The setting is wonderfully done, as are the characters. The solution is perfectly in tune with their psychology and there's plenty of evidence that Gamache will make a third appearance. Sooner or later the whole world will discover Penny. With a unique sense of timing, patience and subtle wit, Penny is able to create a whodunit that recalls those of Agatha Christie Magically bringing the postcard village of Three Pines to life, she gives it innocence, allows a touch of evil to intrude and then brings in the outsider, the intriguing Gamache, to solve the crime.
The result is an engrossing read that will only add to the ranks of her readers. Shotsmag, UK This is a wonderful novel, full of mystery. It is as deeply layered as snow drifting down upon snow. The cold will seep into your bones so wrap up warm and have a good hot drink at your elbow. As the early morning mist clears on Thanksgiving Sunday, the homes of Three Pines come to life - all except one.
To locals, the village is a safe haven. So they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident - a hunter's arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead? Gamache knows something dark is lurking behind the white picket fences, and if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will begin to give up its secrets.
Kirkus Review Cerebral, wise and compassionate, Gamache is destined for stardom. Don't miss this stellar debut. Publishers Weekly Like a virtuoso, Penny plays a complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight. Filled with unexpected insights, this winning traditional mystery sets a solid foundation for future entries in the series. Booklist , Emily Melton This is a real gem of a book that slowly draws the reader into a beautifully told, lyrically written story of love, life, friendship and tragedy.
Miss Jane Neal kept a well-read book on her nightstand, C. Lewis' Surprised by Joy. That title is a fitting phrase for Still Life. Three Pines delivers. Toronto Star, Jack Batten A delightful and clever collection of false leads, red herrings, meditations on human nature, strange behavior and other diverting stuff. The Calgary Herald , Joanne Sasvari, This is a much darker, cleverer, funnier and, finally, more hopeful novel than even the great Dame Agatha could have penned. It's light, witty and poignant, a thrilling debut from a new Canadian crime writer. As the last note of the chant escaped the Blessed Chapel a great silence fell, and with it came an even greater disquiet.
The silence stretched on. And on. These were men used to silence, but this seemed extreme, even to them. And still they stood in their long black robes and white tops, motionless. These were men also used to waiting. But this too seemed extreme. The less disciplined among them stole glances at the tall, slim, elderly man who had been the last to file in and would be the first to leave.
Dom Philippe kept his eyes closed. Where once this was a moment of profound peace, a private moment with his private God, when Vigils had ended and before he signaled for the Angelus, now it was simply escape. Besides, he knew what was there. What was always there. What had been there for hundreds of years before he arrived and would, God willing, be there for centuries after he was buried in the cemetery.
Two rows of men across from him, in black robes with white hoods, a simple rope tied at their waists. And beside him to his right, two more rows of men. They were facing each other across the stone floor of the chapel, like ancient battle lines. No, he told his weary mind. Just opposing points of view.
Expressed in a healthy community. Then why was he so reluctant to open his eyes? To get the day going? To signal the great bells that would ring the Angelus to the forests and birds and lakes and fish. And the monks. To the angels and all the saints. And God. In the great silence it sounded like a bomb. With an effort he continued to keep his eyes closed. He remained still, and quiet. But there was no peace anymore. Now there was only turmoil, inside and out.
He could feel it, vibrating from and between the two rows of waiting men. He could feel it vibrating within him. Dom Philippe counted to one hundred. Then opening his blue eyes, he stared directly across the chapel, to the short, round man who stood with his eyes open, his hands folded on his stomach, a small smile on his endlessly patient face. And the bells began. The perfect, round, rich toll left the bell tower and took off into the early morning darkness. It skimmed over the clear lake, the forests, the rolling hills. To be heard by all sorts of creatures.
A clarion call. Their day had begun. That would be ridiculous. In the background an old Beau Dommage album was playing. Beauvoir hummed quietly to the familiar tune. Beauvoir laughed. Poor Mom. Felt she had to marry him. After all, who else would have him? Beauvoir laughed again. I could hardly give you a worse gift. He reached down beside the table in the sunny kitchen.
A platter of bacon and scrambled eggs with melted Brie sat on the small pine table. The cat leapt to the ground and found a spot on the floor where the sun hit. Beauvoir lifted it into plain sight. Happy anniversary. And I got you nothing. Annie took the plunger. You are full of it, after all. She thrust the plunger forward, gently prodding him with the red rubber suction cup as though it was a rapier and she the swordsman. So like Annie. Where other women might have pretended the ridiculous plunger was a wand, she pretended it was a sword.
Of course, Jean-Guy realized, he would never have given a toilet plunger to any other woman. Only Annie. As he spoke he looked at Annie. Her eyes never left him, barely blinked. She took in every word, every gesture, every inflection. Enid, his ex-wife, had also listened. But there was always an edge of desperation about it, a demand. As though he owed her. As though she was dying and he was the medicine. Enid left him drained, and yet still feeling inadequate.
But Annie was gentler. More generous. Like her father, she listened carefully and quietly. With Enid he never talked about his work, and she never asked. With Annie he told her everything. He told her what they found, how they felt, and who they arrested. Beauvoir nodded and chewed and saw the Chief Inspector in the dim cabin. Whispering the story. So as the two homicide investigators deftly searched, Chief Inspector Gamache had told Beauvoir about the bathmat. And somehow deciding a bathmat was the perfect hostess gift. Her mother never tired of asking either.
