t be silly” replied John, “besides, we have a date with her and the rest of the village in the downstairs bar in half an hour.  She has some important news for you.  Are you fit enough to come down for some dinner and meet everyone?”

After taking a shower, I was feeling better and hadn’t realised that I’d only passed out for about an hour and a half.  John informed me that he had been out walking Toby, looking for me, and had heard a call for help from the garden where I had passed out.  They’d managed to get me back to the Inn, although I could not recall any of it.  The local doctor had paid me a visit and declared that I had a slight case of sun stroke.  I was quite nervous walking downstairs to the bar, almost felt embarrassed by what had happened, but John had informed me that the mystery of the ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ was about to be solved.

Everybody in the bar seemed to know that I had passed out.  They were all concerned.  I managed to eat something and was told to drink plenty of fluids while the other residents of the village gathered in the bar.  Twenty minutes later everyone, apart from the old woman, were present.

“She’s not going to arrive, is she?” I asked.

“She’ll be here, I promise” replied John.  “Besides, she’s the one with all the answers.”

As if by magic she appeared in the doorway of the bar.  The hairs on my arms stood up with fear and I suddenly felt cold and shivered.  She looked at everybody around the room, her last glance was at me, and a smile appeared across her face.

“I’m so glad you are feeling better Mr Roberts, let me solve this mystery for you and put your mind at rest once and for all.  It all makes perfect sense now. I’ve spoken with the staff here at the Inn, and various residents of the village, and what I am about to tell you and everyone else here this evening will all make perfect sense.”

She walked towards me in complete silence.  Even the sound of the birds singing their evening chorus outside seemed to stop.

“I’ll be very frank with you and everyone else here Mr Roberts.  You see it’s all very simple, so let me begin.”

She picked up a fresh glass of water from the table, took a few sips, and coughed to clear her throat.

“The two staff you saw carrying the rolled up carpet to the car.  Very simple, my dear.  As you know, this Inn is dog friendly.  After all it’s the only reason John and yourself booked to stay here, so you could bring Toby.  Accidents happen and, unfortunately, one of the other resident’s dog’s had made rather a bad mess on some carpet in the lounge, so it had to be taken away.  That evening the lounge was closed while some of the staff moved furniture around so the carpet could be lifted.  It was a long job and they did not want to disturb any of the residents, so the carpet was removed just after midnight.  All you saw, that night, Mr Roberts were two members of staff putting a rather soiled carpet in the back of a car.”

“But I haven’t seen that car since that night”, I shouted.

“That’s because the car belonged to a member of staff who has been off-duty today.  Please don’t interrupt, Mr Roberts, there will be plenty of time for questions once I finish.”

She took another sip of water.

“As for the antique candlestick, it was on loan to the Inn for a wedding held here a few days ago.  It belonged to Mrs Peacock, who cleaned it up when she got it back.  The dark spot you saw when looking at it through her window was simply a food blemish.  Her eye sight is poor and she’d not worn her spectacles when cleaning it, so she had not spotted the blemish.”

The room remained silent.  Nobody took their eyes off the old woman.

“The missing curtain cord was another dog related mystery.  It was found in the bed belonging to the very same dog who had soiled the carpet in the lounge.  It seems, Rusty, has a liking for ropes and cords as he loves to play ‘tug-of-war’ with his owner.

There was some laughter in the room before she continued.

“Now, on to the lead-piping you discovered in my Nephew’s workshop.  He’s a part-time chef here at the Inn. In fact, he makes the Danish Pastries along with Mrs White, the Head Cook.  He brings home any leftovers.  They are delicious and he often eats them when working on repairing cars and motorcycles.  However, what you saw him with that morning when you walked past the kitchen was a black pudding.  After all you do enjoy the full English Breakfast here at the Inn, don’t you, so what would a full English breakfast be without black pudding?”

She smiled at me and continued.

“Murder at the Vicarage…the gun shot and the scream you heard as you walked past last night?  Quite simply the Reverend Green, his granddaughter Miss Scarlet, and his neighbour Professor Plum, all watching a murder-mystery on the fifty inch television screen with sound boom-bar Colonel Mustard left to them on his departure to live in Canada.  So there you have it, Mr Roberts, mystery solved.”

There was a round of applause and the room became alive again.  Even the evening chorus, outside, began again.

“Now I must leave and be on my way” announced the old woman.  “I’ve had a call from my sister in St Margaret Mead informing me that a Blogger has lost their inspiration.  Oh I do enjoy solving a mystery.”

“But before you go, Miss Marple, I must thank you for solving this mystery for me”, I announced.

The old woman turned around and smiled at me.

“My dear, I never did tell you my name, did I?  It’s Maple, dear, Miss Maple.  You know, like the maple leaf on the national flag of Canada.”

*The End*

Murder At The Vicarage - Miss Marple

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71 thoughts

  1. All in all my dear chap, a splendid tale well told with a very satisfying conclusion. Quite restores my faith in human nature. Now … I don’t need to tell you that Hercules Poirot could possibly benefit with your expert touch! All the very best and I look forward very much to your next decided outing … whatever that may be. All the best. Kris.

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    1. Thank you Kris.

      I don’t think I did very much in solving the mystery of ‘Murder At The Vicarage’. It was more Miss Maple that did all the work. Now if she and Hercules Poirot could get together to solve the next case then I don’t think that blogger has a lot to worry about.

