Today’s feature mystery is the first in Christie‘s Miss Jane Marple series, The Murder at the Vicarage. While I’ve seen many, many of Christie’s novels brought to life on the screen, I’ve only read a few of her books and am looking forward to reading more. It’s interesting to see how her style of writing changed as her career took off.
As with most if not all of Ms. Christie’s Marple mysteries, this one is set in a small village in rural England where there is a manor, and church, a vicarage, a post office, and a clutch of cottages with large beautiful gardens. Colonel Protheroe is a rather loathsome character whose demise, according to the vicar, would be of benefit to the world as a whole. A tactless and unfortunate remark since, within 24 hours, the Colonel is found in the vicar’s own library stabbed to death, bringing the clergyman into the role of main suspect.
There is the usual assortment of suspects, motives, false trails, and busybodies including an archaeologist who isn’t, the deceased’s daughter and wife, her lover, and the curate who is experiencing personal struggles which may end up in his being fired. There is the obligatory bumbling inspector aptly named Slack. The characters are well drawn and there are lots of red herrings.
The reader is assisted by floor plans of the vicarage, the murder scene, and a village map. There is no list of characters in my copy and the narrator is the vicar, which I found a bit unusual. All in all, a rather cozy read without too many gory details that modern authors seem compelled to include with people dropping left, right, and centre. I plan to read more of Christie’s novels in the future. * * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post.