Her father, on the other hand, decided I was an imbecile and never mentioned it again. That was worse. When they died we found the bathmat in their linen closet, still in its plastic wrapping, with the card attached. Beauvoir stopped talking and looked across at Annie. She smelled fresh and clean. Like a citron grove in the warm sunshine. No makeup. She wore warm slippers and loose, comfortable clothing. Annie was aware of fashion, and happy to be fashionable. But happier to be comfortable. She was not slim. She was not a stunning beauty.
But Annie knew something most people never learn. She knew how great it was to be alive. It had taken him almost forty years, but Jean-Guy Beauvoir finally understood it too. And knew now there was no greater beauty. Annie was approaching thirty now. Had made him part of the team, and eventually, over the years, part of the family.
Though even the Chief Inspector had no idea how much a part of the family Beauvoir had become. She held up the plunger, with its cheery red bow. Would die together. In a home that smelled of fresh citron and coffee. And had a cat curled around the sunshine. But hearing it now, it just seemed natural. As though this was always the plan. To have children. To grow old together. Beauvoir did the math.
He was ten years older than her, and would almost certainly die first. He was relieved. But there was something troubling him. Annie grew quiet, and picked at her croissant. Just us. You know? He could never stop them, but it would be a disaster. The Chief and Madame Gamache will be happy. Very happy. But he wanted to be sure. To know. It was in his nature. He collected facts for a living, and this uncertainty was taking its toll. It was the only shadow in a life suddenly, unexpectedly luminous. But in his heart it felt like a betrayal.
She leaned toward him, her elbows and forearms resting on the croissant flakes on the pine table, and took his hand. She held it warm in hers. My father would be so happy. Seeing the look on his face she laughed and squeezed his hand. She adores you. Always has. They think of you as family, you know. As another son. She just held his hand and looked into his eyes. Annie paused, thinking. Dad spends his life looking for clues, piecing things together. Gathering evidence. Too close, I guess. One of the first lessons he teaches new recruits.
The phone rang. Not the robust peal of the landline, but the cheerful, invasive trill of a cell. He ran to the bedroom and grabbed it off the nightstand. No number was displayed, just a word. He almost hit the small green phone icon, then hesitated. It managed to be both relaxed and authoritative.
It was on a Saturday morning. An invitation to dinner. A query about staffing or a case going to trial. This was a call to arms. A call to action. A call that marked something dreadful had happened. And raced. And even danced a little. Not with joy at the knowledge of a terrible and premature death. But knowing he and the Chief and others would be on the trail again. Jean-Guy Beauvoir loved his job. But now, for the first time, he looked into the kitchen, and saw Annie standing in the doorway.
Watching him. And he realized, with surprise, that he now loved something more. And just the two of us for now. Should she come? Just to organize the Scene of Crime team and leave? Hope you remember how to do it. All the way from downtown? Beauvoir felt the world stop for a moment. Not much traffic. Gamache laughed. And he did, placing calls, issuing orders, organizing.
Then he threw a few clothes into an overnight bag. Even for a woman who cherished reality, this was far too real. She laughed, and he was glad. At the door he stopped and lowered his case to the ground. Once he was gone and she could no longer see the back of his car, Annie Gamache closed the door and held her hand to her chest.
She wondered if this was how her mother had felt, for all those years. How her mother felt at that very moment. Was she too leaning against the door, having watched her heart leave? Having let it go. Then Annie walked over to the bookcases lining her living room. After a few minutes she found what she was looking for. She and Jean-Guy would present them with their own white bibles, with their names and baptism dates inscribed. She looked at the thick first page. Sure enough, there was her name. And a date. But instead of a cross underneath her name her parents had drawn two little hearts.
Copyright by Three Pines Creations, Inc. She could see shadows, shapes, like wraiths moving back and forth, back and forth across the frosted glass. Appearing and disappearing. Distorted, but still human. Still the dead one lay moaning. The words had been going through her head all day, appearing and disappearing. A poem, half remembered. Words floating to the surface, then going under.
The body of the poem beyond her grasp. The blurred figures at the far end of the long corridor seemed almost liquid, or smoke. There, but insubstantial. This was it. The end of the journey. How often had they come to the MAC to marvel at some new exhibition? To support a friend, a fellow artist? Or to just sit quietly in the middle of the sleek gallery, in the middle of a weekday, when the rest of the city was at work?
Art was their work. But it was more than that. It had to be. Otherwise, why put up with all those years of solitude? Of failure? Of silence from a baffled and even bemused art world? She and Peter had worked away, every day, in their small studios in their small village, leading their tiny lives. But still yearning for more. Clara took a few more steps down the long, long, white marble hallway. Her first dream as a child, her last dream that morning, almost fifty years later, was at the far end of the hard white hallway.
He was by far the more successful artist, with his exquisite studies of life in close-up. So detailed, and so close that a piece of the natural world appeared distorted and abstract. Peter took what was natural and made it appear unnatural. People ate it up. Thank God. It kept food on the table and the wolves, while constantly circling their little home in Three Pines, were kept from the door.
Thanks to Peter and his art. Clara glanced at him walking slightly ahead of her, a smile on his handsome face. She knew most people, on first meeting them, never took her for his wife. Instead they assumed some slim executive with a white wine in her elegant hand was his mate. An example of natural selection. Of like moving to like. The distinguished artist with the head of graying hair and noble features could not possibly have chosen the woman with the beer in her boxing glove hands. And the studio full of sculptures made out of old tractor parts and paintings of cabbages with wings.
