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Context Literature / CatAmongThePigeons

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1[[quoteright:200:]] ²%%[[caption-width-right:200:some caption text]]²²''Cat Among the Pigeons'' is a 1959 mystery novel by Creator/AgathaChristie, featuring detective Literature/HerculePoirot. ²²At the start of the summer term at Meadowbank School for Girls, a prestigious prep school in England, there is no reason for Miss Bulstrode, the popular but aging headmistress, to believe that the challenges facing her will be more than the occasional irate or inebriated parent. She scarcely listens when Mrs Upjohn, a parent, recognizes someone that she sees from her wartime days in the intelligence service. But there is a killer at the school who does not wait long to strike.²²In 2008, ITV adapted the story for the eleventh season of ''{{Series/Poirot}}''. Tropes concerning the adaptation are listed on the series page. ²²----²!!This novel provides examples of the following: ²²* AmateurSleuth / KidDetective : Julia Upjohn has definite shades of this. Not only does she [[spoiler: deduce the existence of and then finds the cache of hidden jewels]], she actually figures out a large part of what is going on, when all the grown-ups around her (including Miss Bulstrode and Adam Goodman), are pretty much clueless. She is then [[GenreSavvy intelligent enough to realize that she knows enough to be in danger]], and promptly goes to see Poirot.²* {{Blackmail}}: [[spoiler:Miss Blanche]] knew the identity of Miss Springer's killer and attempted to blackmail them. Unsurprisingly, this only gets her killed.²* BoardingSchool: The main setting is the girls-only boarding school Meadowbanks.²* CallBack : Julia Upjohn, who [[spoiler: discovers the cache of jewels and]] brings the case to Poirot's attention, is the god-daughter of Maureen Summerhayes from ''Literature/MrsMcGintysDead'':²-->'''Julia:''' Auntie Maureen really is great fun - and she makes the most smashing omelettes\²'''Poirot:''' Then I, Poirot, have not lived in vain. For it was I who taught your Aunt to make an omelette.²* CoolTeacher: Honoria Bulstrode, headmistress of Meadowbanks, is not overly strict, but she seems to have an almost telepathic knowledge of everything that goes on at her school. Eileen Rich, the English teacher, also qualifies.²* CoolUncle: Bob Rawlinson to his niece Jennifer. ²* CrazyPrepared: the reason for the MacGuffin existing in the first place. [[spoiler: The collection of unset jewels is an emergency cache constantly carried by the Prince of Ramat, in case there was ever an emergency situation they had to buy their way out of. Or there was an unexpected revolution and they had to support themselves (which is exactly what happened, but the revolution was so uncivilised that neither Ali or Bob survived it). It's stated it's a family tradition, and some of Ali's cache was passed down from similar caches held by now-deceased members of his family.]]²* DawsonCasting: In-universe. It is said of some of the older girls that they could pass for adults in their 20s. [[spoiler:In the case of "Princess Shaista", it turns out that this is because she ''is'' an adult of 25, having been switched with the real Princess.]]²* DeadGuyJunior: [[spoiler: Ali Yusuf's secret son Allen]] provides a belated example of both this and SomeoneToRememberHimBy. ²* DeadPersonImpersonation: [[spoiler:Miss Blanche, who is actually impersonating her sister Angèle who died, and who earned her teaching references.]] It is not as relevant to the plot as you might expect.²* DecoyProtagonist: Jennifer is set up to receive a fair amount of focus at the beginning, but her [[spoiler: trading tennis rackets with Julia]] and her own relatively unimaginative nature keep her from having much to do with the plot. ²* FamedInStory: Meadowbank is one of the most famous girls' schools in England, numbering many well-known and successful women in all walks of life among its graduates. Miss Bulstrode has elements of this among the school population, probably for good reason.²* {{Foreshadowing}}: Although not relevant to the actual murder, Julia's letter to her mother mentions that [[spoiler: Jennifer told her that -according to her uncle- Prince Ali Yusuf was in love with someone other than Shaista and that woman appears at the end of the novel]]. ²* HeKnowsTooMuch: [[spoiler:Miss Blanche.]] ²* ImDyingPleaseTakeMyMacGuffin: ''Twice.'' Prince Ali Yusuf, who fears an assassination attempt, hands the jewels off to Bob. Bob realizes that having the jewels makes ''him'' a target, and hides them in his sister's luggage. ²* ImpersonationExclusiveCharacter: [[spoiler: Princess Shaista was kidnapped in Switzerland before she could arrive at Meadowbank School, and the character believed to be her throughout the book is an actress specializing in DawsonCasting parts. The reader never gets to know the real Shaista at all]].