Sunday, May 20, 2012

3 in 1 Miss Marple

I read three Marples recently while I was out on vacation, so please see below a 3 in 1 post about the same.

Books read:

  1. 4:50 from Paddington
  2. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
  3. A Caribbean Mystery

4:50 from Paddington or What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw : Written by Agatha Christie and Published in 1957. 4:50 from Paddington tells the tale of  Mrs McGillicuddy who is travelling in a train to see her friend Jane Marple. On her way she sees a woman being murdered in a crossing parallel train. The Problem is that she could not identify either the murderer or the victim and the police are unable to locate the dead woman's body on the train. The Police think of this incident as hallucinations of an old women and curb any further inquiries. Mrs McGillicuddy  narrates this incident to Miss Marple, who hatches up a scheme to nab the killer.

A very interesting premise, the book starts off with a crime which looks unsolvable but Miss Marple along with Lucy Eyelesbarrow who serves as a Proxy for Marple helps to solve the crime. Lucy Eyelesbarrow turns out to  be a very interesting character and it's a shame that she was never reused in any story but all the same this is a really good mystery which starts off nicely but slacks in the middle, it's a lot like "The Body in the Library"

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side: Written by Agatha Christie and Published in 1962. Marina Gregg, a famous film actress has moved to St Mary Mead and at a party hosted in her honor the innocent and gullible Heather Badcock is poisoned. The Police suspect that the poison was meant for Marina Gregg but poor Heather turned out to be the unintended victim. 

A very predictable murderer, you need to read only a few Christie's to make 2 Plus 2 for this one. I daresay that the motive of the murder is quite well done and you even tend to sympathize a bit with the guilty. A peek into the world of Film actresses is also well written and new. Overall I found the book to be average. There is even a movie based on this starring Angela Lansbury and Elizabeth Taylor.

A Caribbean Mystery : Written by Agatha Christie and Published in 1964. The setting for murder changes from St. Mary Mead to the Caribbean. Miss Marple is on a holiday and like his male counterpart "Poirot" murder follows. Old Major Palgrave is narrating one of his anecdotes to Miss Marple, the conversation somehow flows to the topic of murder. Major Palgrave is about to show a picture of a murderer to Miss Marple but then he notices someone/something and changes the topic. Next day Major Palgrave is found  dead.

Murder in the beautiful Caribbean. Well written, short and a light read. Miss Marple for a change does all the investigating and detecting unlike her other books where she uses a proxy to do all the investigation and then just comes in the end to reveal the murderer. The conversations between Miss Marple and Mr Rafiel. are most interesting, how the aged people perceive others and themselves is educating, this also shows the reader Christie's state of mind as she was 74 when she wrote this book around the same age as Miss Marple and Mr Rafiel. The mystery is full of suspects and figuring out the culprit is not easy. 

"Least Likely suspect" is Christie's formula in almost all her books either the culprit has an iron cast alibi or is one of the victims or the most unobtrusive person who is written in a way that you are likely to miss him/her from your list of suspects.

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