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A DELETED SCENE FROM PETS, PENS & MURDER
“Now, are you ready to walk the Agatha Christie mile as we planned? We should be able to do that and squeeze in lunch somewhere before the 3 pm session, right? We can’t miss Gilbert’s presentation.” He glanced at Christie who was meowing at his feet. “Do you think that means she wants to go too?”

My sassy cat looked from me to Dave. “Such a silly question. Of course, I want to go!”

As Dave changed from his windbreaker into his leather jacket, I picked up a card from the bed and read aloud. “The Sayers Secret. I wonder if the local bookshop carries it.”

The sunny morning had turned cloudy, but the weather was still mild enough for a pleasant stroll from our hotel to the Imperial Hotel, the last stop on the tour. Dickens was in heaven with the wind ruffling his fur, and Christie was snug in the backpack Dave carried.

Along the way, we looked for the plaques that marked the sites on the tour. Our first stop was the Torre Abbey Museum, which featured an “Agatha Christie Potent Plant Garden.”

“Look at this, Dave. I wish we had more time. The challenge is to figure out which poisonous plants were used in which of Christie’s mysteries. What fun.”

A look of exaggerated horror flashed across Dave’s face. “What does it say about my girlfriend that she wants to take a poisonous plant tour? Should I be worried?”

Next was the Princess Pier with its plaque noting that Agatha used to roller skate along its length as a teenager. That was followed by the Prince Gardens where we snapped a picture of the plaque that indicated the gardens were a location in The ABC Murders.

We took in the abandoned Pavilion with its bronze bust of Dame Agatha and took the path to Beacon Cove where she enjoyed swimming as a girl. After climbing the hill to the Imperial Hill and locating its plaque in the lobby, we had worked up an appetite, and I suggested we retrace our steps to Maisie’s Tearoom.

Dave smiled at me. “Let me guess, you want to eat there because you’re a Maisie Dobbs fan, right?” I was always amazed at how well he kept up with my reading habits. He’d even tried the first book in the series and liked it well enough—not well enough to read the next ten or so books, though. I had a small salad so I could indulge in a big chocolate chip cookie as my second course. Dave, of course, had no such constraints and ate a large roast beef sandwich and two cookies.

Dickens scarfed his handouts beneath the table and looked at me expectantly. “Forget it, Dickens. Neither you nor I have Dave’s metabolism, and we’d be twin butterballs if we ate as much as he does.”

Dave grinned as he all but licked his plate. “Hey, can I help it if I have good genes? My mom’s the same way.”

The backpack containing Christie sat in a chair at the table. She slept through most of lunch, but when Dickens barked, she stuck her nose out with a squeak. “What about me?”

I poured a puddle of cream in a saucer and held it her nose. “Will this do, princess?” I had my answer when she lapped it up.