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Hallowe’en party – Agatha Christie

HALLOWE’EN PARTY (1969)

Agatha Christie

To P.G. Wodehouse,

whose books and stories have brightened my life for many years. Also to show my pleasure in his having been kind enough to tell me that he enjoys my books.

Chapter 1

Mrs Ariadne Oliver had gone with the friend with whom she was staying, Judith Butler, to help with the preparations for a children’s party which was to take place that same evening.

At the moment it was a scene of chaotic activity. Energetic women came in and out of doors moving chairs, small tables, flower vases, and carrying large quantities of yellow pumpkins which they disposed strategically in selected spots.

It was to be a Hallowe’en party for invited guests of an age group between ten and seventeen years old.

Mrs Oliver, removing herself from the main group, leant against a vacant background of wall and held up a large yellow pumpkin, looking at it critically.

“The last time I saw one of these,” she said, sweeping back her grey hair from her prominent forehead, “was in the United States last year – hundreds of them. All over the house. I’ve never seen so many pumpkins. As a matter of fact,” she added thoughtfully, “I’ve never really known the difference between a pumpkin and a vegetable marrow. What’s this one?”

“Sorry, dear,” said Mrs Butler, as she fell over her friend’s feet. Mrs Oliver pressed herself closer against the wall.

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