Welcome one and all to the inaugural go-around of my new feature, Mondays with Marple. It’s a bit self-explanatory really. I read a book featuring Agatha Christie’s gardening, knitting, amateur sleuth extraordinairre, then tell you about it. On a Monday.
I decided to begin Mondays with Marple as I really hadn’t got into any of Christie’s Marple mysteries, being, as I am, more of a Poirot fan. So this is only the second Marple I’ve read, the first being A Murder is Announced, for the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge in which I participated last year.
So, to start at the beginning, with Miss Marple’s first case, I present to you my thoughts on The Murder at the Vicarage.
After uttering the supposedly throw-away remark that “anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world a large service”, St Mary Mead vicar Len Clement is chagrined to discover that in a matter of days, someone has done just that. In Len’s own study, no less. Now there’s a turn up for the books! Now it’s up to Len, the local constabulary, and one elderly neighbourhood spinster to put their heads together to uncover which of the many worthy suspects could have commited such a dastardly deed – human nature being what it is, of course.
The Usual Suspects: (basically, who’s in the book…)
The unassuming and well-intentioned vicar (our narrator), his younger, attractive wife, the vague, head-in-the-clouds (or is she?) daughter of the deceased, the handsome, man-about-town artist, the wife of the deceased (wife number two), the village doctor with humanitarian ideals, the collection of gossipy old ducks, the visiting archaeologist and his delightful young secretary…and of course, the obstinate, overbearing Inspector and his foil.
Level of Carnage:
Only one murder in this book. Shame really. I quite enjoy the Christie’s that have multiple murders.
Level 0f Wiley-Tricksy-ness of the Plot:
As usual, I fell for all the red herrings. Honestly, you’d think I’d be able to pick the ending at least once, but nope. She’s too good. This one is satisfyingly complex, with enough clues dropped out to make you think you might have it before the final reveal….but you’ll probably be wrong!
4 out of 5 knitting needles…mainly because I enjoyed the voice of Len Clements as the narrator. I would have liked to have seen Miss Marple make more of an appearance, but I’m sure that will happen more within the later books.
In closing, here is a picture that I found on the interwebs that I think is both highly amusing and appropriate to this post. Enjoy.
Until next time,