In Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Three Act Tragedy, the actress Angela Sutcliffe is being interviewed about the death of Stephen Babbington, vicar of St. Petroch’s church, Loomouth:
“Dear old man, did they think I’d had an affair with him? Archdeacons are sometimes very naughty, aren’t they? So why not vicars? There’s the man in the barrel, isn’t there? But I must clear the poor man’s memory. I’d never seen him before in my life.”
Agatha Christie (1934). Three Act Tragedy, chapter 20. London: Collins.
Who is ‘the man in the barrel’ here? The most well-known crime involving a barrel is the killing of Benedetto Madonia by a New York mafia gang in 1903, but this does not seem to have involved any members of the clergy.