Jennifer Fortescue, usually known as 'Mrs. Val' is the very bored wife Mr. Percivale Fortescue and a leading suspect in A Pocket Full of Rye. A former hospital nurse Percivale apparently fell in love with her after she pulled him through a serious illness and proposed marriage. Rex Fortescue, a thorough going snob, despises his daughter in law and she thoroughly dislikes him in return - which gives her a motive for murder if an unlikely one given that the younger Fortescues are due to move into a house of their own quite soon.
A much better motive presents itself when the police uncover evidence that Jennifer is in fact the daughter of a former partner of Rex Fortescue who he left to die in the wilds of South Africa.
Mrs. Val's chief interests are shopping and goint to the cinema. Unfortunately her husband keeps her shorter of money than she'd like