After that I started Murder at the Vicarage which seemed to be about a woman struggling with repressed memories of a house she'd lived in as a child and where she'd witnessed a murder. It was brilliantly creepy as the woman began to wonder if she was going mad. When Miss Marple asked her who had been murdered, she replied reflexively... "Helen."
Since this is my name, I was agog!
Then there was a sudden blank page in the book and the second half of an entirely different story began. I half-wondered whether I was going mad too!
I had been reading the first half of Sleeping Murder inside the cover of Murder at the Vicarage - which meant that neither of them actually worked as a story!
I asked Waterstones for another copy, but they said they didn't have one. I even emailed HarperCollins and asked for another copy, but they didn't answer me. So I'll never know who the other Helen was - or why she was murdered!
When I was showing my mum the book containing two halves of two different stories, she remarked that the modern Agatha Christie covers were now far too stylish for her taste and we reminisced about the garishness and utter lack of subtlety of the seventies editions.
I had a look in the charity shop and unearthed some examples...
|Look - a dead bird! Who wouldn't be tempted to buy this?|
|This one is about a woman with a very seventies-style hand being strangled on a train. Can she reach the alarm in time? No, it doesn't look like she can.|