Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets -- a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir. But all of that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, appears to have been driven to suicide. 'I can't go on,' her final note reads. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner's verdict. Was this the work of a poison pen Or of a poisoner
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William Morrow Paperbacks
November 07, 2000
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Excerpt from The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
When at last I was taken out of the plaster, and the doctors had pulled me about to their hearts' content, and nurses had wheedled me into cautiously using my limbs, and I had been nauseated by their practically using baby talk to me, Marcus Kent told me I was to go and live in the country.
'Good air, quiet life, nothing to do -- that's the prescription for you. That sister of yours will look after you. Eat, sleep and imitate the vegetable kingdom as far as possible.'
I didn't ask him if I'd ever be able to fly again. There are questions that you don't ask because you're afraid of the answers to them. In the same way during the last five months I'd never asked if I was going to be condemned to lie on my back all my life. I was afraid of a bright hypocritical reassurance from Sister. 'Come now, what a question to ask! We don't let our patients go talking in that way!'
So I hadn't asked -- and it had been all right. I wasn't to be a helpless cripple. I could move my legs, stand on them, finally walk a few steps -- and if I did feel rather like an adventurous baby learning to toddle, with wobbly knees and cotton wool soles to my feet -- well, that was only weakness and disuse and would pass.
Marcus Kent, who is the right kind of doctor, answered what I hadn't said.
'You're going to recover completely,' he said. 'We weren't sure until last Tuesday when you had that final overhaul, but I can tell you so authoritatively now. But -- it's going to be a long business. A long and, if I may so, a wearisome business. When it's a question of healing nerves and muscles, the brain must help the body. Any impatience, any freeting, will throw you back. And whatever you do, don't "will yourself to get well quickly". Anything of that kind and you'll find yourself back in a nursing home. You've got to take life slowly and easily, the tempo is marked Legato. Not only has your body got to recover, but your nerves have been weakened by the necessity of keeping you under drugs for so long.
'That's why I say, go down to the country, take a house, get interested in local politics, in local scandal, in village gossip. Take an inquisitive and violent interest in your neighbours. If I may make a suggestion, go to a part of the world where you haven't got any friends scattered about.'
I nodded. 'I had already,' I said, 'thought of that.'