Keeping up my summer tradition of an Agatha Christie re-read I picked up Miss Marple: the Complete Short Stories. Hercule Poirot has always been my favorite Christie sleuth – it must be the Virgo in me that loves his precise mode of detection. I like a few of the Miss Marple novels, but wasn’t as familiar with the short stories.
What’s great about Christie is that her books, no matter how intricately plotted, are (like Stephen King’s) character-driven. So, even if you have read them before and vaguely remember whodunnit, there is pleasure in the re-read, as the people are still interesting. The majority of the stories come from the collection The Thirteen Problems, where Miss Marple and friends tell each other crime stories that had unusual outcomes or none at all and try to get each other to guess the correct solution. It will be no spoiler to say that Miss Marple is quietly able to suggest the perfect solution to each crime every time. The other advantage to a book of this kind is that the reader can get through one mystery in rather rapid time, but be able to pick it up and put it down without feeling a need to rush to the ending for a solution, or feel a bit cheated if they forgot a clue planted in an early chapter.
In an author’s forward that was originally included with The Thirteen Problems, Agatha Christie states that she believes that Miss Marple is perfectly suited to the short story. I have to agree with her.
You can read more of my reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e