“They all stared at the clock. It chimed a quarter–and then the half. As the last note died away all the lights went out”(Christie 39).
In A Murder is Announced, by Agatha Christie(Collins Crime Club, June 1950), Letitia Blacklock is an elderly woman working at Little Paddocks in Chipping Cleghorn. In the newspaper, an advertisement read, “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m. Friends please accept this, the only intimation”(17). People come to Little Paddocks anxiously waiting for the clock to strike 6:30 p.m. Christie exhibits the theme of jumping to conclusions through the investigation of the attempted murder of Mrs. Blacklock.
The people in Chipping Cleghorn think that it is a game of some sort, but this is more than a game. Christie first displays people jumping to conclusions when an attempted murder on Mrs. Blacklock happened. The man bursts into the room and shoots two revolver shots and then kills himself. Afterward, Mrs.
Blacklock has a bloody ear and the cook, Mitzi, says, “‘The blood, the blood?’ she gasped. ‘You are shot–Miss Blacklock, you bleed to death'(42). Mitzi jumps to the conclusion that she has been shot and this brings about the rumor that she is wanted dead. Christie uses this to lead the investigation in a different direction rather than if they had started from scratch and had not gone off of the one idea that Mrs. Blacklock was targeted.
This major overlook plays a pivotal role in the investigation. Another time when people jump to conclusions is when Mrs. Bunner, a friend of Mrs. Blacklock, says that the back door has never been opened in years. Inspector Craddock tries to open the door and it glides open noiselessly. Christie shows this when she writes, “This door’s been opened quite recently, Miss Bunner.
The lock’s been oiled and the hinges”(117). The oiled door leads the investigation in a different direction because now they know that the person who tried to kill Mrs. Blacklock is someone who is close to them. This is a crucial piece of evidence to the book and it was almost ignored when Miss Bunner jumped to a conclusion. The case is not solved yet and there are still stones that are left unturned.
In addition, Mrs. Hinchliffe jumps to a conclusion when she is trying to solve the case with Mrs. Murgatroyd, who had a good view of what happened. Christie portrays this faulty information when Mrs. Hinchliffe says, “I want to get back to the original attempt on Letty Blacklock. Now, to begin with, get the facts firmly into your head, because it’s all going to depend on you”(219). Mrs.
Hinchliffe jumped to a conclusion when she said the original attempt on Letty Blacklock. She does not know for sure that it was an attempt on Mrs. Blacklock. All they know about it is that Mrs. Blacklock had a bloody ear after the shooting.
This is the main point that is overlooked by the characters and Christie uses this important fact to play a crucial role in the investigation. In A Murder is Announced, by Agatha Christie, there are many slight hints that are expertly hidden that unravel the plot. The theme of jumping to conclusions is ever-present and very unpredictable throughout the investigation. Though trying to solve a crime is hard, pulling off the crime and getting away with it is even harder.