Peter Morrow could not have chosen her. That would have been unnatural. Clara would have smiled had she not been fairly certain she was about to throw up. Oh, no no no, she thought again as she watched Peter march purposefully toward the closed door and the art wraiths waiting to pass judgment. On her. But mostly she wanted to turn and flee, to hide. To stumble back down the long, long, light-filled, art-filled, marble-filled hallway. And this is where it led. Someone had lied. She walked down this corridor. Composed and collected.
Beautiful and slim. Witty and popular. Into the waiting arms of an adoring world. There was no terror. No nausea. No creatures glimpsed through the frosted glass, waiting to devour her. Dissect her. Diminish her, and her creations. Had not told her something else might be waiting. Oh, no no no, thought Clara. What was the rest of the poem?
Why did it elude her? Now, within feet of the end of her journey all she wanted to do was run away home to Three Pines. To open the wooden gate. To race up the path lined with apple trees in spring bloom. To slam their front door shut behind her. To lean against it. To lock it. To press her body against it, and keep the world out. She realized she was holding her breath and wondered for how long.
To make up for it she started breathing rapidly. Peter was talking but his voice was muffled, far away. Drowned out by the shrieking in her head, and the pounding in her chest. And the noise building behind the doors. As they got closer. Clara opened her hand and dropped her purse. It fell with a plop to the floor, since it was all but empty, containing simply a breath mint and the tiny paint brush from the first paint-by-number set her grandmother had given her.
Clara dropped to her knees, pretending to gather up invisible items and stuff them into her clutch. She lowered her head, trying to catch her breath, and wondered if she was about to pass out. Clara stared from the purse on the gleaming marble floor to the man crouched across from her. He was kneeling beside her, watching, his kind eyes life preservers thrown to a drowning woman. She held them.
His voice was calm. This was their own private crisis. Their own private rescue. Not missing her right away. Not noticing his wife was kneeling on the floor. Seeing his silky blond hair, and the lines only visible very close up. More lines than a thirty-eight-year-old man should have. Go back home. The dew heavy under her rubber boots. The early roses and late peonies damp and fragrant. Not once had she imagined herself collapsed on the floor. In terror. Longing to leave. To go back to the garden. But Olivier was right. Not yet. Oh, no no no.
They were the only way home now. Clara laughed, and exhaled. And in that instant the body of the poem surfaced. The rest of it was revealed. I was much too far out all my life. From far off Armand Gamache could hear the sound of children playing. He knew where it was coming from. He sometimes liked to sit there and pretend the shouts and laughter came from his young grandchildren, Florence and Zora.
He imagined his son Daniel and Roslyn were in the park, watching their children. Or he and Reine-Marie would join them. And play catch, or conkers. But mostly he just listened to the shouts and shrieks and laughter of neighborhood children. And smiled. And relaxed. His wife, Reine-Marie, sat across from him on their balcony. She too had a cold beer on this unexpectedly warm day in mid-June. But her copy of La Presse was folded on the table and she stared into the distance.
He was silent for a moment, watching her. Her hair was quite gray now, but then, so was his. He was glad. Like him, she was in her mid-fifties. And this was what a couple of that age looked like. If they were lucky. The important thing is that, having attended him after his collapse, you should see him now and observe his present condition. It needs tackling at once.
He has never told you yet about his delusions, though he suspects Johnson of having inferred their peculiar nature. Tonight he has promised to make a clean breast of them, and I fancy that you will find them important from the medical standpoint. We went in and, sitting in a half-circle round the fire, began our drinks over the usual small talk. Frent-Sutton was, however, a believer in getting to grips with a job quickly and broke in early with a request that Adrian would tell us all about his Benceston business. Our firm's name, you know, is Frent, Frent and Saxon; and that is because when my father turned the show into a limited liability company he kept a third share for himself and reserved a second third for me against the day when I should have grown up and proved my business capacity , while he allowed his manager, old Saxon, to take up the remaining third share.
He dogged my footsteps everywhere and at both schools, and later at the Varsity, he excelled me both in games and work. My parents took shame from my inferiority and perpetually upbraided me with letting them down. As a result I grew to hate Paul and detested him the more for a desire on his part to fraternise. Paul also inherited money from an aunt, and my father, in appreciation of his work, allowed him 'to purchase the share in the business which he had earmarked for me. On my father's death, therefore, I had only the one-third share in the business which I inherited from him against Paul's two.
I was permanently number two to my life's enemy; and during every day and hour of our partnership my hatred for him proliferated. It possessed my whole being. He was preaching on sins of intention and quoted that text about a man committing fornication in his heart if he looks upon a woman lasciviously. The same logic, the parson pointed out, applies to the other commandments.
Many people might regard themselves as pretty safe against a breach of the sixth; but we must remember that anybody who allowed his imagination to dwell on how much nicer things would be if only so-and-so were out of the way had already committed murder in his heart. I at once realised this to be true. I was murdering Paul daily: and, quite clearly, it was my duty both to him and myself that I should cut adrift from our partnership. This delay added further fuel to my hate.
You will remember, Johnson, how, in the train that day, you joked about the possibility of the cold cure which I had lent to Saxon proving as deadly as the dose that killed my dogs. That jest of yours brought me, with a jerk, bang up against the actuality that I had, in passing the bottle to Saxon, thought how easy and pleasant it would have been to hand over some poisonous mixture, if any such had been to hand.
