“Murder just isn't the same these days,” sighed Mrs Bradbury-Newton. “There's no class to it any more. It's just shootings and bashings and stabbings, and burnings and drownings and gang violence. What's happened to the good old middle class murder?
“I suppose really its the fault of suppliers. I mean, in the old days it was perfectly simple to get a decent supply of arsenic, or cyanide or whatever it was that you needed. You just popped down to the chemist a few villages away from your own, disguised with a headscarf and sunglasses, and told the assistant you needed it to kill rats. Or maybe wasps. Or something to do with hat-paint and cosmetics. Then you signed the poison register under a false name, preferably one that belonged to someone you wanted to incriminate, and walked away with enough poison to kill a small army.
“Even if you were cursed with a group of intelligent and observant chemist's assistants in your neighbourhood there was a very reliable alternative. You were bound to have a chum from boarding school who now worked in the nearby hospital dispensary. You simply nipped over to have tea with her at work, distracted her with a facsinating newspaper clipping and nicked a bottle or two from the poisons cupboard. Your kid leather gloves, absently mindedly left on, ensured that no fingerprints would be left behind. And again, you walked away with all the lethal material you could ever require.
“And here I am, an excellent candidate for becoming a respectable middle class murderer, and I cannot think of a single means of acquiring any of the traditional poisons. I'd have to be a chemistry major to come up with a way of quietly offing my husband, or mother-in-law, or illegitimate second cousin twice removed turned blackmailer. Or at least of doing so without leaving an official trail or a terrible mess. They just don't sell arsenic at the corner chemist any more. Neither do they keep cyanide in a dusty and disregarded poisons cabinet, under the inattentive eye of a college buddy. And wearing kid gloves would be bound to raise suspicions before I even got started.
“This must be why all those mystery writers turn murder stories into thrillers these days. No such thing as a nice clean murder, worthy of puzzling out over your knitting.”
Mrs Bradbury-Newton sighed again. “Murder these days.”