The Man in the Mist

The Man in the Mist | Partners in Crime | A Tommy & Tuppence Mystery | Agatha Christie

Meeting Gilda Glen

Tommy in the disguise of a Roman Catholic priest and Tuppence, fresh from a failure in their previous venture, solace themselves at the Adlington Hotel. They are surprised by the arrival of Tommy’s friend Marvyn Estcourt, also called Bulger by friends. Marvyn introduces them to a well known actress Miss Gilda Glen, reported to be the most beautiful and, by some, most stupidest woman in England. Gilda Glen wondered

After some trivial conversation among four people, Tommy asks Bulger about the direction to the station. The route suggested by Bulger includes Morgan’s Avenue. That shocks Glida Glen. Explaining Gilda’s reaction, Bulger explains to Beresfords that Morgan’s avenue is bounded by the cemetery on one side, and there are rumors of ghost of a policeman who died at the location haunting that place. Gilda soon departs visiblt keen to know Tommy’s view on ghosts. At the door she encounters her rumored love Lord Leconbury.

Invitation to White House

Bulger tells them how past and family history of Gilda Glen is unknown., and that she snubbed him earlier for asking where she was staying. After sometime, Bulgers also exits. Soon after Bulger’s departure, Tommy receives note left by Gilda Glen for him. The note reads:

I’m not sure, but I think you might be able to help me.

And you’ll be going that way to the station. Could you be at the White House, Morgan’s Avenue., at ten minutes past six?

Yours sincerely,

Gilda Glen.

Tommy is surprised by the appearance of a young man with flaming red hair and shabby clothes. After blabbering random things about women, he introduces himself to Tommy as James Reilly. He tells Tommy that once Gilda Glen used to care for him and appeared visibly upset by Gilda’s love affair with Leconbury.

After the exit of James Reilly, they also leave the hotel for station. Following the direction given by Estcourt, they reach a turn labelled Morgan’s Avenue with high walls of cemetery on their left, a row of small houses on right, and blinding mist all around.

Morgan’s Avenue – The Policeman

Moving ahead, they hear different spooky noises, dismissing few as illusion and considering others as possibly coming from people also on their way to station. Soon a big blue policeman, not a ghost, appears from the mist cloud. As mist rolls back, a scarlet pillar box and a white house appear on the right side appear. As they start forward, James Reilly comes from behind and rushes into the White House. Policeman tells them that the house belongs to Mrs. Honeycott. On further inquiry, Policeman tells them that a young lady entered the White House few minutes back.


Soon they hear a faint muffled cry from inside the house. Immediately afterwards, the front door opens and James Reilly rushes down the steps, staggering like a drunken man. He passes Beresfords, completely ignoring them. He clutches the gatepost to steady himself and soon exits the scene in the direction opposite to the policeman.

From the red colour imprint left at the gatepost by Reilly, Tuppence deduces that Reilly might have put his hands on some wet paint. Smelling something fishy, Tommy decides to go inside the house and check. At the door they find the maid Ellen who mistakes Tommy as priest. They enter the house and meet the owner Mrs Honeycott who also interprets Tommy as priest. Honeycott reveals that Gilda Glen is her sister. Gilda wanted Honeycott to see her husband James Reilly, and persuade him to agree for divorce. In Honeycott’s view, divorce is sinful and she expects Tommy(which she thinks is a priest called by her) to go and talk to Gilda about what in her view is rightful.

Honeycott reveals that Gilda ran away and married at seventeen. Later she left her husband and became an actress. Now she wants to divorce her husband to marry some big wig, but her husband is stubborn in not divorcing her. Honeycott fails to remember the husband’s name since the marriage happened twenty years back and her father forbade it to be mentioned.

Deducing trouble for Gilda from the facts pured by Honeycott, all three reach upstairs to find Gilda dead. The deadly wound was on side of the head caused by a heavy blow with some blunt instrument.

Tommy convinced of James Reilly being the murderer, begins to collect facts. He asks Honeycott about the exact time when his sister arrived. The time confirmed by her matches with the time policeman in the mist saw her entering the White House. Since no one apart from Reilly exited the house, the only scenario of Reilly being innocent is the real murderer hiding upstairs. Tommy goes upstairs and ensures no one is concealed there

.Tommy continues the inquiry with maid Ellen. She confirms that no one apart from Reilly visited to meet Gilde Glen. The policeman(in the mist) called by Tuppence, visits the scene of crime to survey the scene, and makes notes while inquiring the people present in the house. Tommy confirms with the policeman that Gilde Glen entered the house alone, and no one left the house afterwards except Reilly.

The real murderer

Reilly is apprehended. His solicitor meets Tommy to discuss the crime.

The times of entry and exit, were mere interpretations of Ellen and Honeycott based on sounds of door and stepping on the stairs. As time passed, those interpretations became truth for them without their knowledge. Thus their account of who entered the house and the timings were not reliable.

Tommy recreated the scene, and joined dots to figure out the murderer and the weapon he used.

The shriek they interpreted as Gilda’s actually came from Reilly when on reaching the room, he found her dead body. Trying to help her, he must have got her blood on his hand thus explaining the imprint he left on gatepost.

The policeman in the mist was Gilda’s husband. She took him to her room. Probably a quarrel ensued when he delivered the deadly blow using his truncheon. they met him when after committing the murder, he was stepping out of the gate.

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