I tried to keep my mind off this memory by reading the paper, but without success, and then endeavoured to concentrate on other thoughts.liataithutycon.cf/553.php
50th Reunion | Schedule of Events | Amherst College
Johnson knows my fondness for railway history and I had told him how an important railway project had ended ignominiously in a gasworks siding. I forced myself now to imagine what would have been the route of the abortive London, Middlehampton and East Coast Railway and what might have been the livery of its rolling stock.
While my thoughts were being directed along these lines, we rattled through Ponsden Priory and, to my momentary surprise, I felt the train, instead of carrying straight on over the points, swing right-handed towards the siding. I say "momentary surprise" because, within a few seconds, it seemed perfectly right and natural to me that we should be travelling eastwards.
I noticed the monogram, L. The scenery through which we were passing was also familiar, and I knew that before reaching Benceston the train would stop at Latteridge Junction to pick up passengers. And so it turned out. As the train glided in, I spotted him out of the corner of my eye and surreptitiously watched him enter a compartment three doors off from mine. I journeyed on to the East Station and took up my quarters at the Porchester. Paul and I, therefore, had a good three miles between us and ample space in which to avoid each other.
Walking, next day, along the summit of Bellringers Cliff, I suddenly heard a whistling of that filthy tune, "Lulu on the Lilo", followed by a loathesomely hearty "By Jove! How are we? Fancy meeting you up here! I say, what a magnificent view of the sea one gets! I took a hurried look to right and left.
We were alone. Striking him from behind, on both shoulder blades, I caused him to overbalance and fall forward.
I was alone. My heart thumped with the joy of quick decision and prompt execution. Glancing at my wrist watch, I saw that it was a quarter to three. I started singing, and was just about to peer over the edge, in order to see if Saxon's body had fallen on the rocks above or below tide-level, when a a large hand grabbed me by the arm and swung me round so that I faced inshore. My aggressor was a man of over six feet and broad in proportion.
Give me your right hand. In order to prevent any recurrence of the stimuli that led to the nightmare I gave up travelling to London via Ponsden and used the other line to King's Pancras. In doing so I forgot that I had returned from Benceston not by train, but in a faint or swoon; and I soon learned to my horror that this process was reversable. During the past few weeks I have re-visited Benceston many times in trance or swoon. I have stood my trial there for murder and heard sentence of death pronounced on me.
The Governor of Benceston Prison has told me that my execution takes place tomorrow morning at eight. Give me a brandy, Gilbert. Now I want all three of you to be here at that time tomorrow morning to protect me, and I will tell you why. I have noticed that things which happen at Benceston can simultaneously take place here, if in a different manner.
For example, Saxon died from pneumonia at the same instant as I thrust him over Bell-ringers Cliff. The exact time of his death is one of the first things I ascertained after my return to work. Lyster had been at the deathbed.
I have no doubt that punctually tomorrow morning, as the clock strikes eight, whatever it is that corresponds to me in Benceston will be hanged. Therefore you must agree to be here with me at that hour. I can see that you think me mad: but if you will do what I ask, I promise you that at five minutes past eight tomorrow you will find me sane and sensible beyond all doubt. Whatever it be at Benceston that shares my identity and usurps my consciousness will have been killed by then and myself set free.
Do promise, therefore, to come without fail. Frent may think that tomorrow morning will see the end of his delusions; but he is wrong. I know these symptoms, and there cannot be a sudden end to them. The doctor called for me next morning, and at ten minutes to eight we walked across to Brenside.
On entering the hall, I was surprised to see the hands of the large chiming clock registering seven fifty-five. Adrian's been on to the Exchange twice this morning. That's Greenwich time all right. For a man who, in his own apprehension, stood in danger of imminent death, Frent struck me as unexpectedly calm and collected. He bade us take chairs facing the clock, and we must have looked a strange group as we sat watching the dial. The tick of the pendulum acquired unusual sonority owing to our silence: a silence dictated for three of us by our consciousness of the fatuity of the whole proceeding.
A click and a cluck, followed by a whirring of small wheels, heralded the chimes, and I saw Frent dig his fingers into the leathered arm of his chair. The interval between the chimes and the hour gong seemed interminable; but, at last, the eight strokes droned out—and, as we had foreseen, nothing whatever happened.
Thanks ever so much for seeing me through. We can't very well have whisky at this hour though! Gilbert, tell Ada to bring coffee quickly, while I dash upstairs and get a handkerchief. The morning breeze made them faint; but we heard unmistakably the chimes of Brensham parish church; and then the distant boom of the great hour bell.
Simultaneously, there came from almost above our heads a noise of rending, a cry, a crash, and, nearer to us still, a dull, heavy thud. We rushed down the back passage, where we ran into Frent-Sutton as he hurried out from the pantry. In the wooden ceiling above us gaped a yard-square hole, and immediately below lay the ruin of a trap-door, with hinges torn from the supporting joist.
It was Frent's fire-escape. Over what was close beside it the Doctor now leaned, and, having lifted one end, laid it gently back. A fatal combination. He insisted on ringing up for the time and doing it himself! Mrs Tullivant rose from her seat and looked for her glasses everywhere but on the table where they very obviously lay. Now I'm off to bed, and will leave you and Mr Morcambe to enjoy your music. I'm afraid that I'm a bit of a wet blanket where music is concerned.
