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Moving Finger Marple Facsimile Edition Hardcover – Sep 8 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books; Facsimile edition edition (Sept. 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007208456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007208456
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #588,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'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.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The interest of this small detective story is not where we could think it should be. Miss Marple solves the problem in a very holmesian way : don't look for what is obvious but look for what is hidden by the smokescreen of the obvious. But the book reveals, describes and analyzes the reactions of a village and of the people in the village who are confronted to a series of anonymous letters. It shows how gossiping dominates and informs the minds of the people. It shows how these minds can be totally governed by old fears, perverse curiosity and jealousy in a way or another. It shows how idleness due to the lack of eventful developments in a village manages the life of people : when nothing happens in your village, the slightest little piece of news or observation of your neighbour becomes an essential topic. A criminal, here a murderer, can then use this functioning to build a smokescreen that will hide his own crime and send everyone, including the police, on a wrong track because they are going to follow the obvious and the obvious is what you can see, and when there is a smokescreen you can only see the smoke. It is well done, though regular readers of detective stories will know the solution practically from the very start. This genre is aging rather fast because it has developed so much that it has enlarged the ability of the readers to see the strings of the plot, even when these strings are covered with a smokescreen, and Agatha Christie is a real artist at leading us astray, if we just let ourselves be led, which is in a way an essential quality in a « good » reader.
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Format: Audio Cassette
In a forward Agatha Christie provided for a reprint of this book, she wrote of the pleasure it was to tackle one of the classic themes, and of the great pleasure she found in writing this book with its "cosy village atmosphere and characters".
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The narrator of the 1942 story is Jerry Burton, an RAF pilot who was sent to recuperate from a crash in a quiet environment. Jerry and his sister Johanna moved to an out of the way little village but soon found that life there would be anything but peaceful. The first unsettling event was the arrival of a poison pen letter, an occurance that made them part of the village. Most of the rest of the town had gotten one already. Just as they were getting acquainted with their neighbors there was a suicide, or was it murder?
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read almost all of Christie's books at one point 4 or 5 years ago. One of the last I hit upon was "The Moving Finger", and it turned out to be my favorite Christie mystery. I loved the main narrator - Jerry Burton; his neurosis, wit, simplistic arrogance and ultimately good heart were so novel to me, especially in a murder mystery. He was a breath of fresh air from the likes of Miss Marple and Poirot.
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.
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