Labours of Hercules
The Twelve Labours of Heracles or Hercules are a series of episodes concerning a penance carried out by Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes, whose name was romanised as Hercules. They were accomplished over 12 years at the service of King Eurystheus; the episodes were connected by a continuous narrative. The establishment of a fixed cycle of twelve labours was attributed by the Greeks to an epic poem, now lost, written by Peisander, dated about 600 BC. After Hercules killed his wife and children, he went to the oracle at Delphi, he prayed to the god Apollo for guidance. Hercules was told to serve the king of Mycenae, for 12 years. During these 12 years, Hercules is sent to perform twelve difficult feats, called labours. Driven mad by Hera, Hercules slew his son and wife Megara. After recovering his sanity, Hercules regretted his actions. Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, advised him to go to Tiryns and serve his cousin King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labors Eurystheus might set him.
Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. He placed himself at Eurystheus's disposal. Eurystheus ordered Hercules to perform ten labours. Hercules accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus refused to recognize two: the slaying of the Lernaean Hydra, as Hercules' nephew and charioteer Iolaus had helped him. Eurystheus set two more tasks, which Hercules performed, bringing the total number of tasks to twelve; as they survive, the labours of Hercules are not recounted in any single place, but must be reassembled from many sources. Ruck and Staples assert that there is no one way to interpret the labours, but that six were located in the Peloponnese, culminating with the rededication of Olympia. Six others took the hero farther afield, to places that were, per Ruck, "all strongholds of Hera or the'Goddess' and were Entrances to the Netherworld". In each case, the pattern was the same: Hercules was sent to kill or subdue, or to fetch back for Eurystheus a magical animal or plant.
A famous depiction of the labours in Greek sculpture is found on the metopes of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, which date to the 450s BC. In his labours, Hercules was sometimes accompanied by a male companion, according to Licymnius and others, such as Iolaus, his nephew. Although he was supposed to perform only ten labours, this assistance led to two labours being disqualified: Eurystheus refused to recognize slaying the Hydra, because Iolaus helped him, the cleansing of the Augean stables, because Hercules was paid for his services and because the rivers did the work. Several of the labours involved the offspring of Typhon and his mate Echidna, all overcome by Hercules. A traditional order of the labours found in the Bibliotheca is: Slay the Nemean lion. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra. Capture the Ceryneian Hind. Capture the Erymanthian Boar. Clean the Augean stables in a single day. Slay the Stymphalian birds. Capture the Cretan Bull. Steal the Mares of Diomedes. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta.
Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon. Steal the apples of the Hesperides. Capture and bring back Cerberus; the first labour was to slay the Nemean lion. According to one version of the myth, the Nemean lion took women as hostages to its lair in a cave near Nemea, luring warriors from nearby towns to save the damsel in distress. After entering the cave, the warrior would rush to her side. Once he was close, the woman would turn into a lion and kill the warrior, devouring his remains and giving the bones to Hades. Hercules wandered the area. There he met a boy who said that if Hercules slew the Nemean lion and returned alive within thirty days, the town would sacrifice a lion to Zeus, but if he did not return within thirty days or he died, the boy would sacrifice himself to Zeus. Another version claims that he met Molorchos, a shepherd who had lost his son to the lion, saying that if he came back within thirty days, a ram would be sacrificed to Zeus. If he did not return within thirty days, it would be sacrificed to the dead Hercules as a mourning offering.
While searching for the lion, Hercules fletched some arrows to use against it, not knowing that its golden fur was impenetrable. When he found and shot the lion, firing at it with his bow, he discovered the fur's protective property as the arrow bounced harmlessly off the creature's thigh. After some time, Hercules made the lion return to his cave; the cave had two entrances. In those dark and close quarters, Hercules stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight the lion bit off one of his fingers. Others say that he shot arrows at it shooting it in the unarmored mouth. After slaying the lion, he failed, he tried sharpening the knife with a stone and tried with the stone itself. Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told Hercules to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt. Others say; when he returned on the thirtieth day carrying the carcass of the lion on his shoulders, King Eurystheus was amazed and terri
Assumption of the Virgin (Cerasi Chapel)
The Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci is the altarpiece of the famous Cerasi Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. The large panel painting was created in 1600-1601; the artwork is somewhat overshadowed by the two more famous paintings of Caravaggio on the side walls of the chapel: The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter. Both painters were important in the development of Baroque art but the contrast is striking: Carracci's Virgin glows with light and radiates harmony, while the paintings of Caravaggio are lit and foreshortened; the chapel in the left transept of the basilica was built by Monsignor Tiberio Cerasi, Consistorial Advocate and Treasurer-General to Pope Clement VIII. He purchased a chapel on the same spot from the Augustinian friars on 8 July 1600 and commissioned Carlo Maderno to rebuild the small edifice in Baroque style. In September Cerasi contracted Caravaggio to paint two panels for the side walls.
