At Bertram’s Hotel 4 – The End (Pages 230 – end)

At-Betrams-Hotel-v2

RATING: GOOD

SPOILERS!!!

This is not the best Agatha Christie mystery, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Miss Marple returns to Bertram’s Hotel at the request of Inspector Davy. Canon Pennyfather also arrives at the hotel. Inspector Davy asks the two of them to take part in a little experiment, and Miss Marple has to do the same as she did when she saw the canon leave the hotel that night. So when she does so, on opening the door she realises that it wasn’t the canon who she saw. The man who she spotted had another gait and his shoulders hunched in a different way. So it wasn’t Canon Pennyfather.

Davy then asks Miss Marple to accompany him to see Bess Sedgwick in her room. Inspector Davy explains that the hotel is a front for a criminal syndicate, and as a matter of fact, the hotel is the headquarters. Davy says that many of the guests staying there were impersonating real people like the Cabots, an American couple, who have been arrested in Calais as they tried to smuggled the money from the train robbery. The same happened with Judge Ludgrove. The plan went wrong with Canon Pennyfather, who returned to the hotel and found his doppelganger. Then he was hit in the head and taken to the farm where he woke up. It was fortunate that the man didn’t remember a thing. Then it comes the big revelation. Bess Sedgwick is the ringleader of the criminal organisation.

Apart from that, Davy also explains why Micky Gorman was killed. Actually, Miss Marple overheard a conversation between Bess and Micky Gorman in which they mentioned that they married many years ago, but Bess never divorced, and that means she committed bigamy with the men that she next married. The only one she ever told about the marriage was Johnny Sedgwick, the only man she ever loved, but he never cared. Miss Marple overheard the conversation because neither Bess nor Micky Gorman were aware that they weren’t alone as the chairs in the parlour were high-backed, so they hid the occupants. What Bess also learns is that her daughter, Elvira, was also there. That is why she went to Ireland because she wanted to find out the truth. When she got confirmation, she got scared because she thought that if her mother’s marriage to her father was not valid, she could be illegitimate and might not have right to her inheritance, which she needed to secure Ladislaus’s love.

After these revelations, Bess admits to being the leader in the gang, and she also says that she killed Micky Gorman. Suddenly, she smashes the window with a telephone, jumps out of the window, and manages to reach the street. Yet, as she tries to flee in her car, she crashes and dies. From the hotel room Davy and Miss Marple witness everything: the chase and the subsequent crash. When they talk, Miss Marple says that she didn’t believe what Bess said, and Davy didn’t believe her either. Both of them know that she was covering for her daughter. It was Elvira, who killed Micky Gorman, because she was afraid that Micky would mean she would lose her fortune and Ladislaus. So using the cover of the fog that night, she shot once and screamed, and when Micky run to help her, she shot him instead.

Now when Elvira appears, Davy says that her mother is dead and has confessed to killing Micky Gorman. When she is asked if she has something to add, she shakes her head and returns to her room. When Miss Marple and Davy are left alone, the inspector says that her youth and the lack of evidence may help her get away with her crime, but he is going to do his utmost to bring her to justice. That is the point where the novel finishes, but it is clear that the policeman won’t be corrupted by her youth or beauty, and he is a just man who will try to deliver justice.

I liked the book, but it is not the most interesting mystery in Agatha Christie’s bibliography. The murder happened too late in the story, and it wasn’t too intriguing.

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