That, of course, knocks out all the great masters! You can't imagine what a difference their names and initial letters make to my enjoyment of things and people! I just can't read the Bible, Milton or Shakespeare: and pictures by Holbein or Hogarth make me shiver. Although their styles and subjects are so different I feel a similar dislike for Millais, Morland and Murillo. And, by the way,' here she pointed an accusing knitting pin at her guest, 'your name begins with an M, you know!
Before Morcambe had time to reply, the lady, with an ironical curtsey, had backed to the door and departed. It may be said at this point that the mistress of Dulling Towers was known to her cottager neighbours and tenant as 'a proper caution'. Not that all she did was unacceptable but she was invariably and, sometimes it seemed, laboriously peculiar. This eccentricity she carried into all her activities, even into charitable works. Whether the latter category covered her annual distribution of two white mice apiece to the Sunday School children on Holy Innocents Day is doubtful; but, in order not to forfeit her largesse in other directions, the Vicar of East Dulling had to pretend that it did.
On St. Valentine's Day she similarly presented a pair of white rabbits to every bachelor or spinster whose name appeared on the St. Stephen's Communicants' Roll; and on Michaelmas Eve a white goose was delivered from her farm to every married household among her tenantry. The black-letter saints served this method of limitation quite as effectually and with greater frequency than the red-letter ones.
Her noticeable absence from the Dulling Towers pew on the rare occasion of a Bishop of Wintonbury's visit made it necessary for the Vicar to explain to his Diocesan that the Sunday chosen for the Confirmation unfortunately coincided with the church's annual commemoration of the Venerable Bede. In summer time she professed a strong faith in bare-footedness as a means to perfect health. Children's parties were accordingly given at the 'Towers' for which no footwear was permitted, and the Vicar sorely regretted the public exposure of corns and twisted toes entailed by his necessary attendance at the midsummer school-treat.
In her choice of clothes, hats, books, furniture and friends Mrs Tullivant was equally wayward and aggressive. Her vagaries must, in some directions, have proved expensive; but she intended them to be so. Lady Andler had died long ago in an effort to provide her daughter with a little brother or sister; and the youth of Mrs Tullivant had been that of a pampered dictatress, whose every whim and fancy had met with paternal submission and encouragement. That unfortunately is not the case.
There is a sinister method in her madness. Roger, old boy, I am an intensely unhappy man! Morcambe gazed at his host in sympathetic surprise at this confession, and waited for him to proceed further. To listen to a friend's complaints about his wife is forgivable, but not the prompting of them. Tullivant, moreover, quickly resumed. I never really cared for Maud, much less loved her, but she amused me and I had no reason then to regard her oddities as anything but amiable and quaint. I anticipated that with the help of her large income we would live amicably together, and I enjoy the life of a leisured country gentleman.
You know my tastes. I looked forward to a day or two a week with the hounds and to bridge or billiards of an evening; to motor tours on the Continent, and to some shooting here and in Scotland. That, of course, was what suggested to her her plan of campaign, or system of torture. I once told you my financial position as a bachelor: I had a meagre competence of some three hundred a year.
Fifty of that I lost in a gramophone company, and what remains just about suffices to pay my club bills and keep me in clothes. For everything else I have to go to my wife, and she jots down in her account books every farthing I spend and determines on what I may, and on what I may not, spend it. It's nothing short of slavery, and if it weren't for one thing I'd pack up and quit.
Her pride in appearances prevents my wife blighting them with her ridiculous B, H, M, S taboo. She gets over it by pretending never to remember the names of trees or flowers; she realises that it is the spell of Dulling Towers that binds me to her, and is far too astute to give me my liberty by weakening that bond.
On the contrary she encourages my passion for gardening because of the hold which it gives her over me. At this point Tullivant, in reality startled at the extent to which he had allowed himself to disclose his marital infelicity, made a show of self-possession by filling his pipe with much deliberation and apparent fixity of attention. This however did not deceive Morcambe, who at once effected the change of subject which he felt circumstances to require. Make your choice. You'll find the contents listed on the cardboard schedule at the top of each drawer.
The pipe being by this time filled, Tullivant moved slowly over to the mantelpiece, picked a paper spill from a vase and stooped to light it at the fire. His back was therefore towards Morcambe when he made the unexpected reply: 'I wonder, Roger, whether you'd allow me to try a little experiment on you? The only other thing necessary to the experiment is that I should bolt the door on the outside after I've left you. The object of the experiment will be to ascertain your psychological reactions on an undisturbed hearing of the record which, as you will find out, is a very special and unusual one.
That is why I keep it locked up. There you are! Morcambe took the record and surveyed it with considerable curiosity. The colour of the disc was not the usual black but a dark chocolate brown, and it had a blank apple-green label on which was written in manuscript:. You know how to turn the thing on?
I shouldn't have the loudspeaker quite full on if I were you. Now, please don't forget to register your sensations, for I shall want to know all of them: so keep your mind on the music. Morcambe smiled a little wryly as his host closed the door and audibly slid the outside bolt. Really it all seemed rather ridiculous; but one mustn't blame the husband of so eccentric a wife for developing a few crazes of his own! The disc was now revolving, and with a firm but delicate touch Morcambe set the needle to its margin and, settling into his chair, awaited the music.
Oh, that tune! He knew the piece well enough and associated it with D'Esterre's music at the Vallambrosa. But D'Esterre would never have murdered the violin like this! Whether the fault lay with player or instrument, the tone was indescribably horrible: it reminded Morcambe somehow of an animal moaning in pain, or was it rage? The piano, on the other hand, was being played exquisitely and, by contrast, made the violin all the more intolerable. Morcambe, indeed, rose from his chair to turn the radiophone off, but checked himself as he called to mind that this was an experiment and this his first reaction that he must remember to describe to Tullivant.