Another contract was signed at an early stage in the proceedings with Carracci for the altarpiece but this document has not been preserved. Preparatory studies and sketches by Carracci are preserved in the Royal Collection; the commissions went to the leading artists in Rome at the time: during these years Carracci was busy working on the famous fresco cycle of the Palazzo Farnese for Cardinal Odoardo Farnese. Due to his increased workload in the palace, the three ceiling frescos in the chapel were executed by his assistant, Innocenzo Tacconi following Carracci's design. In these circumstances there was little reason for Carracci and Caravaggio to regard each other as business rivals, states Denis Mahon. Tiberio Cerasi was buried in the chapel. In his will he named the Fathers of the Hospital of the Madonna della Consolazione as his heirs with the responsibility to complete the still unfinished chapel. Annibale's altarpiece was already complete as deduced from an avviso written by Giulio Mancini and dated to 2 June: "The principal painting in the chapel by the said Carracci, those three paintings being, on the whole, of great excellence and beauty."
This is confirmed by the fact that there are no recordings of payments in favor of Carracci in the documents concerning the management of the assets of Tiberio Cerasi drawn up after his death. The chapel was consecrated on 11 November 1606, it was dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. The altarpiece is the fulcrum of the decorative program of the chapel due to its subject and spatial position. There is a strong thematic connection with the scene of the Coronation of the Virgin in the central medaillon of the barrel-vault that shows the final episode in the Life of the Virgin after the Assumption; the painting establishes a dialog with the two Caravaggio canvasses on the lateral walls: the most important figures among the apostles are Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the foreground whose life story is told by Caravaggio. The thematic and compositional connections prove that the altarpiece was designed to be looked at as part of a larger ensemble and not as a standalone object; the rather crowded composition is organized around a triad of figures: the Virgin rising from the empty tomb and the two apostles gazing upwards in awe.
All three wear robes in bright primary colours: blue over red, yellow over blue and pink over green. The remaining space around the sarcophagus is filled with nine other apostles, bringing their overall number to eleven. "The stiffened forms and crowded composition have been interpreted as a conscious shift to a'hyper-idealized' manner that rejects the warmth and painterly qualities of his Bolognese period for a style indebted to ancient sculpture and to Raphael. Still neither ancient reliefs nor Raphael crowded their pictorial fields in this way", says Ann Sutherland Harris; the painting follows the iconographic tradition concerning the depiction of the Assumption in Western art. John the Evangelist is portrayed as a beardless young man among bearded apostles. One member of the angelic retinue can be identified as Archangel Michael who lifted up Mary's body to heaven. An apostle on the right is looking at the grave linens and the roses that were found in the empty sarcophagus. On the other hand the prominent position of the principes apostolorum is a nod to local sensitivities.
Mary seems to be projecting forward rather than upwards. It is a device that compensates for the confined environment and the rather low position of the altar. In this way, the Assumption meets the observer far beyond the narrow space of the Cerasi Chapel, ensuring its visibility from the transept, an ideal space for the continuation of Mary's motion; the dynamism, the emotional charge and the integration of the painting into real space are innovative elements which make the panel unequaled among the contemporary altarpieces produced in Rome. A supposed model for the central figure is the Virgin of the Assumption by Giuseppe Valeriano and Scipione Pulzone in the Church of the Gesù. An more important antecedent for the panel is the Transfiguration of Raphael, a masterpiece that Carracci much loved and studied; that Carracci took inspiration for the lighting - a strong spotlight effect giving a sculptural look to the forms - from Raphael, becomes clear if compare the figure of Saint Peter with the Saint Peter in the same location on the Transfiguration.
