Colin Watson (writer) - Miss Teatime

Miss Teatime

The most entertaining of Colin Watson's characters is without doubt Miss Lucilla Edith Cavell Teatime, that most ladylike of con-women whose occasional lapses into verbal vulgarity make her all the more endearing. She has a liking for whisky, a game of dominoes and all things tasteful. She first steps off the train in Flaxborough (a town once described as having the fictional solidarity of Arnold Bennett's Five Towns) in the fourth mystery set there, Lonelyheart 4122. She likes the town so much that she settles there, even though her attempt at swindling through a lonely-hearts bureau nearly makes her the third woman killed by another swindler. She appears in all subsequent Flaxborough novels except Blue Murder. By the eleventh volume, Plaster Sinners, she is the proprietress of the 'House of Yesteryear' in Northgate, Flaxborough, and a regular attender at local auctions. Her old talents and sleight of hand remain much in evidence. On one occasion two glass decanters are rendered extremely cheap when she casually transfers the stoppers to a tray of miscellaneous items, which she then bids for as well. Her final appearance is in Whatever's Been Going On At Mumblesby? where we find her with an assistant called Edgar and offering opinions on the marketability of such religious relics as saints' kneecaps. In the 1977 Murder Most English BBC television series, which offered adaptations of four of Colin Watson's Flaxborough novels, Lucy Teatime was portrayed by Brenda Bruce.

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