The Thirteen Problems 5


Mr Petherick, the solicitor, tells the story of Simon Clode.

His son died in the war and his daughter-in-law during labour. So he raised his granddaughter Christobel, who he adored, but the girl died of pneumonia. Then he opened his house to his nephew and nieces. It is then that Simon turned to spiritualism in his desire to contact Christobel. A woman, Mrs Eurydice Spragg, claimed to contact the girl, and Simon Clode was charmed by her and her husband. Mr Petherick didn’t like his friend’s obsession, and he even tries to see the truth, bringing a a real experet in the matter, but that doesn’t change Simon’s mind.

One night Simon feels sick and decides to change his will. He is to leave a decent amount to his nieces and nephew, but he wants to leave the rest to Mrs Pragg, and even though Mr Petherick tries to reason with him, he is adamant. So having his cook and a maid as witnesses, Mr Simon Code changes the will. Petherick puts the paper into a blue envelope which he puts in his coat’s pocket. Downstairs Simon’s niece takes the coat who hands to his sister. when Petherick retrieves the coat, he sees Mrs Pragg near it, but he thinks nothing of it. Then the following day he gets a visit from Mr Pragg to talk about Simon and his wife, during which he was left alone for a few moments.

Some months later Simon Clode dies and when Petherick retrieves the envelope with his will, he is shocked to find only a blank piece of paper inside. He doesn’t know what has happened. Clode’s nephew and niece had a real motive to get rid of the will, but Petherick doesn’t know how they could as he saw them when they were near his coat, and the Praggs clearly had the opportunity but they had no reason to destroy the will.

Miss Marple guesses that the solution was simple. The pen that was used for the will had some special ink that disappeared with time. Clode’s niece’s husband confessed that he had instructed the maid to take that pen if the old man decided to change his will.


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