As he moved towards the fire the tone of the violin grew even more shrill and strident, and fiercer in its apparent enmity to the piano. Catching a sudden glimpse of his reflection in the mirror above the mantelpiece, Morcambe did not like what he saw and turned angrily round. Sonata indeed! Vendetta for violin and piano, that was what he was listening to. The violinist had now reached that pizzicato passage in the first movement, in which his brutal plucking of the strings moved Morcambe to fury.
With a pounce at the grate he seized the small poker from its tripod and brandished it towards the radiophone. No: there would be no relief in smashing that inanimate machine. The music clamoured for violence to flesh and blood! In a nervous frenzy he sprang towards the door, and then as suddenly recoiled.
That swine, Tullivant, in his dirty cunning had, he remembered, bolted it. But there was another way to get at him—through the french window! No, damn it! He had bolted that too. At this moment there rang out on the piano the lovely solo recapitulation of the second theme; but Morcambe shivered in anticipation of those piercing chords in which the two instruments would shortly wrestle in the tempestuous coda.
If only he could get at Tullivant! But before ever the chords sounded, there came in quick succession a thud, a scream, a choking and a moan; and then, save for the scratching of the needle on the record, silence. The sweat stood out on Morcambe's forehead and on the back of the hand in which the poker still hung limply clutched. Then with a clank it fell to the floor and he sank giddily into an armchair; nor did he hear the door unlocked before, looking up, he saw his host standing over him with a stiff brandy in his hand. There's no delayed action about your nerves!
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You will remember my mentioning that I had lost money in a gramophone company. It was called Orpheophone Limited, and the idea was to begin business with the recording of a library of what our Chairman chose to call "popular classics". Siedel's Sonata was among the first half-dozen, and we thought ourselves lucky when Ballister, our manager, told us that he had booked the Vidal Brothers to play it. We little knew, nobody in fact knew, that they were not brothers at all, but distant cousins locked in a deadly feud which was to have its fatal finale in our studio.
Igor waited till Moritz was playing that solo passage on the piano and then stabbed him through the back with a stiletto which he had kept in his violin case. Some of our shareholders, I remember, were sanguine enough to fancy that the tragedy might prove an advertisement for Orpheophone records! It was never brought in evidence, however, and was accidentally dropped and broken by one of the Court attendants.
The other was the one which you have just heard. Well, as a matter of fact, I found it in a parcel awaiting me at a Poste Restante in the Riviera, where I was on a motor tour with my aunt, Lady Sulcock, the following spring. With it was a note from Baluster to the effect that, if I were to play through the record by myself on no account was I to play it in company I might perhaps understand the nature of his crime and think kindly of him. He dared to hope so, for he had always valued my friendship. This message completely mystified me, for I saw no English newspapers during our tour and had heard nothing of the second murder.
Nor did I have a gramophone on which to play the record, which I therefore packed carefully in my trunk. By that time Ballister had already gone to the gallows for the unprovoked murder of one of the studio messenger boys. At the trial he had comported himself with great dignity and contrition; there was, he told the Judge, an explanation for his act which he would reserve for the judgment seat of the Almighty, as he could not expect any human judge or jury to accept it, true though it was.
His bank balance he made over to the mother of the murdered boy. The balance sheet for the second year presented the alternatives of winding the company up or of raising more capital. It seemed an unlucky enterprise, and the Board consequently decided not to risk throwing good money after bad: so the show was closed down. I respected Ballister's memory too well to break his condition of solitary audience. Then I forgot about the thing entirely in my first enjoyment of Dulling, and it was not until my wife flew into one of her tantrums one evening and left me alone with the radiophone in this very room that I remembered the record and brought it downstairs.
I shoved it into the machine forthwith, and with what psychological effects you can now yourself judge. I could not even wait for the end of the music, but grabbed a desk knife which, by the way, I carefully stowed away before trying my experiment on you! Well, that was when I first discovered that my wife always sleeps with her bedroom door locked! What do you say to our consigning that record to the flames?
Burn it? Certainly not. I never chuck presents away, especially not those from friends that are dead.
For everything comes its day of utility. There, now! It is safely locked up again in its solitary confinement. Many thanks, old fellow, for helping me to make sure that my previous experience wasn't just a matter of personal imagination. And now, I expect, you're about ready for bed? Morcambe was quick to agree, both because he had disliked the experiment and the ensuing conversation and also because he had to catch the 8.
He slept not too badly, and had had breakfast and was already in the car when his host appeared on the doorstep in a dressing-gown to bid him goodbye. To put that old mind of yours at rest I'll give you this solemn assurance; that I will never lay violent hands on Maud. You may take my word on that. The car was already in motion and Morcambe was not sure that he caught Tullivant's concluding words correctly, but they sounded to him like 'it won't be necessary'.
That, however, didn't seem to make sense. Four or five weeks later Roger Morcambe was having breakfast in his small house at Nether Foxbourne when his maid, coming in with the newspaper, asked if she might make bold to ask a question. Such a scandal, cook calls it, as never she knew; and if they be the master's friends he'll sure be worried, she says. There's sure to be something about it in the Morning Digest, I expect; and I'll have a look after I've finished breakfast. No sooner had the door closed on Bertha than her master, yielding to the curiosity which he had felt it dignified to dissemble in her presence, tore open the paper.
