Monday, April 18, 2011

Mystery Mondays: Agatha Christie's Miss Marple Mystery Series

From Becky's Book Reviews
By The Woman in the Woods

I have been a fan of Agatha Christie mystery novels since I was a teen, and her Miss Marple character has always been my favorite.  The elderly spinster from the small English villiage of St. Mary Mead with the gentle manner and keen observation skills was featured in twelve novels as well as a number of short stories.  She made her first published appearance in the short story "The Tuesday Night Club" in 1927.  The Murder at the Vicarage from 1930 was the first of the Miss Marple novels.  Sleeping Murder, which was written around 1940 but not published until 1976 after Agatha Christie's death at her request, was the last of the novels.  The following is a list of works featuring Miss Marple:

  1. The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
  2. The Body in the Library (1942)
  3. The Moving Finger (1943)
  4. A Murder Is Announced (1950)
  5. They Do It with Mirrors, or Murder with Mirrors (1952)
  6. A Pocket Full of Rye (1953)
  7. 4:50 from Paddington, or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! (1957)
  8. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, or The Mirror Crack'd (1962)
  9. A Caribbean Mystery (1964)
  10. At Bertram's Hotel (1965)
  11. Nemesis (1971)
  12. Sleeping Murder (written about 1940, published 1976)
Short Stories:
  1. "The Tuesday Night Club" (1927) published in The Royal Magazine
  2. The Thirteen Problems (1932) short story collection
  3. Three Blind Mice (1950) contains four Miss Marple short stories ("Strange Jest", "Tape-Measure Murder", "The Case of the Caretaker", "The Case of the Perfect Maid")
  4. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960) contains one Miss Marple short story ("Greenshaw's Folly")
  5. Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories (1979) contains six Miss Marple short stories
Miss Jane Marple's skill as a detective is based upon her knowledge of human nature, acquired over a lifetime of living in and observing the inhabitants of her little village.  According to Miss Marple, human nature is the same everywhere, and she can always find a parallel for any situation from her vast store of knowledge about village behavior.  Agatha Christie's ability to combine delightful details about ordinary life in a typical British setting with a clever murder plot works well for the Miss Marple mysteries, and this series is an enduring classic which is always enjoyable to read and reread.

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