–Read India Initiative—
This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.
By Agatha Christie
The play began as a short radio broadcast on 30th May 1947 called the ‘The Three Blind Mice’ in honour of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.
Further it was premiered in London on 25th November, 1952. Over the last sixty six years four hundred and fifty actors including some famous ones such as Sir Richard Attenborough, Stephanie Cole and Ray Cooney and some two hundred and sixty understudies have appeared in more than twenty seven thousand performances of this London production of whodunit. The play has also received three entries in the Guinness Book of World Records and has been presented in over 50 countries.
- Maureen Lyon—Person murdered
- Mollie and Giles Ralston—The owners of the guest house
- Christopher Wren, Mrs Boyle, Major Metcalf, Miss Casewell are the four guests. In fact they are the first lot of guests coming to stay in the guest house (name—Monkswell Manor) after its inauguration.
- Paravicini—the unexpected guest
- Hogbeen—Superintendent of the Berkshire Police station
Mollie and Giles Ralston are inaugurating their guesthouse—Monkswell Manor. Where their first guests have arrived. They are new in the business, and so, struggle with the intricacies. To make things worse there is an unusually heavy snowstorm. They hear on the radio that one Mrs. Maureen Lyon has been murdered in London. The suspect is wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat. Giles is wearing a similar outerwear, as are many of the guests.
After all the guests have settled in, Mollie receives a phone call from the police station. She is informed that one Sergeant Trotter will be coming to the Manor and everyone must fully cooperate with him with regard to the murder investigation. The Sergeant arrives on skis. He informs everyone that a notebook was found at the London crime scene, listing the address at which the murder occurred and also that of Monkswell Manor, implying that the guesthouse could be the site of a second murder.
Soon after his arrival, the phone lines go dead. Now all are stranded at the guesthouse in the snowstorm. Sergeant Trotter informs the group that the rhyme “Three Blind Mice” was written below the addresses, and a picture of three little mice and a bar of music were found on the dead woman’s body.
Further, the murdered woman was the wife of a farmer named Stanning. They resided in Longridge Farm, which is not far from the Monkswell Manor. The Stannings, allegedly neglected and abused the children who were in their care. Because of which one child even died; luckily his two siblings survived. The Stannings were sentenced to prison.
Mr. Stanning died in prison. But Mrs. Stanning served her time, and was released later. She subsequently changed her name to Maureen Lyon—the person who was murdered and was found dead in London. Sergeant Trotter theorizes that the killer is one of the children, most probably the boy since he later served in the army and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic.
The Sergeant informs the group that any of them could be the next victim. He interrogates them to see if they have any connection with the Stannings or the abused children. But all deny any connections. Mollie later points out, that Mrs. Doyle was the magistrate responsible for sending the three children to Longridge Farm. Later that night while the residents are settled throughout the manor, Mrs. Doyle is found strangled.
For the remaining period of the play, the residents of the Manor, including Mollie and Giles, suspect each other. Accusatory clues draw attention to characters acting suspiciously. Sergeant Trotter asks the residents to reconstruct Mrs. Boyle’s murder, acting out the actions of each guest while switching roles so as to test the accuracy of their memories. The Sergeant plays Mrs. Boyle.
When everyone is in position. He calls for Mollie to come into the parlor. It is then Trotter reveals that he is Georgie. The surviving boy who was abused by the Stannings. Further, he claims that Mollie was his teacher and that he had sent her a note asking for help which she ignored. Mollie confesses that she was his teacher, but was sick when the note was sent and did not receive it until after the children had left the Stanning’s care. She has lived with the guilt ever since.
Georgie attempts to strangle Mollie, but is thwarted by Miss Casewell and Major Metcalf. Miss Casewell confesses that she is Katherine, Georgie’s grown sister. She calmly coaxes Georgie upstairs and gives him a sedative to calm him until the police arrive.
Major Metcalf reveals that he is an undercover policeman who has played the role of a guest. He had suspected Trotter all along, but needed proof. The play ends with Mollie and Giles exchanging anniversary presents as the work of their guesthouse continues.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha
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