From its second page there stared at him these ugly headlines:. From what followed, the reader was given to understand that the County Hostess in question was Mrs Tullivant of Dulling Towers, near Penchester, and that the intended victim of assassination was Miss Jane Cannot, her second housemaid. The lady had apparently been sitting at needlework in the drawing-room when the maid came in to clean the grate and lay the fire.
The latter saw her mistress place a record on the gramophone and afterwards heard some music, but indistinctly as she was partially deaf. The next she knew was a dreadful pain in the back and her mistress bent over her, stabbing and stabbing again. At this she had fallen forward into the fireplace and fainted. Mr Tullivant, it was next reported, was helping Mr Hopkins, the gardener, to prune and tie up the virginian creeper outside the french window.
Hearing a scream they dashed together into the room, where the former tripped over the carpet and falling against the gramophone overturned it onto the parquet floor, smashing the record which it had been playing and also the glass protecting the control dials.
It was the gardener, therefore, who tore his mistress away from the prostrate maid and forced her into a chair. The latter had terrible wounds on neck and shoulder, and one on the left upper arm, the consequences of which might yet prove fatal. She had been removed by motor ambulance to the Penchester Infirmary. The attack had been made with a large pair of sharply-pointed scissors from Mrs Tullivant's work-basket.
Morcambe read this account with an apprehension that increased on a second perusal. Nor was his uneasiness allayed by the Court proceedings reported at intervals over the following weeks. The evidence of Tullivant, Hopkins and Gannot herself whose recovery was happily speedier than the doctors dared to expect tallied in every detail and was quite unshaken in cross examination.
The accused woman, however, insisted on telling a story which inevitably raised the question of her sanity. The assault, she declared, had been engineered by her husband. He had left lying on the gramophone lid a record, with instructions that she must not play it while alone because of its depressing psychological effects. He knew, therefore, that she would try playing it as soon as she had company, and he knew, too, that the first person to come in would be the deaf maid, Jane Cannot.
He took up his position with Hopkins outside the french window in order to witness the success of his diabolical plan. It was the music that had compelled her to do the stabbing, and her husband had purposely fallen against the gramophone and smashed the record in order to deny her the proof of her statement. No: his purpose was not to injure the housemaid, though such injury was necessary to his plan. His object was to get herself, his wife, convicted and sent to prison so that he might have Dulling Towers all to himself.
This preposterous explanation of her act led the jury to suggest, and the judge to order, a remand of two weeks in order to enable a professional examination of her mental condition. For this purpose she was removed to the St Dymphna's Home in Penchester, whither a very large number of reports concerning her past eccentricities were posted by shocked but mercifully inclined neighbours, including the Vicar of East Dulling.
The verdict of guilty but insane, found by the jury three weeks later, met with much approval. The feelings of all in East and West Dulling were expressed by the Vicar's wife when she remarked at the Mothers' League, of which Mrs Tullivant had been patroness, that the poor thing could never have done it if only she'd been like other people. To which the assembled mothers added, 'Ah yes, indeed, poor thing!
Only for Morcambe did the lady's removal to a place of detention for the criminal insane raise unpleasant interrogations of conscience. Should he have volunteered his testimony in regard to that gramophone record? Would he not thereby have raised questions as to his own mental stability? He would, under cross-examination, have had to admit to very nearly a year's residence in Trantonhall for shell-shock; and they had told him, what indeed he knew, that his case had at one stage presented apparently mental symptoms.
Then they would certainly unearth the tragedy of his uncle Edwin. Tullivant, of course, knew about all these things: and that was why, he now realised with shame and anger, Tullivant had chosen him to experiment upon that night! Moreover, from the standpoint of abstract Justice there is more perhaps to be said for locking up malignant eccentrics than unintentioned lunatics! But what a swine Peter has proved himself, he's worse than ever she can have been! Morcambe saw no reason to revise this opinion when in a sporting paper some weeks later he read that Mr Tullivant had obtained legal custody of his wife's estate and that frequent meets of the Haddenham Hunt were being held at Dulling Towers in response to his hospitable invitation.
He might at least have waited till the next season! Morcambe decided never to visit Dulling again. The last months of Tullivant's life were of almost unadulterated happiness. Not the least of his gratifications was to be addressed as 'squire', a misnomer which evidenced his growing popularity throughout the countryside. The fame of the Dulling shoots, hunt breakfasts and card parties had indeed spread far and wide, and Tullivant took good care that they should reach the ears of his compulsorily cloistered spouse.
His personal visits to her invariably so aggravated her condition that the asylum authorities had soon limited them to one a month. Affecting still to humour her former fancies, and thereby to improve the conditions of her incarceration, he informed the doctors of her aversion to all things beginning with B, H, M or S and thus induced them to omit from her dietary and recreational curriculum many of the items which she liked best. This part of his revenge he found particularly sweet. He also extracted a sacrilegious enjoyment from the public prayers for his wife's recovery which the Vicar periodically offered at his hypocritical behest.
With hands held over his eyes he would study through the chinks between his fingers the faces of choirboys and choirmen during such supplications. The lady had not been greatly missed, he inferred. The only hobby in which Tullivant no longer cared to indulge was that of playing the radiophone. This had nothing to do with any defect in his sense of hearing but rather with some deterioration in that of sight.
