Six short stories from the Queen of Crime, telling, amongst other things, of Pink Pearls and Sinister Strangers.
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William Morrow Paperbacks
October 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
A Fairy in the Flat
Mrs Thomas Beresford shifted her position on the divan and looked gloomily out of the window of the flat. The prospect was not an extended one, consisting solely of a small block of flats on the other side of the road. Mrs Beresford sighed and then yawned.
'I wish,' she said, 'something would happen.'
Her husband looked up reprovingly.
'Be careful, Tuppence, this craving for vulgar sensation alarms me.'
Tuppence sighed and closed her eyes dreamily.
'So Tommy and Tuppence were married,'she chanted, 'and lived happily ever afterwards. And six years later they were still living together happily ever afterwards. It is extraordinary,' she said, 'how different everything always is from what you think it is going to be.'
'A very profound statement, Tuppence. But not original. Eminent poets and still more eminent divines have said it before-and if you will excuse me saying so, have said it better.'
'Six years ago,' continued Tuppence, 'I would have sworn that with sufficient money to buy things with, and with you for a husband, all life would have been one grand sweet song, as one of the poets you seem to know so much about puts it.'
'Is it me or the money that palls upon you?' inquired Tommy coldly.
'Palls isn't exactly the word,' said Tuppence kindly. 'I'm used to my blessings, that's all. Just as one never thinks what a boon it is to be able to breathe through one's nose until one has a cold in the head.'
'Shall I neglect you a little?' suggested Tommy. 'Take other women about to night clubs. That sort of thing.'
'Useless,' said Tuppence. 'You would only meet me there with other men. And I should know perfectly well that you didn't care for the other women, whereas you would never be quite sure that I didn't care for the other men. Women are so much more thorough.'
'It's only in modesty that men score top marks,' murmured her husband. 'But what is the matter with you, Tuppence? Why this yearning discontent?'
'I don't know. I want things to happen. Exciting things. Wouldn't you like to go chasing German spies again, Tommy? Think of the wild days of peril we went through once. Of course I know you're more or less in the Secret Service now, but it's pure office work.'
'You mean you'd like them to send me into darkest Russia disguised as a Bolshevik bootlegger, or something of that sort?'
'That wouldn't be any good,' said Tuppence. 'They wouldn't let me go with you and I'm the person who wants something to do so badly. Something to do. That is what I keep saying all day long.'
'Women's sphere,' suggested Tommy, waving his hand.
'Twenty minutes' work after breakfast every morning keeps the flag going to perfection. You have nothing to complain of, have you?'
'Your housekeeping is so perfect, Tuppence, as to be almost monotonous.'
'I do like gratitude,' said Tuppence.