When I was a kid, I read a lot of Agatha Christie – although, racking my brain, it’s telling me that the ones I read mostly featured Hercule Poirot, and so I’m fairly certain that this was my first Miss Marple. And you know what? I really quite enjoyed it! This probably means that it’s finally time for me to hang up my leather jacket and put on a twinset instead.
St Mary Mead is a small village where nothing much happens – or so it initially seems. But when Colonel Protheroe is found murdered in the vicarage study – a death that has been expressly wished for by most people inhabiting the village as the Colonel is a deeply unpleasant and irritating man – everyone’s finally got something to talk about. And in a case littered with multiple confessions, red herrings and police who’ll happily discuss the important facts of the case with anyone who’s interested – even going so far as to let some of them take the investigative lead – it’s down to the village busy-body to use her powers of nosiness to sort it all out.
While there are a few flaws – we don’t really see any action at all, but are rather told about it afterwards as characters narrate their witness statements to others, and it’s not really a mystery you can play along with to solve yourself, due to lacking many facts (unlike Miss Marple, who knows everything, and who can also be quite the cutting bitch at times, something I wholeheartedly approve of) – it was solidly entertaining, helped no doubt by the rather snarky vicar who is our narrator.
These aren’t must-read books by any stretch of the imagination, but in a week of being woken before dawn by my diva-like cats, it was a cosy and undemanding enough way to spend some time.