Death at the Opera: (Death in the Wet)
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Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is asked by the headmaster of a progressive private school to pose as a faculty member in order to determine if the death of an instructor was murder or suicide. First published in 1934 (it was titled Death in the Wet in the U.S.), Death at the Opera was filmed for Mystery with Diana Rigg as Mrs. Bradley. Readers need not worry, however, since the book and the television program bear little resemblance to each other, other than title, the name of one victim, a scene from The Mikado and, of course, the presence of Mrs. Bradley.
electricity this term.” “Oh, yes. Thank you, child. The Lower Fifth Scientific.” She began to walk along the cinder-track. It skirted the netball court and then wound serpent-wise round the school field. Its surface was trodden flat and hard, for it formed the school promenade except at the end of the spring term, when it was forked over by the groundsmen in preparation for Sports Day. “I say, Mrs. Bradley,” said Hurstwood, when they had almost circumnavigated the field, “are the police going
women-principals’ dressing-room myself, sat down and waited for the girl to find Miss Ferris. She couldn’t find her, so I went myself to search for her in case she had been taken ill in one of the classrooms or had locked herself in anywhere and could not get out. But there was no sign of her anywhere. Time was getting short, so I went into the hall and found Miss Camden—all the staff sat together at the right-hand side of the hall as you look at the stage, so it was easy enough to spot her—got
a weak spot, it is for the girls,” confessed Alceste. “But I can’t understand Moira. She was doing no work at all during the last part of the term. Just sat there staring into space. I used to get rather angry with her.” “She found Miss Ferris’s body,” Mrs. Bradley reminded her. Alceste nodded, and sat down. “Oh, yes, I know. And I make all due allowance for shock and so on. But a girl of that age shouldn’t brood like this. After all, she didn’t actually see her dead. She only just touched her.
that Donald would be blamed, not she.” “Don’t you see,” said Mrs. Bradley, “that that may have been the motive?” Alceste went white. “I hadn’t thought of that,” she said. “These poor, idiotic children! There’s that ridiculous boy Hurstwood making a fool of himself over Gretta Cliffordson, who isn’t worth a second thought by anybody. I see you’ve got him down.” “Motive and opportunity,” said Mrs. Bradley solemnly. “The same words, in all their sinister significance”—she cackled harshly—”apply
sake, that you did not, but if you have made up your mind, that settles it.” “Moira shall settle it,” said Alceste. To her surprise the girl, who was looking exceedingly ill, begged her to go and leave Mrs Bradley to conduct the interview. “So I’m right,” thought Mrs Bradley. Aloud she said: “Tell me everything about it, Moira.” The girl looked frightened. “Do you—know?” she asked. Mrs Bradley pursed up her thin lips into a little beak and shook her head. “I know, in one sense,” she said.