The Assumption of the Virgin by Titian was another great Renaissance painting that may have influenced Carracci while working on the same subject regarding the heads
Butcher's Shop is the title of two paintings by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci, both dating from the early 1580s. They are now in the collections of Christ Church Picture Gallery and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; the paintings are connected to the contemporary Beaneater, as they are early examples of Italian genre painting. The large size of the Christ Church painting is exceptional for such a subject at this date, it has been suggested they were commissioned by a butcher's guild, or for use as a sign. Carracci was influenced in his depiction of everyday life subjects by Vincenzo Campi and Bartolomeo Passarotti, whom the Butcher's Shop was attributed to. Carracci's ability to adapt his style is demonstrated, making it "lower" when concerning "lower", quasi-satirical subjects like the Mangiafagioli and the Butcher's Shop, while in his more academic works he was able to use a more finished manner with the same ease, it is claimed. Significant alterations to some figures are revealed by X-rays, the hand on the edge of the table, now belonging to the old woman, though not in proportion with the rest of her, may have belonged to the butcher to the right of her.
The Christ Church painting was in the collections of the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua and Charles I of England. Raw Painting, The Butchers Shop, Yale University Press The Butchers Shop Theme and Critical Reception The Butchers Shop Theme, Oxford University PressJournals
Deianira, Deïanira, or Deianeira known as Dejanira, was a Calydonian princess in Greek mythology whose name translated as "man-destroyer" or "destroyer of her husband". She was the wife of Heracles and, in late Classical accounts, his unwitting murderer, killing him with the poisoned Shirt of Nessus, she is the main character in Sophocles' play Women of Trachis. Deianira was the daughter of Althaea and her husband Oeneus, the king of Calydon, the half-sister of Meleager, her other siblings were Toxeus, Periphas, Thyreus, Gorge and Melanippe. In some accounts, Deianira was the daughter of King Dexamenus of Olenus and thus, sister to Eurypylus and Theraephon. Others called this daughter of Dexamenus as Hippolyte. Deianira became the mother of Hyllus, Onites and Macaria who saved the Athenians from defeat by Eurystheus. In Sophocles' account of Deianira's marriage, she was courted by the river god Achelous but saved from having to marry him by Heracles, who defeated Achelous in a wrestling contest for her hand in marriage.
In another version of the tale where she was described as the daughter of Dexamenus, Heracles raped her and promised to come back and marry her. While he was away, the centaur Eurytion demanded her as his wife, her father being afraid, agreed but Heracles returning before the marriage had slayed the centaur and claimed his bride. Deianira was associated with combat, was described as someone who "drove a chariot and practiced the art of war." Robert Graves interpreted the association with war as a relationship with the pre-Olympian war goddess, an orgiastic bride in many local sacred marriages to kings who may have been sacrificed. The central story about Deianira concerns the Tunic of Nessus. A wild centaur named Nessus attempted to kidnap or rape Deianira as he was ferrying her across the river Euenos, but she was rescued by Heracles, who shot the centaur with a poisoned arrow; as he lay dying, Nessus persuaded Deianira to take a sample of his blood, telling her that a potion of it mixed with olive oil would ensure that Heracles would never again be unfaithful.
Deianira kept a little of the potion by her. Heracles fathered illegitimate children all across Greece and fell in love with Iole; when Deianira thus feared that her husband would leave her forever, she smeared some of the blood on Heracles' famous lionskin shirt. Heracles' servant, brought him the shirt and he put it on; the centaur's toxic blood burned Heracles and he threw himself into a funeral pyre. In despair, Deianira committed suicide with a sword. Hesiod, Catalogue of Women fr. 2 5 Ovid, Heroides 9 Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.101-238 Harry Thurston Peck, Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, 1898 Graves, The Greek Myths, 1955, 142.ff, 142.2,3,5
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni or more known by his first name Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter and poet of the High Renaissance born in the Republic of Florence, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered by many the greatest artist of his lifetime, by some the greatest artist of all time, his artistic versatility was of such a high order that he is considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival, the fellow Florentine and client of the Medici, Leonardo da Vinci. A number of Michelangelo's works of painting and architecture rank among the most famous in existence, his output in these fields was prodigious. He sculpted two of the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty. Despite holding a low opinion of painting, he created two of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, The Last Judgment on its altar wall.
