Agatha Christie Readathon: The Murder at the Vicarage

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Time for our fourth, and final book for the month, a quick reminder…..

The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😒 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 πŸͺΒ !

Now, onto the review!

poirot

 

 

Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

The Murder at the Vicarage

A Miss Marple Mystery

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple” series. As such, it made perfect sense that the story would revolve around the Vicar, who’s home in which the murder took place .

The story is slow to begin as the characters, of which there are quite a few, are introduced to the reader. As this is a small town, or village, everyone is overly involved in one another’s business. It took some time to understand those intimate relationships and to describe the crime in detail. However, once the true investigation begins, the story moves at a quicker pace.

The story is told from the Vicar’s point of view and he is somewhat of an amateur sleuth himself. Indeed, it seems the actual authorities are rather blind to a number of clues and important inferences, which makes me wonder how they got their jobs in the first place!

While the professional investigators are searching for the easiest explanation, the Vicar and Miss Marple are looking for the answers that makes sense, given the facts they have. This is made all the more complicated by the busy bodies and gossip hounds which cloud the facts by withholding information and elaborating details that may or may not be real. Ultimately it is “old Miss Marple” that sees through the deceptions of the culprits and weaves the fragmented truths together.

I do wish that this had been the first of the Miss Marple stories that I had read. I feel this was a great introduction to her character and her keen sense of observational powers. I can completely buy into her position as a supporting character, turned hero at the end when she is the one who puts it all together. I would expect that, as the series continues, Miss Marple would have a greater involvement in solving the future mysteries that seems to be in abundance in this tiny community. Having already completed “The body in the Library”, I do know that the series does not play out that way.Β Still, I do recommend “The Murder at the Vicarage” as a clever example of Agatha Christie’s excellent writing style!

Thank you Jay, for expanding my literary boundaries! So glad we went on this journey together my friend πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•!

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Agatha Christie Readathon: The Body in the Library

IMG_6296

Time for our third book for the month, a quick reminder…..

The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😒 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 πŸͺΒ !

poirot

Now, onto the review!

 

Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

The Body in the Library

A Miss Marple Mystery

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Bantrys are a wealthy, upper class couple enjoying their social status, when they get the shock of their lives. The dead body of a young, blond woman is found on the hearthrug in their library. Who is she? Why is she in the Bantry’s library and who killed her? People begin to talk, naturally they believe Colonel Bantry must be involved, why else would a young woman be in his home?

The gossip mill is out of control and Mrs. Bantry looks to do some serious damage control. She calls for her friend and village busy body, Miss Marple. Jane Marple, the village spinster, is dialed into everyone’s business, and is a human lie detector. Her many years of observing her neighbors’ behavior has left her with the uncanny knack of seeing Β connections that others miss. She delves into the lives of local dancers, film makers and bridge players in order to find the truth, to identify the girl, and learn the truth of her death. Of course the police have it all wrong and Miss Marple sets it right!

My Observations:

This was a tough one for me. I have no trouble believing that the elder woman is clever, astute and observant. Jane Marple could easily be a brilliant detective. And, I appreciate that Ms. Christie created such a literary character during an age when an older woman would never be cast in that light. However, I struggled with this novel. I was immediately turned off by the gossipy nature of the story. Probably because it mirrors real life, even present tense, too closely. The majority of Miss Marple’s intel was pure hearsay, and she seemed to pick and choose at random, which “facts” were to be believed and which were summarily discarded. She really had a small role in the story, as the police and inspectors were the ones conducting the actual investigation. Miss Marple would just pop in every so often to make a comparison to someone she used to know in the village. From that one example of human behavior, she would negate all the facts. To draw such powerful and apparently, always correct inferences was a bit of a stretch for me. These inconsistencies made the ending difficult for me, as I felt it was borne from a fragmented line of reasoning.

I found it entertaining, and I do love reading the language of the time. I have already read a third of the next novel “The Murder at the Vicarage” and am hopeful that I might find it a more believable story. It may just be that this series is too much of a suspension of belief for me. Β πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•