THE BODY IN THE SUNROOM
She said her name was Marple. Miss Jane Marple. She knocked on the door shortly after that piercing scream rang through the mansion. Fontescue let her in, a seemingly harmless little old lady. He took the card from her gloved hand and showed her into the library. And summoned me, Lady Daphne.
We had all gone to tea in the sunroom, celebrating the arrival of Prince Victor of Romania, and the reading of the will, when suddenly there was a noise at the window. A blackbird crashed into a pane, Livie dropped a scone, and Percy tripped over poor Lady Agatha's body, which must have been lying behind the sofa since before any of us had arrived. I was the one who screamed, as who wouldn't at the sight of a beloved sister-in-law, lying wide eyed and dead at our feet.
"Oh, Miss Marple", I exclaimed, having been fetched to meet her in the library. "What brings you here?"
She exclaimed, " I heard a scream as I was crossing the footbridge, and just knew that a body couldn't be too far away. But, not in the library, I see."
"No", said I, "Not this time. In the sunroom." She looked knowingly around the room, a tiny smile lifting the corner of her lightly rouged lips.
"Did the the blackbird die?"
"Yes", I exclaimed, amazed at her prescience. I clutched my throat. "It's lying in a bed of daffodils".
"Can you show me, please", she asked. I walked quickly with Miss Marple at my side, to the sunroom, Fortescue rushing ahead to open the door for us.
Since all were still assembled around poor Lady Agatha, Miss Marple had no need to gather everyone, as she solved the mystery.
Pointing to the garden, and the very dead, very black, blackbird, she bent over the spilled teacup, and the delicate yellow daffodil petals lying at poor Lady Agatha's feet. "I presume that poor Lady Agatha was to be the recipient of the entire content of the will, that you ", she pointed at Sir Clive, "were about to read. If you please, do begin. We'll probably see who the next in line for the fortune will be in the event of poor Lady Agatha's unfortunate demise. Ah, such lovely daffodils all around...and who here has recently prepared a daffodil honey"?
Everyone looked around and the gazes fell on one person. "Who here is so familiar with the ever present daffodil, and its most unique property"? Miss Marple scanned the room as she spoke. "Who left the jar of honey unguarded, knowing that poor Lady Agatha had a tendancy to arrive before anyone else for tea, so she could have a surreptitious spoonful of honey? Unknowing at the time, of course, that a dose of the daffodil's dark side was being administered. I refer of course to the poisonous Lycorine, in the leaves, in the bulb. Really unexpected in the beauty of the flower of Springtime, but ever present nevertheless. As poor Lady Agatha was doomed to find out".
Miss Marple made a strange gesture, scratching the back of her hands. "And the murderer is giving a bit more away...having daffodil itch! Hyperkeratosis, as we know, is an almost unbearable dryness and scaling that comes from the calcium oxalate in the sap. And someone here does not seem able to resist an impulsive scratch.
"The poison in the honey"? Miss Marple slowly turned, and exclaimed, "If you look in Lady Daphne's sagging pocket, you will find the jar of honey, next to the red herring, laced with poison. The killer obviously is..."
...and she pointed to me, as I scratched my hands...
Great thanks to Willow at magpie/prompts#7 for giving us all this fun opportunity!