Friday, 14 June 2013

The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie

Harper Collins, 2007 (1930)

Nobody was surprised when Colonel Protheroe was found shot to death. He had earned the hatred of almost everyone in the village. After three suspects confess, Miss Marple unravels the knots.

After the disappointment of The Moving Finger (a Marple without much Marple, a bit like a chocolate cake where you forget to put the cocoa in), I decided to give Christie's unassuming amateur detective one more try. As a Poirot fan, I have never warmed to the Marple mysteries so much, but this one was classic Christie.

Narrated by the vicar of St. Mary Mead, events begin to unfold after a body is found in the vicarage's study. As with any Christie novel worth its salt, there are numerous suspects - the second wife, the flighty daughter, the handsome artist, the poacher, a whole raft of housekeepers and clergy and mysterious newcomers to the village.The vicar, by virtue of his good standing in the village, manages to get in on most of the police investigation (like you do), but it is Miss Marple who holds the key to this crime, using nothing but her skills of logic and deduction - not to mention her knowledge of human nature. Miss Marple isn't affiliated with the police, and neither is she a professional detective. Instead, she is simply a study of other humans, using her experiences with real people to fathom out the likely solution to this mystery.

I thought I'd figured out this mystery quite early on, which is a thought I normally have when reading Christie, only to be proved devastatingly wrong at the end. This time, I had actually figured out an aspect of the mystery correctly, but the perpetrator of the actual crime still eluded me. This is the first mystery featuring Miss Marple, and on the back of this I have warmed to the character somewhat, and am looking forward to more of her (sedate) adventures.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Book source: Borrowed from my stepmum.

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