A man is shot at in a juvenile reform home – but someone else dies…
Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in a Victorian mansion which doubles as a rehabilitation centre for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when a youth fires a revolver at the administrator, Lewis Serrocold. Neither is injured. But a mysterious visitor, Mr Gilbrandsen, is less fortunate – shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.
Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and vows to discover the real reason for Mr Gilbrandsen’s visit.
I read this book to fill the Locked Room Mystery square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
Jane Marple is, as the detective in this novel says, a sharp old bird. I do love that she took her binoculars with her and was willing to pursue Siskins with intensity in order to eavesdrop effectively! She very much makes use of the fact that elderly women seem to be invisible to vast portions of the population. Similarly, her friend Carrie Louise is much more observant than her surrounding family gives her credit for (and certainly more than her husband believes). Older women can get away with all kinds of things that people don’t think us capable of.
I was also interested to see the way that our attitude towards young offenders really hasn’t changed all that much since 1952 when this book was originally published. A problem that we’re still struggling with and haven’t found any easy answers.
I did feel that the end was a bit weaker than many of the Christie books that I have read up until now--the perpetrator got to escape prosecution, although their end was arguably worse than what the courts would have assigned.