His design of the Laurentian Library pioneered Mannerist architecture. At the age of 74, he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter's Basilica, he transformed the plan so that the western end was finished to his design, as was the dome, with some modification, after his death. Michelangelo was the first Western artist. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime. One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that Michelangelo's work transcended that of any artist living or dead, was "supreme in not one art alone but in all three". In his lifetime, Michelangelo was called Il Divino, his contemporaries admired his terribilità—his ability to instil a sense of awe. Attempts by subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned personal style resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance. Michelangelo was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese, known today as Caprese Michelangelo, a small town situated in Valtiberina, near Arezzo, Tuscany.
For several generations, his family had been small-scale bankers in Florence. At the time of Michelangelo's birth, his father was the town's Judicial administrator and podestà or local administrator of Chiusi della Verna. Michelangelo's mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena; the Buonarrotis claimed to descend from the Countess Mathilde of Canossa—a claim that remains unproven, but which Michelangelo believed. Several months after Michelangelo's birth, the family returned to Florence. During his mother's prolonged illness, after her death in 1481, Michelangelo lived with a nanny and her husband, a stonecutter, in the town of Settignano, where his father owned a marble quarry and a small farm. There he gained his love for marble; as Giorgio Vasari quotes him: "If there is some good in me, it is because I was born in the subtle atmosphere of your country of Arezzo. Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer, with which I make my figures." As a young boy, Michelangelo was sent to Florence to study grammar under the Humanist Francesco da Urbino.
However, he showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of other painters. The city of Florence was at that time Italy's greatest centre of learning. Art was sponsored by the Signoria, the merchant guilds, wealthy patrons such as the Medici and their banking associates; the Renaissance, a renewal of Classical scholarship and the arts, had its first flowering in Florence. In the early 15th century, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, having studied the remains of Classical buildings in Rome, had created two churches, San Lorenzo's and Santo Spirito, which embodied the Classical precepts; the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti had laboured for fifty years to create the bronze doors of the Baptistry, which Michelangelo was to describe as "The Gates of Paradise". The exterior niches of the Church of Orsanmichele contained a gallery of works by the most acclaimed sculptors of Florence: Donatello, Andrea del Verrocchio, Nanni di Banco; the interiors of the older churches were covered with frescos, begun by Giotto and continued by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel, both of whose works Michelangelo studied and copied in drawings.
During Michelangelo's childhood, a team of painters had been called from Florence to the Vatican to decorate the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Among them was Domenico Ghirlandaio, a master in fresco painting, figure drawing and portraiture who had the largest workshop in Florence. In 1488, at age 13, Michelangelo was apprenticed to Ghirlandaio; the next year, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay Michelangelo as an artist, rare for someone of fourteen. When in 1489, Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy the Medici had founded along Neo-Platonic lines. There his work and outlook were influenced by many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day, including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. At th
Venus, Adonis and Cupid
Venus and Cupid is a painting created c. 1595 by Annibale Carracci. The painting is in the Museo del Madrid. Annibale Carracci was one of the most well known Italian Baroque painters of the seventeenth century; the Carracci brothers established an academy of art called Accademia degli Incamminati, which pioneered the development of Bolognese Painting. Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio were among the most influential artists of this century, who through their unique artistic styles led to the transition from Mannerist to Baroque. Annibale was born in Bologna in 1560 and died in Rome in 1609. Venus and Cupid illustrates the influence of known artists such as Titian, Veronese, as well as ancient Greek sculptures. Venus and Cupid has three main figures, arranged in a forest landscape: Venus holding Cupid who points at her and Venus looking at Adonis across from her as Adonis looks back. Adonis is accompanied by his hunting dogs as he reveals Venus; the painting is arranged diagonally, with fine brushstrokes giving it a naturalistic look.
