What can I say about Miss Marple that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. Never ignore the little old lady with the knitting needles. After getting suckered punched in the gut recently by the Electoral College, my husband and I were looking for something soothing to watch on TV. Since we are all caught up on the Great British Baking Show, we went for Murder She Wrote. There is a lot going on in that show, more than I can unpack in this review. But you should check it out just to see how vastly different the world is now.
Seeing Jessica Fletcher stroll in and destroy crime scenes in sensible pumps reminded me that there were Christie novels that I had not gotten around to reading yet. I picked up the Marple short stories because Jessica is obviously based on a blend of Agatha herself and her most famous lady detective. And much like watching lovely British people fuss around with swiss rolls, this book is as comforting as a nice cup of tea in front of the fireplace.
Ms. Marple hasn’t gone anywhere or done anything remarkable. She lives peacefully in the small village of Saint Mary’s Mead and knits and bakes. However, she also has a sharp mind and deep understanding of human nature. These skills help her be very good at solving mysteries.
The first thirteen stories are based around a dinner party that Miss Marple’s nephew is hosting. Each guest tells of a mystery that they are familiar with and the guests try to guess what really happened.
They are a snapshot of a simple kind of life with mostly kind people who sure know a lot of bloodthirsty murderers. The reasons why people kill are pretty basic. Money, love or lust. Miss Marple’s insights into the people are pretty wicked and a reflection of the dark views Christie had about marriage and aging.
There isn’t much to say about the stories as to talk about them individually is to take away some of the fun of reading the book. The stories are short, Miss Marple is delightful and the real world is currently a cold dark place. Cozy up with some comforting beverages and revel in the gruesome deaths of many a lovely Brit.