Illustration by Jen Corace.
The nights are lengthening here in the Northern hemisphere so we celebrate the darkness with a spooky, textile related short story, The Dressmakers Doll by Agatha Christie. We published this story in Issue 42: Intrigue, back in 2011, paying homage to the tradition of short story publishing in magazines. Enjoy the introduction here and access the full story for free using the link below. And for more intriguing textile topics, including the influence fictional detectives have had on fashion, from the tweeds and twinsets of Miss Marple to the flamboyant cape of Sherlock Holmes, buy Issue 42 here.
Image: Agatha Christie, 1946 via Britannica.com
The Dressmaker's Doll: There was not much light in the room; the London skies were dark. In the gentle, greyish-green gloom, the sage-green coverings and the curtains and the rugs all blended with each other. The doll blended, too. She lay long and limp and sprawled in her green-velvet clothes and her velvet cap and the painted mask of her face. She was not a doll as children understand dolls. She was the Puppet Doll, the whim of Rich Women, the doll who lolls beside the telephone, or among the cushions of the divan. She sprawled there, eternally limp and yet strangely alive. She looked a decadent product of the 20th century.
Sybil Fox, hurrying in with some patterns and a sketch, looked at the doll with a faint feeling of surprise and bewilderment. She wondered—but whatever she wondered did not get to the front of her mind. Instead, she thought to herself, “Now, what’s happened to the pattern of the blue velvet? Wherever have I put it? I’m sure I had it here just now.” She went out on the landing and called up to the workroom. “Elspeth. Elspeth, have you the blue pattern up there? Mrs. Fellows-Brown will be here any minute now.”
She went in again, switching on the lights. Again she glanced at the doll. “Now where on earth – ah, there it is,” She picked the pattern up from where it had fallen from her hand. There was the usual creak outside on the landing as the elevator came to a halt and in a minute or two Mrs. Fellows-Brown, accompanied by her Pekinese, came puffing into the room rather like a fussy local train arriving at a wayside station.
Continue reading The Dressmaker's Doll from Issue 42.