Spotted Hemlock

Gladys Mitchell

Bradley 31


A 3S digital back-up edition 1.0

click for scan notes and proofing history


chapter one: rhubarb

chapter two: phantom horseman

chapter three: posted as missing

chapter four: echoes of highpepper

chapter five: the corpse speaks in riddles

chapter six: case history

chapter seven: machinations of a paternal aunt

chapter eight: a lamb to the slaughter

chapter nine: discrepancies

chapter ten: phantom holiday

chapter eleven: identification of a lady-killer

chapter twelve: see naples and die

chapter thirteen: nobody asked for bloodhounds

chapter fourteen: the counterfeit patient

chapter fifteen: piggy comes cleanish

chapter sixteen: a confusion of students

chapter seventeen: the gentlemen raise their voices

chapter eighteen: squeak, piggy, squeak

chapter nineteen: the grey mare’s ghost

chapter twenty: painter’s colic

To Patricia and Joe Rowland with love

St. Martin’s Press New York

spotted hemlock. Copyright © 1958 by Gladys Mitchell. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Mitchell, Gladys, 1901-1983 Spotted hemlock.

I. Title.

PR6025.I832S6 1985 823'.9I2 85-12513

ISBN 0-312-75350-0

First published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph Ltd.

First U.S. Edition

10 987654321


chapter one


‘Nothing has ever moved me more than the sight of this splendid vegetation.’

The Swiss Family Robinson

^ »

Rhubarb?’ repeated Lord Robert. ‘I hardly think so. I could enquire, of course.’

The occasion was the summer dance given by the students of Highpepper Hall, a place recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as an approved institution for the training of gentlemen-farmers. Lord Robert, the younger son of a duke, whose inheritance consisted largely of piggeries and tillage, was in residence at the Hall for thirty weeks of the year, and spent most of this time as a gentleman and what he could spare of it as a farmer.

Noblesse oblige, plus a three-line whip from his Common Room chairman, had been instrumental in bringing him on to the dance-floor to do his part in entertaining a bevy of somewhat beefy beauty from Calladale, an agricultural institution for women, situated in a pastoral countryside some twenty-five miles from Highpepper. The no-man’s-land between the two colleges had seemed sufficiently wide to discourage private and unnecessary fraternisation between the men and the girls. It proved, however, that the majority of the gentlemen- farmers possessed cars, and it was a sobering thought that the dances given alternately by the two colleges marked an unavailing attempt on the part of the authorities to sublimate conditions against which all disciplinary

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