²* LadyDrunk: Lady Veronica Carlton-Sandways even has the Lady part in her title and makes a scene showing up drunk, upset at being away from her twin daughters for the school year. ²* MyGirlIsNotASlut: Eileen Rich, a respectable schoolteacher, [[spoiler:has an illegitimate child]] and is among the most sympathetic characters in the novel. Honoria Bulstrode, her headmistress, does not hold this against her, provided it does not become public knowledge. [[spoiler:The novel ends with the implication that Bulstrode has chosen Rich as her eventual successor.]] ²* MyOwnPrivateIDo: [[spoiler: While studying at a British university, Ali Yusuf had an English lover who he married after she got pregnant, but he kept this a secret from everyone in his home country. It was understood between him and Alice that it would not be considered legal in his own country; it was solely in order to [[MyGirlIsNotASlut protect her and their son from the stigma of illegitimacy]]. The marriage is, however, considered legal enough for her to inherit the jewels]]. ²* NameDrop: by Eileen Rich, talking about the odd feeling she has had since the beginning of the term (Eileen is noted to be highly intuitive)²-->'''Eileen:''' ... it's like a cat among the pigeons, but we can't ''see'' the cat.²* NeverOneMurder: [[spoiler:Three murders are committed by two people with entirely different motives.]] ²* NotMyDriver: Princess Shaista, a student at Meadowbrook School, gets into a car to meet her uncle in London and never arrives. [[spoiler:This is a subversion, though, because it actually was her driver. "Shaista" was an impostor, and the car had come to help her disappear before she met anyone who knew the real Princess, making it look like a kidnapping.]] ²* {{Qurac}}: A hunt for a [[spoiler: cache of jewels]] once owned by the Prince of Ramat. ²* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:One of the murderers, Miss Chadwick,]] redeems herself by TakingTheBullet to stop her best friend being killed and thus atoning for her own crime.²* SternTeacher: Miss Bulstrode is the tough but fair kind.²* ThoseTwoGirls: Jennifer and Julia, for a while, with a letter from one of their classmates to her mother mentioning that everyone at school calls them the Jays.²* ATragedyOfImpulsiveness: The murder of [[spoiler: Ms. Vanstittart was completely unpremeditated, with Ms. Chadwick having simply gone to inspect a suspicious light while bringing a sandbag, and upon finding her rival there, with her back turned, was unable to resist the urge to strike her down, something she instantly felt horrified over]].²* UndercoverCopReveal : Adam Goodman. His actual agency isn't specified, but he's either Special Branch or domestic intelligence. Played with in that the reader is introduced to him as he's instructed to go undercover, played straight later on with the police Inspector investigating Miss Springer's murder during his initial questioning. ²* UnfitForGreatness: It isn't that anyone has anything ''bad'' to say about Ms. Vanstittart, but Ms. Bulstrode secretly feels that she lacks the imagination and flexibility to help the school remain great. ²* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: or rather, activity. At one point, Miss Bulstrode and Poirot think it might be a good idea to get in contact with Mrs Upjohn, and get some more details on exactly who she was talking about on the first day of term, so they naturally enough ask Julia.²-->'''Julia:''' I'm sorry, but Mummy's gone to Anatolia on a bus.\²(after Julia leaves)\²'''Miss Bulstrode:''' Gone to Anatolia on a bus? The child said it as if she'd taken the 43 bus to Selfridges!²* VillainWithGoodPublicity: At the beginning of the novel, Ali Yusuf bemoans how the people of the country are trying to overthrow him, even as they venerate the memory of his grandfather, an AxCrazy dictator. ²* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The book never reveals [[spoiler:the fate of the real princess Shaista]], although she is [[spoiler: rescued in the TV adaptation]]. ²* TheWisePrince: Ali Yusuf tried to be this to his country, introducing many reforms. Unfortunately, it just made his enemies see him as weak and launch a revolution.²²----


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