The Quiche of Death

The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

Book: The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton Read Free Book Online
Authors: M. C. Beaton
be no shortage of volunteers as Mrs. Mason went through a list in her hand. Agatha looked around at the other
     women. There was something strangely old-fashioned about them with their earnest desire to help. All were middle-aged apart
     from a thin, pale-looking girl in her twenties who was seated next to Agatha. "Ain't got no car," she whispered to Agatha.
     "Can hardly take them on me bike."
    "And now," said Mrs. Mason, "last but not least, we have old Mr. and Mrs. Boggle at CuUoden."
    There was a long silence. The fire behind Mrs. Mason's ample figure crackled cheerfully, spoons clinked against teacups, jaws
     munched. No volunteers.
    "Come now, ladies. Mr. and Mrs. Boggle would love a trip somewhere. Needn't be too far. Even just into Evesham and around
     the shops."
    Agatha thought she felt the vicar's wife's eyes resting on her. Her voice sounded odd in her own ears as she heard herself
     saying, "I'll take them. Would Thursday be all right?"
    Did she sense a feeling of relief in the room? "Why, thank you, Mrs. Raisin. How very good of you. Perhaps you do not know
     the village very well, but CuUoden is number 28, Moreton Road, on the council estate. Shall we say nine o'clock on Thursday,
     and I shall take it on myself to tell Mr. and Mrs. Boggle?"
    Agatha nodded.
    "Good. They will be so pleased. Now, as you know, next week we are to be hosted by the Mircester Ladies' Society and they have promised us an exciting
     time. I will pass around a book and sign your names in it if you wish to go. Retford Bus Company is giving us a bus for the
     day."
    The book was passed round. After some hesitation, Agatha signed her name. It would be something to do.
    "Right," said Mrs. Mason. "The coach will leave from outside here at eleven in the morning. I am sure we will all be awake
     by that time." Dutiful laughter. "And so I will get our secretary, Miss Simms, to read out the minutes of your last meeting
     in case any of you missed it.
    To Agatha's surprise, the young girl next to her rose and went to face the company. In a droning nasal voice she read out
     the minutes. Agatha stifled a yawn. Then the treasurer gave a lengthy report of money raised at the last fete in aid of Cancer
     Research.
    Agatha was nearly asleep when she heard her own name. The treasurer had been replaced by Mrs. Bloxby. "Yes," said the vicar's
     wife, "when our new member, Mrs. Raisin, came with boxes and boxes of stuff and gave them all away to be sold for charity,
     I thought I would show you some of the items. I think they warrant a special sale."
    Agatha felt gratified as oohs and ahs greeted the toby jugs and bits of burnished farm machinery. "Reckon I'd buy some o'
     that meself," said one of the women.
    "I am glad you share my enthusiasm," said Mrs. Bloxby. '1 suggest we should take the school hall for the tenth of June, that's
     a Saturday, and put these items on display. The week before the sale, we will have a special pricing meeting. That will also
     give us time to find some extra items. Mrs. Mason, can I ask you to run the tea-room as usual?"
    Mrs. Mason nodded.
    "Mrs. Raisin, perhaps you might like to take command of the main stall?"
    "Tell you what," said Agatha. "I'll auction them. I'll be auctioneer. People always pay more when they are bidding against
     each other."
    "What a good idea. All in favour?" Hands were raised.
    "Excellent. The money will go to Save the Children. Perhaps, if we are lucky, some of the local papers might put in an item."
    "I'll see to that," said Agatha, feeling better by the minute. This was like old times.
    Her happiness was dimmed when the business was over; and the women were gathering up their coats and handbags when Miss Simms
     nudged her and said, "Better you than me."
    "You mean the auction?"
    "Naw, them Boggles. Grouchiest old miseries this side o' Gloucester."
    But somehow Mrs. Bloxby was there and had heard the remark. She smiled into Agatha's eyes and said, "What a good deed to give
     the Boggles an

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