Hello, and welcome to my 2022 A to Z Challenge! For a detailed explanation of my theme this year, see my theme reveal. But basically, I am exploring classic mystery novel murder motives, by making up a victim (Sir Adam Bracegirdle Clutterbuck) and then coming up with 26 characters who wanted to kill him. It is part genre exploration and part world-building exercise.
Today’s suspect is the Vicar of Clutterbuck Parva.
The Vicar is a regular caller at Clutterbuck Court. When he’s not calling to collect donations, he’s coming to lunch, or tea, or occasionally dinner (if they need an extra man to fill out the seating arrangements). He often calls in to see Meghan or Ingrid, both of whom are involved in various charitable and community activities locally. But a few days before Sir Adam’s death, the Vicar called in to see Sir Adam himself. This had never happened before, and the meeting seems not to have been a friendly one. And the meeting, I should note, took place in the study.
Asked by investigators what they discussed at that meeting, the Vicar was vague. “I expect he’d been up to something in the sinning line, and I found out, and felt I had to bring it to his attention, don’t you know. What did I find out? My dear chap, I’ve no idea. No, really, not the faintest. Don’t keep that sort of trash in my head. Deal with it and then forget it. But I do seem to remember being really very angry. Yes indeed. Oh, yes. Very angry. But since then, don’t you see, I’ve had so much on my plate. There’s the weekly sermon—always a worry, and people seem to remember what I’ve said before, so I can’t repeat—can’t think how they do it, but I suppose it is a good thing, remembering sermons. And I’ve also had the village fete to plan, and there’s the roof fund—dreadful, the church roof is, going to tumble down on us all if it isn’t looked after soon—don’t suppose you’d care to contribute? Ah, thank you. Thank you! But as I was saying, I’ve been just dreadfully busy since my little chat with Sir Adam, and I couldn’t possibly remember what we discussed. There’s my translation of Tacitus to be getting on with, too…”
This level of forgetfulness raises some questions, of course. The Vicar is known to be a bit absent-minded, but this seems extreme, even for him.
And, if he could forget what he and the soon-to-be-murdered Sir Adam talked about, could he also have forgotten some other important details? Like, for example, dropping some poison into Sir Adam’s whiskey decanter?
And that’s it for the Vicar! I am modelling him on the usual sort of Vicar encountered in classic mystery fiction: vague, kindly, scholarly, and concerned with the church roof.
Do you think he would make a good murderer in a story, or is he better as a red herring? And what of him as the second victim?
My candid opinion, by the way, is that he would make a terrible murderer, and that I’d be very upset if he turned out to be the second victim. But, of course, perhaps it could be made to work, dramatically speaking. I don’t know.
Tell me what you think in the comments! Or, as always, feel free to just say hi!