Moving Finger Mass Market Paperback – Feb 2 2010
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'Beyond all doubt the puzzle in The Moving Finger is fit for experts.' The Times
From the Back Cover
Lymstock is a town with more than its share ofshameful secrets—a town where even a suddenoutbreak of anonymous hate mail causes only aminor stir.
But all that changes when one of the recipients,Mrs. Symmington, commits suicide. Her final notesays “I can’t go on,” but Miss Marple questions thecoroner’s verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure ofanyone—as secrets stop being shameful and startbecoming deadly.--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
The classic theme here is the phenomenon of the Poison Pen. The book is one of her shorter mysteries but one of the most cunningly devised. Adept at constructing puzzles, she opts for presenting this one as a first person narrative. The narrator is a young man recuperating from a flying accident, told by his doctor that he must "go and live in the country and lead the life of a vegetable for at least six months". With his sister he rents a cottage in a small English village "of no importance whatsoever".
Accordingly, when the poison pen letters begin circulating, it is this narrator, a stranger to the village, who decribes things as he sees them, retails all the local gossip, and reports everyone's suspicions about the writer of the letters. A murder and an apparent suicide follow, and we read of the efforts of the local police to investigate.
Miss Marple thus is introduced late in the book and, of course, she proves better at solving the mystery than everybody else. You will be an astute and alert reader if you discover whodunit before Miss Marple reveals all.
As time passed there were more letters, more deaths and romances. A less skillful writer would have made a confused mess of all of the various threads but Christie keeps the focus on the mystery while maintaining the romance as an interesting subplot.
The story has worn well in the intervening fifty years. The only dated aspect is that women's lives were more restricted then. So why is this story an 'almost' 5? The problem is that Miss Marple arrives on the scene about 3/4 of the way through the book and then does very little. For Miss Marple fans this is not nearly enough of her. In my opinion Christie should have either brought her in sooner or left her out altogether.
Despite this THE MOVING FINGER is an excellent story and one of Christie's most memorable stories.
These many years later, I picked up the title again to see what I thought. I see now that the narrator reminds me in some ways of Grimes' main characters for her murder mysteries - intelligent, reserved, seemingly aloof, somewhat cynical, and ultimately kind bachelors written by females authors. Apparently I find this character irresistable as I love all of Grimes' work.
However, in going back and rereading some Grimes and some Christie, I am noticing how different their styles are. While I read Grimes' books the first time only 2 or 3 years ago, I find I can't remember the solution to her mysteries when I reread them because she buries her clues below a rich surface of character development. Christie, on the other hand, doesn't ever wander far from her murder mystery plot - no matter how much she may twist and turn it; and as soon as I started into this book I thought, "Oh, ______ did it". Even so, I enjoyed reading this little gem again.
That all said, in addition to having a neurotic narrator - which you may or may not enjoy - this mystery focuses on the reactions in a small country village as racy anonymous letters are received by everyone in town. Jerry Burton, the narrator, and his sister arrive from London for some needed R&R right about when these letters start becoming known and so are drawn in to the town's little scandal.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Christie seems to have been dividing her pagecount between the mystery components and a smalltown gossip story, resulting in it sometimes being tricky to hold onto the clues --... Read morePublished on May 8 2013 by Kei Smith
No smoke without fire! It's the smoke(screen), I mean the anonymous letters, that blocked my eyes. I fixed the culprit as Megan. Read morePublished on March 5 2008 by Juran Liu
I thought this book was pretty good. I had the audio book and I did not really like the reader. She was a little hard to understand. I love murder mysteries. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2004 by Kara
"The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of... Read more
Written during the long wartime nights in London, only stopped by the frequent bombing raids, The Moving Finger (1943) is Agatha Christie's 42nd novel. ..."Rather to my surprise... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2002 by Geert Daelemans
In addition to the delights one gleams from Christie's deft, skillful plotting, incisive wit, and rich characterizations, the true strength of "The Moving Finger" is Christie's... Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2002 by cdset
When Jerry Burton was ordered to find a restful place to recover from injuries from flying, Lymstock seemed to be just what the doctor ordered - a little village which had been... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2002 by snowy
This story is told by Jerry Burton, an RAF flyer recovering from a crash. He has been sent to the village of Lymstock to get rest and quiet. Read morePublished on March 14 2001 by Antoinette Klein