Sleeping Murder

Sleeping Murder """Let sleeping murder lie"": This is the motto which is not obeyed by Gwenda Reed (née Halliday), a woman in her early twenties who has recently married and now comes to England to settle down there. For all she knows, she has never set foot on English soil before, as her father brought her directly from India to New Zealand when she was a two year-old girl. While her husband is still abroad on business, she drives around the countryside looking for a suitable house which might become their permanent residence. She decides on the small village of Dillmouth in the South of England when she finds a nice old house there called Hillside which immediately appeals to her. Little does she know yet why this is the case.Dr James Kennedy, a Scottish doctor who lives in Dillmouth, is pathologically obsessed with his beautiful half-sister Helen, who is much younger than he is and whom it is his duty to bring up. As a learned man, however, he is extremely good at hiding his condition so that none of the villagers suspects anything out of the ordinary.Without anybody noticing, the situation escalates when Helen Kennedy returns to Dillmouth after leaving school. She is young, very attractive and wants to have fun, so she goes out with men. Her half-brother cannot cope with this situation, becomes increasingly irritated and starts playing nasty tricks on her: For example, as a doctor, he ""treats"" her foot injury in a way which makes her unable to walk for much longer than necessary. He also cuts their tennis net to ribbons so that she cannot invite her friends and have a tennis party.20 years later Miss Marple finds out that Helen's reputation as a man crazy nymphomaniac was actually invented by Dr Kennedy in order to be able to get rid of her without suspicion. All Helen really wants is get away from the stifling atmosphere that surrounds her half-brother. At first she goes out with Jackie Afflick, a young man a class beneath her who works as a clerk for Fane, the country solicitor. Young Walter Fane, a repressed and uninteresting young man, is also crazy about her. Rejected by Helen, Fane decides to go abroad and try his hand at planting tea in India. Afflick is fired and thinks this is due to a conspiracy against him instigated by Dr Kennedy.Now Helen really wants to get away and decides to go to India to marry Walter Fane. She tells him so and actually starts on the voyage to India. On the ship she meets the third man in her life: Richard Erskine, married with two little boys, whose wife is pathologically jealous. They fall in love and later Richard recounts to Gwenda that it was ""serious"", but upon arrival in India, Erskine and Helen decide to go separate ways because, after all, Erskine is married and has to care for his wife and sons. But at the same time Helen realizes that she could never spend the rest of her life with a man as boring as Walter Fane. She tells him so, wires to Dr Kennedy for money for the return journey, and immediately books a passage back to England.On the journey back Helen Kennedy meets Kelvin Halliday. Halliday is a widower with a two-year-old girl called Gwenda. His wife Megan, a New Zealander, died while they were living in India, and now Halliday, desperate after the loss of his wife, is on his way back to England. Halliday and Helen get to know each other better and decide to get married on arrival: Helen does not want to wait for her half-brother's approval, which she might never get. The Hallidays rent a house, St Catherine's—later renamed Hillside—in Dillmouth, quite close to that of Dr Kennedy—actually next to the hospital where he is working. Dr Kennedy becomes a frequent visitor at St Catherine's, and on the surface everything seems to be all right now.But Helen's former suitors are around, too: Walter Fane has also returned from India, is working in his father's law firm and following Helen around like a dog

Authors: Agatha ChristiePages: 106     Year: 1976

Tags: agatha detective christie

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