Mordant Wit and Medicine

Agatha Christie
The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side (1962)

A comment on clinical practice …

“The young doctors are all the same,” said Miss Marple. “They take your blood pressure, and whatever’s the matter with you, you get some kind of mass produced variety of new pills. Pink ones, yellow ones, brown ones. Medicine nowadays is just like a supermarket — all packaged up.”

[Her old friend and old-style physician, Dr. Haydock replies]

“Serve you right if I prescribed leeches […]”

Supermarkets (“anathema to the elderly ladies of St. Mary Mead) rate a poor opinion earlier in the novel (“takes a quarter of an hour sometimes to find all one wants –and usually made up in inconvenient sizes, too much or too little. And then a long queue waiting to pay as you go out.” And this earlier passage is recalled by the reader and gives considerable bite to the comment about young doctors and supermarkets.

I have yet to find a doctor prescribing an Agatha Christie novel but Dr. Haydock comes closest in suggesting that Miss Marple needs a mystery to unravel…

And so for day 3012
11.03.2015

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