Why should blood on the floor make anyone mad against automobiles and telephones and desks. Why. This is what happened. There were dogs in the house but they were no bother. Listen carefully.’
In the spring of 1933 Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were living in their country house at Bilignin, France. With money earned from the best-selling ‘Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas’ they installed electricity, had a telephone put in their house and bought a large car. But with these improvements came trouble. Servants came and went. Finally a man named Jean and his Polish wife were employed. A friend came to stay, but her car was tampered with and the telephone no longer worked. The servants were dismissed. Later that summer in nearby Belley, Madame Pernollet was found sprawled on the courtyard of her husband’s hotel. Five days later she was dead. Was it an accident? Suicide? Murder? As Alice B. Toklas said, ‘there was no denying one could become accustomed to murdering…’.