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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]