The colors are muted throughout most of the piece but vivid in the figures, drawing the viewer's attention. This composition is influenced by Veronese; the myth of Venus and Adonis was first told in Ovid's Metamorphosis: Book X. This is the most accepted version of the myth. Adonis was a handsome young man, more beautiful than the Gods, although his creation was from an incestuous union. Venus was playing with her son Cupid in the woods and was punctured in the chest by one of his arrows; the wound was deeper than she thought, before it healed she witnessed Adonis. She fell passionately in love with him and forgot about her other lovers and her life on Olympus, she helped him with his hunting, dressing like Diana. She warned him. Do not be foolish, beware of endangering me, do not provoke the creatures nature has armed, lest your glory is to my great cost." When Venus left by her swans to the skies, Adonis was killed. She fled to his aid but was too late so she turned his blood into a flower, which would bloom each year to remind her of her grief and their love.
Venus and Cupid illustrates Ovid's myth. Annibale captures the scene; the blood from Cupid's arrow can still be seen on Venus's chest. The scene eliminates the dramatic and narrative elements and focuses on the emotional ones, portrayed through gestures and eye contact; the "sensuality of the encounter is conveyed through the three dimensionality of the volumes and the gentle chiaroscuro" seen in Venus. Annibale was influenced by Correggio in this element, as well as the use of gestures to engage the viewer; the scene is directly correlated with Titian's poesia, a series of mythological paintings for Felipe II, among them Venus and Adonis. The use of the three figures as well as the poetic interpretation of the myth is reminiscent of Titian's painting. Annibale crosses the realm of artistic style between realism and ideal classicalism in this painting, his earlier works, such as The Bean Eater, reflect just one of Annibale's impressive range of artwork and his ability to produce realistic works.
He paints genre scenes, portraits, mythological/classical scenes, as well as caricatures and religious commissions. The figures of Venus and Cupid are detailed and have a classical element, as seen in works by Michelangelo and Raphael; the bodies of Cupid and Venus are twisted and the entire composition has a diagonal theme. Venus and Cupid are nude, while Adonis is draped in animal skins that reflect his nature as a hunter, he has a blue drape blowing in the wind and a yellow drapery across his body and he carries a bow and quiver in his left hand. In Ancient Greece, Aphrodite, or Venus, was always portrayed nude, one of the key attributes that distinguish her as the goddess of love. Other female sculptures of the time were clothed. Adonis and Venus are looking at each other, increasing the emotional tension of the scene and cupid is looking at us as if inviting the viewer into the scene, his hand appears to be pointing towards Venus at the wound in her chest. Cupid is holding the arrow that pierced the wound still evident in the middle of her chest.
Cupid still has his baby fat and is chubby looking, whereas Adonis has a young muscular body, characteristic of heroic male nudes of ancient Greek sculpture. His work on the Farnese Gallery ceiling incorporates these stylistic elements: the use of the diagonal, the full classical bodies with flowing locks of hair, the partial nudity clad in drapery. Annibale spent many years in Rome studying Greek Sculpture, he was fascinated with Lacoon and his Sons and wrote to his brother about it. Venus's "voluptuous body" is drawn from Titian's ability to paint female nudes as seen in Venus and Adonis. Venus and Adonis by Titian shows a nude Venus clinging to Adonis, with them directly looking at each other. Cupid is with a simple landscape and Adonis holding the dogs. Annibale draws the idea of a landscape behind the main composition from Titian as well. In Annibale's version, Adonis moves away the bushes to reveal Venus and his hair is blowing into the wind, reflected in Cupid and Venus; the golden curls drawn from classical art portrayals.
The background of the painting is hard to distinguish due to the contrasts between the figures and the background. The figures are the primary pop out of the scene; this use of contrast is a typical stylistic convention of the Baroque era. The background is detailed, depicting trees, leaves, a
The Labours of Hercules
The Labours of Hercules is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the US by Dodd and Company in 1947 and in the UK by Collins Crime Club in September of the same year. The US edition retailed at the UK edition at eight shillings and sixpence, it features Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, gives an account of twelve cases with which he intends to close his career as a private detective. His regular associates make cameo appearances; the stories were all first published in periodicals between 1939 and 1947. In the Foreword to the volume, Poirot declares that he will choose the cases to conform to the mythological sequence of the Twelve Labours of Hercules. In some cases the connection is a tenuous one, while in others the choice of case is more or less forced upon Poirot by circumstances. By the end, The Capture of Cerberus has events that correspond with the twelfth labour with self-satirical convenience. Hercule Poirot is enjoying a social visit by Dr. Burton, a fellow of All Souls who recites sonorously some lines from Homer's Iliad and turns the conversation round to the subject of Poirot's unusual Christian name and how some of the pagan names parents give to their children do not suit their recipients.
