Programming note: Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be hosting another edition of The Mark Steyn Show live on GB News at 7pm GMT - that's 2pm North American Eastern. You can watch from anywhere on the planet right here.
US Thanksgiving is also SteynOnline's birthday: We hung out our shingle on the Internet at Thanksgiving 2002, and marked our fifth birthday by offering five per cent off everything at the Steyn Store - which became an annual and incremental tradition. So, to mark our nineteenth birthday, we're now offering nineteen per cent off every single item at the Steyn Store. More details below.
Following our annual Thanksgiving show and the Thursday rerun of the Serenade Radio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week, here we go with Episode Nineteen of our current Tale for Our Time - Agatha Christie's first published novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. In my introduction to the story, I mentioned that the dénouement, as originally conceived by the author, took place in court, with the bigshot barrister explaining it all. It was the publisher, John Lane, who demanded that it all be transferred to some place where Poirot would be able to take center stage, such as a library or a drawing room. And thus Mr Lane imposed on Mrs Christie what would become one of the great conventions of the twentieth-century murder mystery: the scene in which all the suspects obligingly gather to listen to the great detective tell them whodunnit.
So in tonight's episode Hercule Poirot returns in great agitation:
He bowed with exaggerated respect to Mary Cavendish.
"Madame, I have your permission to hold a little réunion in the salon? It is necessary for everyone to attend."
Mary smiled sadly.
"You know, Monsieur Poirot, that you have carte blanche in every way."
"You are too amiable, madame."
Still beaming, Poirot marshalled us all into the drawing-room, bringing forward chairs as he did so.
"Miss Howard—here. Mademoiselle Cynthia. Monsieur Lawrence. The good Dorcas. And Annie. Bien! We must delay our proceedings a few minutes until Mr. Inglethorp arrives. I have sent him a note..."
The company once assembled, Poirot rose from his seat with the air of a popular lecturer, and bowed politely to his audience.
We're now well into our fifth season of Tales for Our Time and have built up quite an archive. So, if you've a chum who's a fan of classic fiction in audio form, don't forget the perfect Christmas present: a Mark Steyn Club gift membership.
As for that nineteen per cent discount to mark our nineteenth birthday, it's easy to take advantage of: Just head on over to the Steyn Store and shop till you drop as you normally would - the discount will be applied to your basket as you check out. But only through Monday!
Oh, and if you're a Mark Steyn Club member enter your special promo code at check-out, and you'll get even more savings on over forty different items.
Please join me tomorrow for Part Twenty of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.