Miss Marple writes:
Discreetly entering my bedroom I beheld Demure Dorcas, the Crafty Chambermaid, on her knees rummaging through the contents of my suitcase which she had dragged from under the bed. She was so absorbed in one of the Poirot mysteries by the immortal Dame Agatha Christie [from whom I learned most of what I know about sleuthing] that she only realised I was in the room when I exclaimed “Pray what does this mean?”
“Oh excuse me, Miss Marple,” the saucy hussy replied, “I was dusting under your bed when I found this fascinating masterpiece.”
“And who told you to pry into my belongings, Miss?” I sarcastically enquired.
“One must always be on the safe side, Miss Marple”, she replied. “I was brought up to check all unopened packages for possible intruders. As my late revered great-Aunt the eccentric music hall artiste Nellie Wallace frequently used to sing:
My Mother said
Always look under the bed
Before you blow the candle out
To see if there’s a man about.
I always do
And you can make a bet
It’s never been my luck
To find a man there yet.”
“Singing disreputable ditties won’t excuse your misbehaviour, ma’am”, I retorted. “I shall summon the Beadle and have you put into the stocks until Anticant convenes a
“I shouldn’t advise it if I were you”, the wicked wench responded. “You’ll never guess what I found under Anticant’s bed. Or under the Beadle’s and Mrs Malaprop’s – not to mention Dame Barbara’s. I hardly think they would like you or anyone else to read about it in the Burrow Bugle, which I fear they will do very soon if you proceed as you propose.”
I was dumbfounded. “You are a blackmailing chit!” I exclaimed, and set off to find the Beadle.