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[290] Murder at the Vicarage – Agatha Christie

You see, living alone as I do, in a rather out of the way part of the world, one has to have a hobby. There is, of course, woolwork, and Guides, and Welfare, and sketching, but my hobby is—and always has been—Human Nature. So varied—and so very fascinating. And, of course, in a small village, with nothing to distract one, one has such ample opportunity for becoming what I might call proficient in one’s study.” –Miss Jane Marple

Indeed, Miss Jane Marple makes her shining entrance to solving the mystery of Colonel Protheroe’s death at the vicarage of St. Mary Mead. The quaint and quiet town hasn’t seen a murder for ages. When the Colonel is found dead from a single gun-shot wound to the head, everyone is agog with curiosity at the manifestation of crime, but not that the Colonel has been the fallen victim.

Though there are people all about, no one heard a shot from the house. No one saw anyone go near the study. The maid let him in just fifteen minutes before the body was discovered. Two false confessions quickly muddy up the waters, and it is discovered that suspects abound—almost everyone—the Colonel’s unhappy wife, his ex-wife, his daughter, a visiting philandering artist, an embittered poacher, the vicar, his young flirtatious wife, and the vicar’s maid—had a motive for killing the good Colonel, except Miss Marple, who, if truth were told, didn’t like him very well either. The intricacies are many, timetables are crucial, but Miss Marple is up to the test.

Strangely, everyone seems to have an iron alibi but at the same time has something to hide. I even ventured to think that everyone takes part in the murder, like in one of Christie’s classics, since there are plenty of red herrings in this one. But I was wrong!

287 pp. Black Dog & Leventhal Hardback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]

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26 Responses

  1. This is on my list of summertime reading! I am ashamed to say that I have never read Agatha Christie, but I am looking forward to making Miss Marple’s acquaintance 🙂

  2. I love Jane Marple – slightly eccentric, old fashioned but oh so clever! I just read Carola Dunn Manna from Hades – similar style – set in Cornwall.

  3. Wonderful book. Jane Marple is a lot more pleasurable than Hercule.

  4. Your intro to this one drew me in immediately. On my list this one goes. Thanks Matt!

  5. I read this a few years ago when I got it into my head to read all the Agatha Christie novels in order. I thought it was pretty fun, but I didn’t really care for Marple as a character… she just annoyed me for some reason or the other. I guess I’m more of a Poirot girl!

    • Some readers find Poirot annoying as well, so I suppose it’s different strokes for different folks. Miss Marple is also very intuitive. This one is fun to read because I thought (seriously) everyone took part in the murder!

  6. I have tried to get into Agatha Christie but for some reason I never succeed. Maybe someday I’ll have to give it another try.

  7. I’ve never read one of the Miss Marple mysteries by Christie. Sounds like I need to.

  8. Classic Christie! A great review — very piquant. You’re whetting my appetite, since I haven’t read this one.

  9. I like mysteries with dozens of suspects. It’s much more fun than some of those ones where the person killed was much beloved and everyone says “didn’t have an enemy in the world”. I like to feel people have got what they deserved. :p

    • Oh this one would suits your appetite. Everyone in the village is a suspect because they all have something to hide. It’s a clever mystery.

  10. You might like to submit this post to the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival (I’ve linked the Carnival to my name) Submission site is at http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_6057.html

  11. I picked up a ton of Christie books at my library sale…this one sounds wonderful and I know that at some point in my life I will read it!

    • I am also hunting for all the Agatha Christie titles. I have read most of the Poirot series and so I am starting to read Miss Marple.

  12. I’m reading this one right now! It’s my first Miss Marple mystery and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m stumped as well. I feel like I need a flow chart diagram to keep all the facts straight, but oh well, better to just sit back and enjoy the show! 🙂

  13. I remember this one…one of Christie’s finest, though I must say I love them all 🙂

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