Pages: 359 pages
Source: Birthmas Gift (Thanks Rachel!)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Classics
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Oh wow, lookie, it’s a book review! This has been a long time coming!
Honestly, 2018 has so far been a pretty crappy reading year for me. February ends in nine days and I’ve only read TWO BOOKS this year so far! I need to step up my reading game.
I was given Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories for my birthday from one of my friends. She knew I loved mysteries, as we’d taken the same mystery literature course in school. But I was always more of a Conan Doyle fan than Christie, I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes books but have only read a handful of Christie’s plays and short stories, and that was in high school. I was happy to have been given this book because it gave me a chance to get to meet one of Christie’s most well-known detectives, Miss Marple. And she didn’t disappoint me.
Miss Marple is a quiet and kind old spinster woman who doesn’t venture far from her town of St. Mary Mead. She likes to knit and gossip, but most of all she enjoys solving crimes. Now, Miss Marple rarely goes seeking for murder. She’s no Sherlock Holmes who needs constantly be solving puzzles to keep his mind active, but these cases usually come her way in the form of friends, maids, or family members and she’s always able to solve her case from her knowledge of people from living in a small rural community.
One of the funniest things in these short stories is that even though people are constantly told that Miss Marple is an incredibly sharp woman, they are continuously fooled by her elderly and innocent appearance and keep underestimating her. This is, of course, handy for Miss Marple and allows her to solve the case despite everyone’s misunderstanding of her, but it was weird how people kept forgetting she was smart!
Here are a few of my favourite stories from the collection:
The Tuesday Night Club: I enjoyed a lot of stories from this grouping of stories. There were maybe seven or more stories that focused on a group of friends gathering every Tuesday night and telling mysteries that had occurred to storyteller while the guests tried to guess the answer. It was an interesting concept, one I think might make a good Miss Marple miniseries, and I enjoyed how different the stories varied from one another.
The Herb of Death: Another story apart of the “Tuesday Night Club” but focusing on an old man killed in his house and three suspects, all of whom have an alibi and all of whom could be guilty. This one was incredibly clever and I ended up missing a big clue in it that had me kicking myself afterwards, my favourite type of stories.
The Affair at the Bungalow: This story is the most unique of the collection but I can’t explain why since it’s uniqueness is revealed in the end. An actress talks about a crime she knew involving a playwright, stolen jewels, and amnesia and hopes to figure out a solution to it.
Sanctuary: This story ended the collection and it was a very strong way to end it. A minister’s wife finds a dying man outside her husband’s church. Through some strange circumstances including strange dying words from the man, suspicious relatives, and a peculiar coat, the woman goes to her godmother, the one and only Miss Marple, for help in solving the case.
This collection of stories is the perfect introduction to Miss Marple and one every Christie fan should own. I look forward to reading more of Miss Marple’s cases in the future to see how this lovable spinster solves each case again and again.