A Story a Day #9: Dorothy L. Sayers
February 14th, 2020
Dorothy L. Sayers
A British gentleman is travelling home on the train and hears the news of a cook who has been poisoning the families she works for. Though his stomach as feeling somewhat upset, he brushed this off. When he returns, his wife is also not feeling well. He attributes this to her consistent illness. Over the next few weeks, he is sick on and off and begins to question their new cook, Mrs. Sutton, who they hired only a month ago, just as the previous poisoning cook had gone missing. He begins suspecting her and finds a can of arsenic in the garden left partially open. He goes out and comes back late one night to find the cook has left him a hot beverage which he sips but finds that it tastes funny. He dumps the drink into a bottle and has his chemist test it the next day. The results come back positive for arsenic and he rushes home, worried that his wife may already be dead. When he gets home, she is fine and learns that they have just caught the murderous cook. It is then that he notices a strange gleam in his wife's eye.
This story reminds me a lot of old mystery stories like "The Turn of the Screw" or perhaps various Sherock Holmes stories. As the titles suggests, there is always a feeling that something is awry and this only increases as the narrator becomes increasingly more paranoid. As many mystery readers probably know, the culprit is usually the person that is least expected, just as it is in this case. I found this to be an ironic story to read on Valentine's Day. It capitalizes on the strangeness of thinking you know someone only to be completely blindsided by their actions, a fear of many people in relationships.