February 2, 2022: I noticed on Goodreads there’s a link to a supposedly free Kindle version of this book. It does not take you to it but to some random ghost story by someone I have never heard of. Also my own library does not have this one in stock. I bought this paperback version back in 2019 in order to complete my Miss Marple reads. Of course I read this one towards the end of my reading of the series and am glad now that I have read it in the order I was supposed to. If anyone is looking for this though, you may want to check for it under its other known name “The Tuesday Club Murders”.
In this collection of short stories you not only get a sense of Miss Marple as a character, but a sense of what others initially think of her, and how their opinions has changed over the years. Initially seen as being very Victorian by others, Miss Marple comes into her own in these stories and you see how shrewd she really is. One wonders if Miss Marple had been a man, would she have ended up working for Scotland Yard. The number of people who ended up going to her through the years to solve murders ends up being a lot.
We also get a look at Miss Marple’s nephew (who was a pain) and he is referred to in other works. But we also get a look at other characters who appear again like Dolly, her husband Colonel Bantry, and Sir Henry Clithering.
All though this is still a favorite of mine, some of the stories didn’t work for me this time through. I ended up not really enjoying the The Idol House of Astarte, Ingots of Gold, or the Affair at the Bungalow.
Original review: I bought this book in paperback a while ago and though I had started some of the stories, I never got around to finishing it in one good. Not because I didn’t love it or anything, I just got busy with other books. I thought this was an overall great short story collection featuring Miss Marple and some familiar characters like her nephew Raymond West and her close friend Mrs. Dolly Bantry.
The overall book is about how a group of people who get together every Tuesday night will tell a true story of a crime with people guessing who dun it and why. Initially Miss Marple is dismissed by her nephew and others, but of course us long time Miss Marple fans know that she’s quite shrewd and is one of the best amateur sleuths out there! Then the collection shifts to another night where mysteries are told with the last story taking place in the “present” with Miss Marple figuring out who killed a young girl with Sir Henry assisting.
The Tuesday Night Club (5 stars)-There is a gathering of people at Miss Marple’s home in order to meet her nephew, Raymond West who is a writer. Raymond brings a long a lady friend, Joyce who is also an artist. The other characters are Sir Henry Clithering ( former Scotland Yard), Dr. Pender (who I think or recall is a clergyman), and Mr. Petherick who is a solicitor. As I said above, the group starts discussion unsolved mysteries with all of the participants (except for Miss Marple) saying how well they would do at solving crimes. They all agree to meet every Tuesday to tell a real mystery to each other while others will try to solve it. Raymond is quite dismissive of Miss Marple and saying how her mind is like a sink.
The first story is told by Sir Henry who discusses how a married woman fell ill after eating and now there is a question of whether she was murdered or not. Sir. Henry lays out all of the facts and after everyone guesses (wrongly) Miss Marple is the only one to figure out who did it.
The Idol House of Astarte (4.5 stars)-This one I thought was a bit confusing though I liked the solution. This story is told by Dr. Penders and involves going to a house party of a friend of his after he bought a home. It becomes apparent that Dr. Penders friend Richard is infatuated (I am going to use that word) with a young society woman named Diana. After they all dress up and go off to an old temple that is left on the grounds. A man somehow is struck down and killed though no one touched him. Dr. Penders leaves the solution to the problem to the group. Miss Marple knocks it out of the park again.
Ingots of Gold (4 stars)-This was my least favorite story. Probably because Raymond is the storyteller in this one and he honestly irked me. That and this story is a long time going before anything interesting happens. To cut to the case, a man is found tied up and there’s a question of who tied him up and who was behind smuggling some supposed Spanish gold in the area. I do have to love how Miss Marple figured things out (a gardener plays a part) and Sir Henry backs her up since he knows something about the case.
The Blood-Stained Pavement (5 stars)-Joyce is the storyteller in this one and I really enjoyed it. Joyce goes to Cornwall and happens to come across a couple and another woman. What I liked about this one is that this story involves a painting and Joyce not realizing what she is seeing at the time. When a body is washed up later there’s a question of who it is and who did it. Miss Marple again figures out the solution and I loved how it was solved.
Motive v. Opportunity (4.5 stars)-So I don’t know about this one, especially since it involves some rich people gaining an inheritance through trickery. Either way it was a pretty solid story told by the character of Mr Petherick who goes into him dealing with the writing of a will of a client of his. Pretty much the client had three grandchildren who should inherit, but he started to become involved with a spiritualist. There’s a question of a hidden will and what happened to it in this one. Miss Marple strikes it right again.
The Thumb Mark of St. Peter (5 stars)-The last story is told by Miss Marple and rightfully no one figures it out. I liked how the story involved a niece of hers who is being accused of murder.
The Blue Geranium (5 stars)-This is the beginning of stories not told in the club. We have Sir Henry return in this one and is visiting with familiar characters most Christie fans should know, Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife, Dolly. What made me laugh is that readers know how close these two and how often Dolly appears, but in this one Dolly doesn’t want to invite Miss Marple to a dinner she is throwing, but does after Sir Henry insists. Other people are invited, an actress named Jane and a Dr. Lloyd. Colonel Bantry has a mystery he wants solved and once again Miss Marple figures it out while everyone else struggles.
The Companion (5 stars)-I liked this story told by Dr. Lloyd but really hated the ending. I like the bad guys to get some comeuppance though the murderer did in the end, I just hate why the victim was killed and that Dr. Lloyd kept his own counsel. Anyway the story involves a time when Dr. Lloyd was staying on an island and came across two women. One of them ends up dead. And then months later the only surviving woman dies as well. At this point you should realize Miss Marple figures out the solution to the mystery.
The Four Suspects (5 stars)-This one was really good and another story told by Sir Henry. He has four suspects in a murder case with him realizing that three of them have to be innocent and it’s causing all of them to be under suspicion and to not trust one another. He wants to figure out who killed a man in order for at least three of his suspects to move on.
A Christmas Tragedy (5 stars)-Miss Marple tells this one about her coming across a married couple that felt wrong to her in some way. It ends in tragedy, but no one else is able to guess how the wife of the married couple ended up murdered and by who.
The Herb of Death (5 stars)-This is another good one and Dolly Bantry tells this one. A story of an older man whose ward is poisoned after she ingests foxglove. There’s a question of whether it was an accident or not. The young woman’s fiancee marries another woman who was known to both of them so there’s a question of did he do it, or did his now wife. I loved the solution to this one a lot!
The Affair at the Bungalow (5 stars)-This one had me howling. Jane (the actress) tells this one and had everyone ready to throttle her in the end. I did love though how neatly Miss Marple realizes what is going on and clues Jane into things.
Death by Drowning (5 stars)-The last tale in this collection and it’s not a story. Instead Sir Henry comes back to St. Mary Mead and finds out that a young girl was found drowned. There’s a question of suicide or did the young man who had “gotten her into trouble” have something to do with it. Though Sir Henry is retired, Miss Marple reaches out to him to investigate based on who she thinks did it and why.