Miss Marple adjusted the truss and made her way into the dining hall. The people she had invited to dinner were seated by the butler in advance of her arrival, a little ruse Marple used to relax her guests and give them a false sense of security. It never failed she had nailed many a criminal in this fashion. Give them a hearty meal, a few drinks, and the barrier comes down.
Lord Butty and Dr Weedall stood as Miss Marple entered the room they waited until she was seated before resuming their places at the table. Lady Butty and Mrs Weedall nodded politely. Ernie Marple wiped his nose on a napkin then took a gulp of his brown ale.
"Evening Maude" said Ernie
"Oh, I thought you were at darts this evening" remarked Miss Marple.
"I was, but Sid got the trots and it was cancelled" replied Ernie.
"Are you sure there is nowhere else for you to go?" asked Marple.
"Na, thought I would stay in and watch Colombo" answered Ernie.
"I am in the middle of something Ernie" said Marple.
"Don't be daft love, the butler hasn't served starters yet" replied Ernie.
"It's one of my special evenings Ernest dear" stressed Miss Marple.
"Here we go again, how many times Maude, have I told you about poking your hooter into other people's business? One day someone is going to serve you up good and proper, it's about time you knocked this on the head and went back to the W.I." said Ernie.
"Hahaha, you are such a dear when you have had a few" laughed Marple.
"I've only had half a pint love, have you been at the cooking sherry?" enquired Ernie.
"Would you like us to retire and come back another day?" asked Lord Butty.
"No, please be seated, my husband will be leaving shortly" answered Marple
"What! And miss me beef and horseradish! Never!" shouted Ernie.
"Well can you at least be quiet" pleaded Miss Marple.
"I won't say a word Maude, you carry on love" replied Ernie.
Miss Marple returned to her guests, from inside Marples huge French sack cloth bag, she produced a silver candle holder. The antique was placed on the table for all to see. At the base of the holder, a dark stain tarnished the highly polished item, Miss Marple waited.
"I say" began Lord Butty "Is that our candle stick?"
"It is" replied Marple "Strange that you should recognise it so easily Lord Butty".
"That's because it belongs to him" interrupted Ernie.
"Please! Ernie quiet" demanded Miss Marple.
"Keep your wig on Maude" replied Ernie.
"It is your candle holder Lord Butty and you used it to murder Penelope Porter the daughter of port importer Perry Porter and his wife Penny Porter the daughter of Percy Porter pork packer and paper producer of Portman Square" replied Marple.
"You sure you haven't been at the sherry love?" asked Ernie.
"Why how dare you!" shouted Lord Butty "I did not murder Penelope Porter, daughter of Perry Porter and his wife Penny Porter of the famous Porter pork packers and paper producers of Portman Square" ended Lord Butty.
"Why so angry?" asked Miss Marple "Have I hit a nerve?"
"More like a hammer on the nugget" said Ernie.
"Not so! I was in company all evening and what reason would I have to murder Penelope Porter the daughter of Perry Porter and his wife Penny Porter the daughter of the Porter paper and pork producers from Portman Square?" asked Lord Butty.
"Because she spurned your sexual advances Lord Butty" answered Marple.
"Have a look Maude, he can't raise a smile let alone an erection" laughed Ernie
"Ernest!" shouted Marple "Please stop interrupting".
"Where's me grub?" enquired Ernie.
Lady Butty stood and placed her hands on the table, she leaned toward the cruet set. Through clenched teeth and buttocks Lady Butty spoke. "My husband was with me all night Marple".
"There you are love, case closed, can we have some dinner now?" said Ernie.
"What about when he visited the water closet Lady Butty?" asked Miss Marple.
"He has a bag Miss Marple, emptied once a day" replied Lady Butty.
"Wish I had one of them, I'm up and down all night with my bladder" said Ernie.
"You must come to my surgery Mr Marple" offered Dr Weedall.
"Please, can we get back to the case in point" asked Miss Marple.
"It's a no brainer love" began Ernie. "That stain on the candle holder is ketchup I upset the bottle having me fish and chips last night. And by the way, that Penelope Porter tart did a runner with some Arab bloke from Knightsbridge".
"How do you know?" asked Mrs Weedall.
"Took them to the airport in me mini cab love" replied Ernie.
"Why did you not tell me?" enquired Miss Marple.
"You didn't ask you silly cow" answered Ernie.
"So we were invited to dinner not to eat, but to be accused of murder" said Lord Butty.
"Erm, well, not really, you can have dinner if you would like" answered Marple.
Lord and Lady Butty stood followed by Dr and Mrs Weedall, they gathered their belongings and made for the dining room door, as they exited, Lady Butty turned and spoke.
"We shall not be seeing you again, please return the invitation to our summer ball, and could Mr Marple give us a ride home in his mini cab?"
"On me way Lady Butty, you do know it's double fare after midnight" said Ernie.