He thinks about Poirot's and Sherlock Holmes's mothers sitting together and discussing names for their children. Poirot claims ignorance of the legend of Hercules; the talk turns to Poirot's intention to retire after completing a few cases of interest and personal appeal and Burton laughingly refers to the twelve labours of Hercules. This comment gives Poirot pause for thought and after his visitor has gone, Poirot gets acquainted with the exploits of his legendary namesake, deciding his final cases will mimic Hercules's Twelve Labours. Miss Lemon, Poirot's secretary, finds the first of the labours in a letter from a bluff outspoken businessman, Sir Joseph Hoggin, whose wife's Pekingese dog has been kidnapped. Poirot meets Hoggin, who tells him the dog was taken a week ago but returned for a ransom of two hundred pounds. Hoggin would have left the matter there but for the fact that the same thing had happened to an acquaintance at his club. Poirot meets the petulant Lady Hoggin and her put-upon companion, Miss Amy Carnaby, frightened of her employer.
Miss Carnaby took the yapping dog, Shan-Tung, for his walk in the park and she stopped to admire a baby in the pram. When she looked down, someone had cut the dog's leash and it had been taken. A ransom note said to leave the money in notes in an envelope for a Captain Curtis at an address in Bloomsbury. Poirot begins his investigations. Having ascertained the name of Miss Carnaby's previous employer, Lady Hartingfield who died a year before, he visits her niece who confirms Lady Hoggin's view of Miss Carnaby's lack of intellect but essential good qualities, looking after an invalid sister and being good with dogs, so much so that Lady Hartingfield left her Pekingese to her. Poirot interviews the park keeper, he investigates the address where the ransom money was sent to and finds it is a cheap hotel where letters are left for non-residents. His third visit is to the wife of the man Hoggin met at his club who gives a similar story to that told by Lady Hoggin as to the method of kidnap and ransom demand.
His last visit is back to Sir Joseph to report on progress where he observes that Sir Joseph's relationship with his blond secretary is not on a professional level. Poirot sends his valet out investigating and finds an address which confirms Poirot's suspicions of where it would be and what he would find there. Poirot finds Miss Carnaby, her invalid sister, Emily and a Pekingese dog, Augustus, they are part of a scam run by women who are companions to ungrateful ladies. These women will be cast adrift when they get older; the dog, taken out for a walk is their own, let off his lead and is able to find his way back to the sister's flat unaided, thus providing witnesses to the'crime'. The'subject' of the kidnap is held at the sister's flat and their owner told of the ransom. Quite it is the companion, sent out with the envelope of pound notes which goes into a general pool for all the companions involved in the scheme. Miss Carnaby feels guilty for her crime but excuses it on the basis of the way they are treated by their employers – only the other day Lady Hoggin accused her of tampering with her tonic as it tasted unpleasant.
Poirot tells them their activities must stop and that the money must be returned to Lady Hoggin although he is sure that he will be able to persuade her husband not to involve the police. Poirot meets Sir Joseph and offers two alternatives: prosecute the criminal, in which case he will lose his money, or just take the money and call the case closed; the greedy Sir Joseph takes Poirot's cheque. The detective turns the conversation round to murder cases and tells a rattled Sir Joseph that he reminds him of a Belgian murderer who poisoned his wife to marry his secretary. Poirot's meaning is quite clear and the shaken man gives Poirot his cheque back, telling him to keep the money. Poirot sends it back to the Misses Carnaby, telling them that it is the final contribution to their fund before it is wound up. Meanwhile, Lady Hoggin tells her relieved husband. Poirot is asked for help by a physician, Dr Charles Oldfield, who has a practice in Market Loughborough, a small village in Berkshire, his wife died j