Please look away now if you are easily offended. The following sentences make some anachronistic reference to cats.
One of the things that I like about Agatha Christie, a quality that means that I have moved straight on to a new Christie novel, is that she was writing from a different age. Her social comments then - for example, the tensions between different generations, give us some sense of how things have, and have not changed.
What stood out for me - as a lover of language - is the use of pussy, or 'old pussy' to describe the ageing spinster women in the village of Wychwood. The phrase is somewhat pejorative; it describes single women who are gossips, inclined to be fanciful and likely to have a cat as their closest companion. Christie uses the word with a casual affection, however; and her 'old pussies', as Miss Marple, or Miss Pinkerton in this case, ably demonstrate, are generally underestimated - they are the ones who solve the crime.
Which, of course, is what I didn't do. I knew who the killer was from the first moment I met the character. Then, having followed a narrative that introduced a range of other plausible suspects, my suspicions were confirmed - my chosen suspect was the one. Christie, however, simply toys with her readers - me as well. She allowed me a few pages of I knew I was right smugness before she upended the novel and showed me that I was wrong all along. Well done you 'old pussy'