Monica Deane Backstory
Monica Deane arrives at Blunt’s agency to solve a case regarding strange occurences in her property. She tells them that post the death of her father they were miserably impoverished. Her mother is an invalid. Their miserable life took turn for the better when her father’s wealthy aunt died, and she inherited her property. Soon she learned that only aunt’s house was available, rest all was lost for reasons not mentioned. She rejected the offers to sell the house, and offered room to paying guests to cover their expenses.
It all went well for some time, aunt’s old servant remained with them and assisted in chores. Then unaccountable queer things began to happen like pictures falling down, crockery flowing across room and breaking, furniture moving around during their absence, things crashing while everyone dining, hinting at Poltergeist.
This frightened the paying guests and they left, thus curtailing their main income source. Their other source of income, an investment in some company also failed, making them impoverished again.
Three days back, Dr O’Neill offered to buy their house. He introduced himself as a mmber of the society for Psychical Research. He heard about the strange events occuring in their house and wanted to buy it to carry out experiments. Monica tells Tommmy-Tuppence that she suspects that Dr O’ Neill, pretending to be an old man around fifty, is the same young man who offered to buy the home earlier, and their might be some foul play involved. Both man had a gold tooth at same side of mouth, and peculiar ears.
The name of the servant is Crockett, an elderly woman who was with her aunt for eight to ten years. She also has a nephew.
Two marriage proposals
Tommy introduced Tuppence as Miss Sheringham. Tuppence extracted other information from Monica Deane. She told her about the proposal from two men who want to marry her- One rich one poor and she liked the poor. Marrying the rich Mr. Partridge would erase all her financial troubles, but she loved the poor. So the paying guests business getting going is of utmost importance for that to happen, for her to marry her love Gerald. Tuppence gets her address, and visit the red house with Tommy.
Theories by Tommy and Tuppence
Theory 1 – Mother is the culprit – Tommy dismisses the idea of Poltergeist and explores the possibility of pretending to be invalid mother playing the Poltergeist trick to persuade the girl to sell the house. Since the invalid mother must be in her room upstairs when everyone was at dinner, she would be in a position to throw and crash the furniture around, and evade suspicion.
Finding no reason for suspecting the mother to be a sham invalid, just for the sake of principle of suspecting the least likely person, they dismiss the theory.
Theory 2 – Something hidden which makes buying the house necessary – Tommy deduces that there is something queer in the house which is difficult to obtain. Thus buying the house is necessary. Tommy visits the local Bank manager for inquiries. Tommy with his deft, managed to make the bank the manager reveal that owner of Red House drew out every penny of money she had, in Gold, and other assets. Tommy deduces that she must have hidden the assets somewhere in the Red House. By logical conclusion, they arrived at Crockett to be the mastermind of the conspiracy, and Dr O’Neill to be her nephew.
Putting the facts together, they deduced that Crockett and her nephew do not know the exact place where aunt’s assets are hidden. So they desire ownership of the house to find it by whatever means. Assets can’t be hidden in movable objects, most likely it must be buried somewhere in the property.
Tommy and Tuppence arrive at The Red House
Monica Deanes receive Tommy and Tuppence at Red House and introduce them as would-be purchasers of the property. They inquire about the papers left by the aunt and get to know about a desk full of them and some kept in the drawer. Tommy meets the Gardener who also worked during aunts time. Tommy finds that the gardener does not have knowledge of any box buried in the garden. Before they leave, Monica puts all the papers left by the aunt in a big card board box and hand it to them for their investigation. The Poltergeist trick is again played, but Tommy-Tuppence did not pay much attention. Beresfords offer hundred more than the money offered by the previous potential buyer. The Poltergeist trick combined with Crockett being out of breath when Tommy met her afterwards, further pointed to Crockett and her nephew’s involvement.
From the hints given in papers, they decoded that POTATOES are put into tins and buried in the garden. The following evening, Tuppence inquires the gardener on where he buried the potatoes. He tells them that three tins are buried against the wall by the fir tree. After finding only potatoes in the first two tins, they finally discovered the treasure in the third thus solving the mystery.