Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd – What About Flora?

Flora Ackroyd, the 20-ish niece of Roger Ackroyd, is in a terrible fix. Her uncle is a self-made man, and he has invited the penniless Flora and her mother (his sister) to live with him. They have their room and board, and a very small allowance – Roger, though generous with his houseroom, is mean with money.

Flora, who is now upper-middle-class by association, has nothing to do but hope to attract a reasonably well-off man. If her husband can't "keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed", she'd be letting her family down. Having clawed their way up, they don't want to be seen to slide down the class scale.

But Flora has a problem. Her allowance does not cover the clothes she needs to attract rich suitors. So she turns to crime, confusing the evidence about the murder and making herself miserable. She likes a houseguest, Major Blunt, but he is a principled man who won't want to marry a petty thief. (See The Mystery of the Blue Train and The Moving Finger for the transformative effect of expensive clothes.)

I have always wondered why she doesn't just get a job. However, she isn't qualified for anything. The only roles available to her would be – as Christie explains in other books – companion or governess. But both would take her away from home and she'd be unlikely to meet any rich men. She could, like another character in the book, go downmarket as a parlourmaid or Woolworth's shop girl. But she'd be recognised by family friends. She can't even learn to type at home – that's not something you can keep secret. Plus, jobs as a shopgirl or typist wouldn't earn her enough.

When Agatha Christie went round the world with her husband and an official boosting the British Empire exhibition, she was so seasick that she threatened to get off the boat at Madeira and get a job as a parlourmaid. She thought she'd be quite good in the role. Was this the ultimate plan behind her disappearance

To find out what happens to Flora, read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

More about Christie here, and links to the rest.
That's Flora Montgomery above in the 2000 dramatisation.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Corny Old Jokes Plus

I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde!
 (Dolly Parton)

A woman has a better chance of snaring a man if she keeps her trap shut.

One of the happiest days of my life was when I walked down the aisle. And saw that Waitrose had a 3 for 2 offer on Pickled Onion Monster Munch. (Leslie Costar)

You scheming, devious megalomaniac!
That's Mr Megalomaniac to you! 

(Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures)

The past is rewritten so quickly, you don't know what's going to happen yesterday. (Soviet joke)

Tallinn, Estonia, mid 1970s, a haberdashery. 
Do you have zippers?
Where is the nearest store that carries zippers?

(Helsinki is in Finland.)

A Polish guy goes to the optometrist to have his eyesight tested. The doctor shows him a card: “Can you read this?” The guy: “Read it? I went to school with him!”

I was born in Austria-Hungary. I went to school in Czechoslovakia. My first job was in Hungary. I married my wife in the USSR. I get my pension in Ukraine. But I never left the city I was born in.

Is that a Junya Watanabe she's got on?
Then I'm wearing mine upside down!

(Hale and Pace, The Management. Watanabe made origami-like dresses in the 80s.)

I need some new shoes - some that'll take me up to Bob’s shoulder but not over Bill’s head. 

I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty. (Groucho Marx)

What do you know about atoms?
Very little.
Besides that.


Matthew Sweet: Don’t know whether the Romans would agree.

Two women by a washing line. One says to the other: “It dries the washing using the very latest technology – a combination of solar and wind power.”

Good Consternoon Afterble. What makes you drink I’m thunk? I am not under the affluence of incahol.

Your teeth are like stars! They come out at night.

You remind me of the sea.
Majestic and awe-inspiring?
No, you make me sick.

More here, and links to the rest.