Whether he was developing colour blindness, or whether the illusion was due to some peculiarity in the room's illumination, he could never open a drawer of the record cabinet without seeming to find at its top a chocolate brown disc with an apple-green label. On each such occasion he found it necessary to steady his brain by repeating to himself the assurance that there had been only one such record and that he had most certainly smashed it to atoms.
Nevertheless the hallucination persisted, and so he had to give up the radiophone. The death of Tullivant in the fullness of his new and ill-found bliss cannot be better or more exactly told than in the words used by Mrs Hallowby at the inquest. The front door opens straight onto the pavement, my garden being at the back. Last Wednesday morning I was putting up flowers in the dining-room, and my son and daughter had just gone upstairs to the music room to practise the violin and piano together, when the front door bell rang. It was about eleven o'clock and my maid had gone down to the village shop.
So I answered the door myself and there found Mr Tullivant. He had walked over from the Towers by the footpath through Brereton's copse and had his black spaniel with him. He came in and I offered him a sherry after his walk but, as men often will, he preferred beer out of a pewter mug.
While he was drinking we talked about our gardens, and he drew from his pocket a packet of hollyhock seed which he had promised me. After ten minutes or so he said that he must be getting back and, as I let him out of the front door, he pointed to an oncoming lorry and said, 'They ought to limit the size of these juggernauts, you know. He had plenty of time to pass over and there was no need for the lorry-driver to slacken speed; but suddenly, right in the middle of the road he stopped dead with his head on one side as if listening to something.
Then he turned completely round and shook his fist at the open window of my music room on the second floor. It was a mad act, for the lorry was on top of him in an instant. There was a crunching and squealing of brakes and I hurriedly put my fingers into my ears to keep out another sound that I knew must come.
No; it was certainly not the driver's fault, and what suddenly possessed Mr Tullivant I cannot guess. This result is also in line with the finding of an enhanced startle eye blink response when infants listen to evolutionary fear-relevant sounds including snake hissing compared to modern threats or pleasant sounds Erlich et al.
It is notable, though, that there is little evidence for to month-old toddlers displaying fear to or spontaneously avoiding live snakes and spiders Lobue et al. Thus, there is currently limited evidence for an evolved full-fledged fear response as suggested by Poulton and Menzies , unless one assumes that by 18 months most infants have already habituated to snakes and spiders. Rather, most researchers seem to agree that early attention biases and arousal to ancestral threats predispose humans to develop specific fears of these stimuli given appropriate direct or vicarious learning opportunities Rachman, in the sense of an evolved probabilistic cognitive mechanism Bjorklund and Ellis, ; Bjorklund, Some limitations of the current study should be noted.
First, although the number of stimulus exemplars used in the current study 8 per category is consistent with or even higher than in previous behavioral research on the same topic Rakison, , categories should be represented more comprehensively in future studies.
Though stimuli were matched in a range of relevant low-level features, the spider and flower stimuli in particular were not perfectly matched in terms of features and complexity, as the use of ecological stimuli was of great importance to us in the current study. Future research may address this issue by using a set of stimuli based on schematic illustrations of spider-like vs. Furthermore, due to the relative novelty of using pupillary dilation in infancy research, it is difficult to interpret some of the characteristics of the response such as its latency.
We provide evidence that infants at 6 months of age respond with increased arousal, as indicated by pupillary dilation, to spiders and snakes compared with flowers and fish. We suggest that stimuli representing an ancestral threat to humans induce a stress response in young infants. These results speak to the existence of an evolved mechanism that prepares humans to acquire specific fears of ancestral threats.
SH and GG conceived of the experiments. KH and MJ performed the experiments and data analyses. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results. SH wrote an initial version of the manuscript; all authors provided comments and approved of the final version. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Axelsson, Australian National University, Australia. This article was submitted to Developmental Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Received Jul 24; Accepted Sep The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Attention biases have been reported for ancestral threats like spiders and snakes in infants, children, and adults. Keywords: infants, pupillary dilation, arousal, fear, evolution.
Introduction Although clinical fears of spiders and snakes have a prevalence rate of 1—5 percent Fredrikson et al. Study 1 We conducted two studies with 6-month-old infants measuring pupillary dilation using a Tobii T near infrared eye tracker. Material and Apparatus Two sets of items were used, one consisting of eight photographs each of spiders and flowers 16 total , and one consisting of eight photographs each of snakes and fish 16 total. Open in a separate window. Procedure Study 1 was conducted in two phases with a short break in between, to make sure that the infant was not fatigued.
Results Spiders vs. Error t -value p Intercept Error t -value p Intercept 0. Discussion Results of the spiders-flowers experiment were in line with our hypothesis of increased pupillary dilation for ancestral threats compared to non-threatening stimuli in infants. Study 2 In Study 2 pupillometric data from one group of participants viewing only snakes were compared with pupillometric data from another group viewing only fish.
Procedure Procedures were the same as in Study 1, with the exception that each infant only saw pictures from one stimulus category. Results Snake vs. However, Study 2 also specifically shows that pupil dilation is greater for snakes than fish Our results extend earlier findings of quicker visual detection of snakes compared to flowers in 8- to month-old infants LoBue and DeLoache, Conclusion We provide evidence that infants at 6 months of age respond with increased arousal, as indicated by pupillary dilation, to spiders and snakes compared with flowers and fish.
Conflict of Interest Statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Acknowledgments We are grateful to the infants and parents who participated. Footnotes 1 www. References Aktar E. Child Psychol. Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4.