By The Pricking Of My Thumbs

  • Tommy & Tuppence
  • Novel
  • 1968

An old woman in a nursing home speaks of a child buried behind the fireplace… When Tommy and Tuppence visited an elderly aunt in her gothic nursing home, they thought nothing of her mistrust of the doctors; after all, Ada was a very difficult old lady. But when Mrs Lockett mentioned a poisoned mushroom stew and Mrs Lancaster talked about ‘something behind the fireplace’, Tommy and Tuppence found themselves caught up in an unexpected adventure involving possible black magic…

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

More about this story

The title of the novel is a line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” Agatha Christie dedicated the novel to her readers in other countries who would write to her and ask “What happened to Tommy and Tuppence? What are they doing now?”

It was adapted for film in France by Pascal Thomas and titled Mon petit doigt m'a dit... The characters of Tommy and Tuppence were changed slightly, but the plot remains fairly true to the novel. In 2006 it was adapted for the series Agatha Christie’s Marple, with much of Tommy’s part in the story adapted for Miss Marple’s character, played by Geraldine McEwan. Both Tommy and Tuppence still featured, although Tuppence was portrayed as resentful of her husband’s success, having been unable to accept a job with MI6 because she was pregnant.

Did you know?

  1. Unlike Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Tommy & Tuppence aged in real time. In By the Pricking of my Thumbs, Tommy & Tuppence are an elderly couple.

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