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Miss Marples Final Cases Paperback – Sep 19 2002
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'When it all becomes clear as day, the reader can only say, "Now why didn't I think of that?" But he never does. Miss Christie at her best.' Springfield Republican
About the Author
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. Her first novel, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, written towards the end of the First World War, introduced us to Hercule Poirot, who was to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. She is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 19 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott and saw her work translated into more languages than Shakespeare. Her enduring success, enhanced by many film and TV adaptations, is a tribute to the timeless appeal of her characters and the unequalled ingenuity of the plots.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
These stories make use of someone telling a story - often to Miss Marple. In one case it is her doctor who writes a story and gives it to her to cheer her up when she's feeling down. Naturally she works out what has happened.
I enjoyed all these stories and was particularly taken with `The Dressmaker's Doll', which is really quite spooky and the reader gets a real sense of the possibly evil propensities of the doll concerned. I also liked the last story in the collection - `Greenshaw's Folly' which features a particularly ingenious murder.
I downloaded this set of six Miss Marple stories in audiobook for my mom, so it would give her something to occupy her time while recuperating; she had been very ill in hospital at the time. I decided to listen to it myself once she had recovered, because I love Agatha Christie's mystery books too.
This audiobook was narrated by one of the best actresses (I feel) to have portrayed Miss Marple, Dame Joan Hickson. Her narration of six of the stories brought them to life for me. And, as she also acted in some of them on TV as serial episodes, I could picture them with ease.
The stories in this collection are:
The man found dying in the church sanctuary
The puzzle of Uncle Henry's hidden legacy
The baffling mystery of the stabbing of Mrs Rhodes
The question of the murderer with the tape-measure
The case of Miss Skinner's Maid
The curious conduct of the caretaker
There are also two bonus stories that were narrated very well by another lady, which were not Miss Marple mysteries. They were called 'The Dressmaker’s Doll’ and ‘In a Glass Darkly’.
Each one of these stories was very entertaining. I love reading mysteries, and Agatha Christie, in my opinion, wrote some of the best detective novels of her day. Her two most well known characters, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, have entertained readers like me for many years. However, I don't think these were her best stories. Although Joan Hickson did a remarkable job in telling these tales, Agatha Christie seemed to have had rushed a couple of them; the plots were not as solid as her earlier pieces. I will say that The Dressmaker's Doll was extremely spooky, and more like a ghost story than a mystery. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to listen to all of the stories in this collection. I will be revisiting them again, I am sure!
I highly recommend this book if you love classic mystery or thriller genres. - Lynn Worton
The easiest option for me was to have a crack at a few of her Miss Marple short stories and having picked up this charity shop bargain for the humungous sum of 25p when out and about with my wife and youngest daughter on Monday, I decided to bump the dame off.......sorry, bump her up the queue and get started.
6 stories – 142 pages – 2-3 hours reading time.
Well I can add another female author to the tally and possibly can tick a box on my silver bingo card for my Vintage Mystery challenge, I will check later. Two bonus plusses.
Verdict......well I didn't manage to guess the culprit or guilty party or unravel the mystery in any of the tales before the big reveal, so that was good. And AC can certainly paint a vivid picture for you of her characters; in this particular instance a bed-bound spinster.........with a good deal of greyish-yellow hair untidily wound around her head and erupting into curls, the whole thing looked like a bird’s nest of which no self-respecting bird could be proud. So another tick there. Thirdly, most of the stories engaged me and had me speeding along to the end, so I can’t in all honesty feign indifference.
I think what struck me was how unsympathetic most of her victims and villains all appeared to be. In the case of the hidden legacy, I didn't like old Uncle Henry’s beneficiaries and was half hoping that Miss Marple was unable (or perhaps more entertainingly) unwilling to solve the riddle and therefore deprive the horrible, vile rats of their inheritance. I guess Marple though couldn't possibly dare to fail. There’s something a little bit unappealing to me about someone who has to be shown to be the cleverest person in the room, all the time. She might just be a little too smug and self-satisfied for me to tolerate too much of her. Time will tell; maybe a longer exposure to our elderly spinster’s charms will seduce me and have me swooning helplessly in admiration? The 4.50 from Paddington may seal the deal! I’m prepared to be wooed.
Last observation, I’m unsure when these were originally written – this collection was originally published in 1979, but there are probably too many servants and mistresses, or gentry-types and underlings for me to want to spend too much time in their company. A bit too dated, a bit too Upstairs-Downstairs, a bit too class conscious and a bit too genteel for me. Each to their own, but I will probably not read too many of her other books.
Anyway I must dash......tea and scone time in the drawing room, nanny’s just rung the bell.......... yummy – so toodle pips!
3 from 5
I bought my copy second-hand recently.