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  2. Hmmm, very smoothly explained by Miss Maple but methinks that village deserves a closer look. After all, where was the usual Village Bobby in all this? That’s who I think was bumped off because he caught them smuggling or something.
    Hugs Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo!! Love all the explanations! Very carefully crafted…that takes some skill to think of and write (then remember) all of those details. I used to love Clue back in the day and was pretty good at it. I like how you wove in all the doggy references…that’s it blame the dog! LOL! Wonderful read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri. What lovely comments about how I crafted this story. I’m sure, had you been there with me, we would have solved this mystery without the help of Miss Maple. Then again, maybe we would have stayed in the bar?

      Yes, I had to blame the dog for some of the mysteries. After all, where’s Scooby-Doo when you need help?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds like Miss Maple arrived on time in Clueville – otherwise Toby and John would have hand their hands full with a very imaginative sunstroke victim indeed!

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  5. That was so clever Hugh. I loved all the characters making an appearance from Cluedo! You did a wonderful job of tying in all of the clues which Miss Maple managed to explain away.
    However, I think she might be a bit of a dodgy old dear!!. Well done, I really enjoyed that!
    Will you do a follow on, or start another mini-murder mystery?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well she did make a brief appearance in another story I wrote, but that one is staying under wraps.

      I do have plans for her though, so she will be making an appearance soon. However, not in a way you may be thinking. 🙂

      Thanks for the lovely comments Judy. Glad you enjoyed this mini-series

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Sally. Yes, I think I may have lead a lot of people up the garden path with this story. However, it seems to have gone down quite well from the comments I am getting, and I can reveal that Miss Maple make be making a return appearance on my blog quite soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In Spain we call it Cluedo (of course Clue doesn’t mean anything in Spanish anyway). Very clever. I’m now very curious about when Miss Maple will appear again. Enjoy your weekend, Hugh!

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  7. Well done, Hugh! You solved the mystery with Miss Maple! Is that where the name came from last summer when you Ronovan wrote all those installments? I sure enjoyed this story. I hope Miss Maple comes back soon with more mysteries. You have the making for a cozy mystery here. I loved it!!!! ❤

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    1. Well I think it was Miss Maple who did most of the work, Colleen. I was sort of taken ill or being held up most of the time.

      You’re quite right about her appearing in the stories Ronovan and I wrote. Those came after this mini-series.

      She will be making another appearance in the not too distance future and is looking forward to meeting you all again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marvelous story. I love that Mr. Roberts is alive and well, but has a vivid imagination. A perfect explanation regarding the rolled rug as well. A delightful series, Hugh. Keep ’em guessing to the last. 😀 😀 😀

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  9. Well done, Hugh. I’ve been waiting to read this post. Can’t believe it’s taken me two days to find it! Should have had Miss Marple, I mean Maple, on the job!
    Very cleverly done, but a bit all too neatly explained perhaps? What is she really hiding? I’m glad “you” were okay though and look forward to meeting Miss Maple again. I hope I don’t need her services as a locator of missing blogger inspiration too soon!
    Thanks for resurrecting these stories. Reading them has been a hoot, and a delight! 🙂

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    1. Haha, you as well think she is hiding something? Yes it was all very neat wasn’t it, but I saw her garden and that too was very well kept so I believe we got the truth from her. After-all she did save the day when I fainted with sunstroke, and she really does bake a great Victoria Sandwich 🙂

      She’s coming back soon, and both Miss Maple and I would like to thank you for inspiring us to republish these stories. She was getting a little fed up in the archives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so pleased you republished them. i really enjoyed reading the mystery, and the explanations all neatly packaged at the end. I am looking forward to reading more of Miss Maple and her adventures. 🙂

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  10. Loved this little series Hugh! Christie/Cluedo … How could anyone not love it! I can imagine you writing this giggling! Loved it ! 🙂

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      1. Great to hear! Her name certainly got the biggest laugh from me! I do like those play on words! 🙂

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  11. Oh Hugh, I love this, and to think that it was ‘Miss Maple’ all along. Maple syrup is one of my favourite things in all the world 🙂 You might not know this Hugh, but I followed your story all the way through from Sally’s links over on Facebook and commented over there. I said that I wondered if Colonel Mustard might show up with the lead piping in the conservatory, so I wasn’t far wrong, ha! I adore Clue. My mother still has the original game that she played with my grandparents, we get it out every now and then and play as a family. Great fun. Just like your excellent story and just loved the way you pulled it all together with the fun explanations at the end. Bravo my friend 🙂 xx

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    1. Thank you so much Sherri.

      It was Norah who prompted me to republish the Miss Maple story and I am so pleased I did. Many people seem to have got to like Miss Maple very much (even if some of you think she may have done something awful – I can’t comment on that ). The inspiration for the story came last summer when John, Toby, and I, went to stay in the little village of Evershott in Dorset. Such a wonderful village, and our first walk after dinner on the first evening was when the idea for the story came to me. It was great fun to write and even more fun to bring back (thanks to Norah).

      Miss Maple be be back, especially as she seems to be so popular. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know Evershott Hugh, hubby took me for a wondeful meal at a pub there for my birthday a couple of years ago. I will have to find out the name, can’t remember it right now! We are very close to Dorset, mere miles. Most of my family lives there and I lived there for a few years. It’s great that you found such wonderful inspiration and I can see why, such a beautiful village as you say. Yay for wonderful, lovely Norah. I love that lady 🙂 And I think you will have to bring back Miss Maple, definitely. She has so much more to say…and tell 😉 Have a great weekend my friend, I’ve got my babies back this weekend, travelling on the train from Brighton and Lewis as I type…can’t wait to have them all back in the nest. See you very soon 🙂 xx

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