A Caribbean Mystery
MAJOR PALGRAVE TELLS A STORY
"TAKE all this business about Kenya," said Major Palgrave. "Lots
of chaps gabbing away who know nothing about the place! Now
Ispent fourteen years of my life there. Some of the best years
of my life, too."
Old Miss Marple inclined her head. It was a gentle gesture of
courtesy. Whilst Major Palgrave proceeded with the somewhat
uninteresting recollections of a lifetime, Miss Marple peacefully
pursued her own thoughts. It was a routine with which she was
well acquainted. The locale varied. In the past, it had been
predominantly India. Majors, Colonels, Lieutenant-Generalsand a
familiar series of words: Simla. Bearers. Tigers. Chota
HazriTiffin. Khitmagars, and so on. With Major Palgrave the
terms were slightly different. Safari. Kikuyu. Elephants. Swahili.
But the pattern was essentially the same. An elderly man who
needed a listener so that he could, in memory, relive days in which
he had been happy. Days when his back had been straight, his
eyesight keen, his hearing acute. Some of these talkers had been
handsome soldierly old boys, some again had been regrettably
unattractive, and Major Palgrave, purple of face, with a glass eye,
and the general appearance of a stuffed frog, belonged in the
Miss Marple had bestowed on all of them the same gentle charity.
She had sat attentively, inclining her head from time to time in
gentle agreement, thinking her own thoughts and enjoying what
there was to enjoy: in this case the deep blue of a Caribbean Sea.
So kind of dear Raymondshe was thinking gratefullyso really
and truly kind . . . Why he should take so much trouble about his
old aunt, she really did not know. Conscience, perhaps, family
feelings? Or possibly he was truly fond of her . . . She thought, on
the whole, that he was fond of herhe always had beenin a
slightly exasperated and contemptuous way! Always trying to
bring her up to date. Sending her books to read. Modern nove