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A pocket full of rye

Agatha christie

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A pocket full of rye

Agatha Christie

Book was published on 9 November 1953 as 7th part of famous Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series. Genre of this book is detective fiction/crime novel. The story takes place in United Kingdom, vilage named St. Mary mead (and probably in 20th Century).

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First edition of the book in UK

Like several of Christie's novels (e.g., Hickory Dickory Dock, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe) the title and substantial parts of the plot reference a nursery rhyme, in this case Sing a Song of Sixpence.The rhyme:Sing a song of sixpence,A pocket full of rye.Four and twenty blackbirds,Baked in a pie.When the pie was opened,The birds began to sing;Wasn't that a dainty dish,To set before the king?The king was in his counting house,Counting out his money;The queen was in the parlour,Eating bread and honey.The maid was in the garden,Hanging out the clothes;When down came a blackbirdAnd pecked off her nose.

"The Queen Of Mystery"Agatha Christie, in full Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, née Miller, (born September 15, 1890, Torquay, Devon, England—died January 12, 1976, Wallingford, Oxfordshire).She was an English detective novelist and playwright. She wrote some 75 novels, including 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. Christie is perhaps the world’s most famous mystery writer and is one of the best-selling novelists of all time. Her works are reportedly outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. She died on January 12, 1976.



Miss Marple is an elderly lady. She has sharp and brilliant mind for solving cases.No crime can arise without reminding Miss Marple of some parallel incident in the history of her time.


Old, grumpy buisnessman. He was very wealthy but cruel. He had affair (after two marriages) with his secretary, Miss Irene Grosvenor. The book leads us through his murder. He was poisoned.


He's the leader of investigation. He's quick thinking. He has assitant named who found really important clue-jar of marmelade.



Youngest son of Rex F., he was called 'black sheep' in the family. He was very handsome and attractive to women. He wasn't considered as a suspect. is his wife.




Rex Fortescue's second and present wife. According to , a house keeper, she married him just beacuse of money. At the end of the novel, she was poisoned with cyanide, which , one of the maids, put in her tea.



List of the characters:

The Fortescue family and household:

Rex Fortescue, Elvira Fortescue - Rex's late first wife, Percival Fortescue: first son of Rex, Jennifer Fortescue - wife of Percival, Lancelot Fortescue - second son of Rex, Pat Fortescue - Lance's wife, Elaine Fortescue - Rex's youngest child, Miss Ramsbottom, Adele Fortescue- Rex's present wife, Mary Dove – housekeeper, Mrs Crump – cook, Mr Crump – butler, Gladys Martin - Parlour maid, Ellen Curtis - housemaid

The Investigators:

Miss Marple, Inspector Neele, Sergeant Hay, Detective Constable Waite


Gerald Wright, Albert Evans, Helen MacKenzie,


When old London buisnessman Rex Fortescue, dies after drinking his morning tea, Inspector Neele starts investigation. The diagnosis say that taxine (poison) in Fortescue's morning tea killed him. Taxine comes from yew, but nobody know how it came into his tea. After few days, Fortescue's wife, who also was main suspect, die after drinking tea which was poisoned with cyanide. Going on the only clue, a pocket full of rye found on the victim, Miss Marple begins investigating. Marple realizes the murders are arranged according to the pattern of a childhood nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence. Elen, house maid, found Gladys' (also house maid, she was romantic and gullible) stangled with a stocking, and with peg on her nose. While all these murders were happening, Lancelot, Rex Fortescue's youngest son, was in Kenya, when he suddenly arrives with his new wife, Pat. The older son, Percival, admits that his father was too old for this job and that he was complitly ruining the business. Miss Marple discovers that the use of the rhyme in the crimes was to point the finger at an old dealing of the Blackbird Mine, in which old Fortescue was suspected of having killed his partner, MacKenzie, and swindled the mine from his partner's family. The mine is in Kenya. Miss Marple and Incpector Neele thought of Jennifer Fortescue, Percival's wife to be suspect. She does indeed admit, she also took responsibility for placing dead blackbirds near Rex to remind him of his past crimes. Lancelot was murderer. He found that the Blackbird mine was valuable, so he wanted it. He met and romanced Gladys and he persuaded her to poison his stepmother.


chapter 11, P36

'The whole thing seems so strange. Like a detective story,' Lance said.

chapter 10, P33

Miss Marple leaned forward in her chair. 'He's always been bad, completely bad, although he's also always been attractive. Especially attractive to women. And because of his charm, people have always believed the best about him.

They are all really horrible. The late Mr Fortescue was the type of businessman who is always careful to work just on the right side of the law. He was rude and a bully.

chapter 4, P12

Tears rose in Miss Marple's eyes. But following her sadness for poor Gladys, there came anger - anger against a cold-blooded killer. And then there came a huge feeling of triumph - there was no escape now for Lance Fortescue!

chapter 27, P103

'Oh, I've had some very good times, too. I had a lovely childhood in Ireland, riding horses, swimming in the sea when the weather was good... It was afterwards - when I grew up - that things seemed always to go wrong.

chapter 21, P76


I like this joke, because story was really complicated and sometimes hard to follow.

This helps me understand how Lance could romantized Gladys and how could he control with people in general.

This quote shows that truth really ALWAYS come out.

I feel that Mary Dove was the only person with "eyes opened". She saw the whole Fortescue's background. She was objective and on one hand, cold about this murder story.

This reminds me of some real quotes which shows that in childhood things seems different, everything seems so nice and greta. But on the oher hand, when you grew up ypu see world "with opened eyes". This quote from book also reminds me of one of the Robert Frost's poems, "Nothing gold can stay".


link of Canva poster


What genre is this book?What is the reason for investigation?What's the name of main detective?How would you describe Rex Fortescue?How many time has Rex married?How many children does Rex have?What's the name of his youngest son?Why Lancelot Fortescue is "black sheep" in family?Where were Lancelot while his father was murdered?What is in Kenya?What's the name of Inspector Neele's assistant?What was Jennifer placing near Rex Fortescue?What was found in R. Fortescue's pocket?Rex was posioned with taxine. True or false?From which plant does come cyanide?__________ was poisoned with cyanide.Miss Marple was named like that because Agatha Christie saw that sign on: a)bus station b) airport c) railway stationLancelot Fortescue's wife name is: a)Pat b) Mat c) BethRex Fortescue was famous buisnessman in: a) London b) Leeds c) ManchesterWhat's the name of the song which is mentioned in book?What's the name of Rex Fortescue's lover?"They are all really horrible." said ___________. a) Elen Curtis b)Mary Dove c) Gladys MartinWho poisoned Adele Fortescue?Why did she do that?Who was Rex Fortescue's murderer?

detective/crime novel murder of Rex Fortescue Incpector Neele old, cruel, wealthy two times three Lancelot Fortescue because he was travelling and thinking just about himself in KenyaBlackbird Mine Sergeant Hay dead blackbirds rye true yew tree c) railway station a) Pat a) London Sing a song of sixpence Miss Irene Grosvenor Mary Dove Gladys Martinbecause Lancelot forced her to do it his youngest son, Lancelot Fortescue



My thoughts about this book

If I had to rate this book, I would give it 3,5 out of 5. It's good book, like all Agatha Christie's. But it's really "crowded", it has too many characters which are not really important. But on the other hand, all of these "not important" names make story more complex. I would also mention that till the end, I couldn't really know who was Rex Fortescue's murderer, which makes good very mysterious and intriguing. But, at the end I would definitely recomend it. And also, I suggest you to read it in concetration, because you will get lost in it...

The End...

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