By The Pricking of My Thumbs Question *Spoilers*

CrookedQuinCrookedQuin California, United States
The murderer, Mrs. LANCASTER I was wondering if there is any explanation that she appears in so many Christie novels? She was in Sleeping Murder, Pricking of My Thumbs (where she had a prominent role and was not a cameo), and the Pale Horse. Why did Christie incorporate her into so many novels? Is there an explanation? As well, is the short story The Lamp is it the same character? Was it a kind of backstory for this killer? I always found her strange, as she was always sitting down in either a mental institution or a nursing home talking about poisoned milk. 


  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    We don't have conclusive answers to your questions.  Christie fans hypothesize about this a lot, and I like to think the character is the same in "The Lamp."  Someone was thought that Christie came across a comparable person in real life and she stuck with her, but I have no documentation for that.  All we have for sure are our own theories and conjectures.
  • CrookedQuinCrookedQuin California, United States
    @GKCfan, oh okay. Thank you for your response! I suppose I like to think it is the same character as well. 
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    You're welcome!  I love to debate and discuss fan theories connected to Christie's work, and Mrs. Lancaster is a favorite topic.
  • thebutlerdiditthebutlerdidit Shepperton, UK
    edited June 2018
    I doubt the Mrs Lancaster in The Lamp is the same lady as in the other novels, as her story in the former doesn’t match up with what we’re told in By The Pricking of My Thumbs.  In The Lamp she seems to be a widow with a child, but in the later book we’re told she had an illegal abortion as a young girl, which resulted in her being unable to bear children.  Ergo, they can’t be the same person.  (It wouldn’t be the first time Christie had re-used a name for different characters.)
    However, there’s an odd little echo of The Lamp in BTPOMT.  In the first story, Mrs Lancaster’s child dies of an illness, and his ghost goes to keep a long-dead child company. (It’s a rather atypical story for Christie, a supernatural one rather than a whodunnit.) In the later book, Mrs Lancaster is haunted by dreams of the child she aborted, and as a result she’s become deranged, and has “sacrificed” various children in the belief that they’ll keep her unborn child from getting lonely in the next world.  Which makes me think that Christie had The Lamp very much in mind when writing BTPOMT, even though the ghostly children in the first story are real, and in the other they’re just figments of Mrs Lancaster’s guilt-ridden imagination ...
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