Finessing the King

Finessing the King | The Gentleman dressed in Newspaper | Partners in Crime | A Tommy & Tuppence Mystery | Agatha Christie

Finessing the King

Tuppence wants to go dancing- While reading Daily Leader newspaper, Tuppence decides, she wants to go dancing. Tommy tries to distract her attention by pointing to how dots in the masthead of the newspaper represents the different days on which the paper is produced.

Advertisement – Tuppence spots an ad in the personal column reading ” “I should go three hearts. 12 tricks. Ace of Spades. Necessary to finesse the King.” She deduces that it refers to the Three arts ball the following evening – “12 tricks refer to 12 o’ clock midnight , and “Ace of Spades” refer to  a somewhat decadent nightclub-cum-eating place in Chelsea where it is fashionable to go to after events like the Three Arts Ball. Curious about the phrase “Finesse the King”, they feel that they must hone their detective skills and decide to go to the ball in costume to investigate, and there act as detectives Tommy McCarty and Dennis Riordan.

The Gentleman dressed in newspaper

At Ace of Spades, private booth – At Ace of Spades, Tommy and Tuppence sit in a private booth and peer through the door at the various other costumes and masked patrons. The booth next door is soon taken by a woman dressed as Alice’s Queen of Hearts and a gentleman dresses in newspaper. Soon they hear the cry of woman followed by the laughter of the man, and see him leaving. When they check, they find the woman stabbed through the heart. She wispers “Bindo did it”, and dies.

The suspect and the husband

The next morning Inspector Marriot visits the Beresfords along with Sir Arthur Merivale, the husband of woman who died at Ace of Spades. Vere Merivale is the name of the dead woman. Arthur informs them that his dear friend Captain Hale is known to all his friends as Bingo, and feels that they made a mistake in interpreting the name Vere uttered. Further facts are revealed during their conversation – Affair between Vere and Hale, Arthur finding it difficult to believe Hale did it, Hale paying attention to another wealthy American lady where Vere posed a threat.

Marriot’s views – Marriot expressed his views on the case. According to him, Hale inserted the advertisement in the Newspaper to catch Vere’s eyes. They arranged to meet there. Since Arthur made up his mind to goto the same place, it was necessary to warn her. This was motive of the phrase ” Necessary to finesse the King”. Hale went as the gentleman dressed in newspaper. There was evidence of fragment of newspaper found with Vere’s body and costume of Hale. If the fragment fits the costume, the case wd be over.

Dots in the masthead

Marriot not satisfied with the conclusion – The same evening, Marriot arrives to meet Tommy and Tuppence to share with them the latest developments in the case. He tells them that the dagger belonged to Merivale. The idea was to give the murder an appearance of suicide, which evidently failed. Also many letters were recovered confirming an affair between captain Hale and Merivale. The biggest evidence the fragment of newspaper recovered from Merivale, fitted the gap in Hale’s dress perfectly, thus removing any doubt. He shares with them the photo of two exhibits, missing fragment and Hale’s costume.

Dots in the masthead do not match – Tuppence tells Tommy that Marriot is not satisfied with the conclusion of the case. He is not convinced of the complicity of Hale, but the evidence suggests otherwise. According to Hale’s statement, somebody shoved a note in this hand which said “Don’t try and speak to me tonight, Arthur suspects”. Thus he did not go to Ace of Spades. But he could not produce the note, so no evidence to prove it. She then scrutinizes the two photos, and is convinced of Captain Hale’s innocence.

Confront arthur with evidence – Tuppence, armed with the new evidence, decides to confront Arthur. Tuppence tells Arthur that she got hold of a new evidence which will clear Hale of all complicity. She concocts a story that some other girl has testified that she was dancing with Captain Hale when the murder was committed. To this Arthur suggested that Vere might have killed herself. Tuppence rubbished this theory by asserting the presence of a second man dressed in newspaper.

Tuppence asks Arthur about the constume he donned. Arthur tells her he was present as an executioner. Considering this, Tuppence straightforwardly puts her theory – A note was slipped into Captain Hale’s hands asking him not to meet Merivale. Arthur went to Ace of Spades dressed in newspaper. Mistool Arthur as Hale, Merivale went to the booth with him. Inside the booth he kissed her, and put the dagger inside her through her heart. He covered her faint cry with his laugh. Still not aware of the identity, Merivale thought her lover Hale is the man who killed her. The murderer noticed that Merivale had torn a fragment from his costume. To frame Captain Hale, he made an exact duplicate of the tear in Hale’s costume, an easy task considering they both lived in the same house. After planting the evidence, he began his role of playing a loyal friend.

Marriot listens– Marriot, hiding in the flat, listens to all the conversation.

Arthur dies – Tuppence reveals to Sir Arthur that he is currently in the office of International Detective Agency. Realising that it was all a trap by Marriot and there is not way out, Arthur vaults out of the window and falls to his death.

Motive was money – To a visibly upset Tuppence and Tommy, Marriot clarifies that Lady Merivale had all the money which all went to Arthur in the event of her death.If she had bolted with Captain Hale, he’d lose all of it. The only option available to get her wealth was her death before they part ways.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *