The Thirteen Problems – Facts

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In the Tuesday Night Club, one of the key elements for the crime is hundreds and thousands found in the trifle. They are very small pieces of confectionery used as a decoration or to add texture to desserts such as cupcakes, doughnuts or ice cream. The tiny candies are produced in a variety of colours and are generally used as a topping or a decorative element. They are also called sprinkles or sugar strands.

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Mrs Jones’s companion says she is banting, which means she is on the Banting diet. William Banting (c. December 1796 – 16 March 1878) was a notable English undertaker. Formerly obese, he is also known for being the first to popularise a weight loss diet based on limiting the intake of carbohydrates, especially those of a starchy or sugary nature.

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In the Idol House of Astarte, we learn that Astarte was a Phoenician goddess. Astarte or Ashtoreth is the Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Ishtar, worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked. She has been known as the deified morning and/or evening star.

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In Ingots of Gold Raymond visits his friend on Whitsunday. Whitsun (also Whitsunday, Whit Sunday or Whit) is the name used in Britain and Ireland, and among Anglicans throughout the world, for the Christian festival of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples.

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In The Thumb of St Peter we learn that Pilocarpine was the antidote the murdered man wanted. Pilocarpine is a medication used to treat increased pressure inside the eye and dry mouth.

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The man was killed as he had been poisoned with atropine. Atropine is a medication used to treat certain types of nerve agent and pesticide poisonings, some types of slow heart rate, and to decrease saliva production during surgery. In overdoses, atropine is poisonous.

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In the Blue Geranium the flowers on the wallpaper change colour because they are painted in litmus paper. Litmus is a water soluble mixture of different dyes extracted from lichens. It is often absorbed onto filter paper to produce one of the oldest forms of pH indicator, used to test materials for acidity. Blue litmus paper turns red under acidic conditions and red litmus paper turns blue under basic or alkaline conditions.

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In The Four Suspects, Dr Rosen is afraid to be killed by the Black Hand (The Schwartze Hand). Unification or Death, popularly known as the Black Hand, was a secret military society formed on 9 May 1911 by officers in the Army of the Kingdom of Serbia, originating in the conspiracy group that assassinated the Serbian royal couple (1903), led by captain Dragutin Dimitrijević “Apis”. Through its connections to the June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which was committed by the members of youth movement Young Bosnia, the Black Hand is often viewed as having contributed to the start of World War I by precipitating the July Crisis of 1914, which eventually led to Austria-Hungary’s invasion of the Kingdom of Serbia.

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In A Christmas Tragedy Miss Marple is staying at a hydro. A hydro is a hotel or clinic originally providing hydropathic treatment.

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In the Herb of Death the guests are poisoned with foxglove. Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials commonly called foxgloves. Digitalis toxicity  results from an overdose of digitalis and causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as sometimes resulting in xanthopsia (jaundiced or yellow vision) and the appearance of blurred outlines (halos), drooling, abnormal heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, weakness, collapse, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, and even death.

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The problem was that they confused foxglove with sage. Salvia officinalis (sage, also called garden sage, common sage, or culinary sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family.

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