Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

The first three of Agatha Christie's twelve, celebrated Miss Marple novels in one collection. Including The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library and The Moving Finger.

Topics: England, Village, Anthology, Suspenseful, Murder, Women Detectives, Small Town, Neighbors, Siblings, Secrets, Mistaken Identity, Love, 20th Century, Female Author, British Author, and 1940s

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062083678
List price: $5.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Miss Marple Bundle by Agatha Christie
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is an enchanting little book. It is the story of two sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverly, who have been estranged for many years. Claire is living in the family home in Bascom, North Carolina, when Sydney arrives with her daughter Bay in tow. Sydney is running from Bay’s abusive father and has nowhere else to go. Claire, a caterer, has trouble getting close to people for fear they will leave.The Waverly’s have a reputation around town for being different. They possess special gifts. Bay has an uncanny ability to know where things belong, from forks to people. Evanelle, an elderly cousin, is compelled to give people things that they will need in the future; things that will alter the course of their lives (although she never knows how they will be used when she gives them). Claire’s gift is her very special culinary skills. She uses edible flowers and herbs from her garden in her cooking, which can make people remember or forget, fall in or out of love, and any number of other mystical things as she sees fit. Sydney is determined NOT to be special as only a Waverly can be, but soon it’s clear that she is gifted as well. And then there’s the Waverly apple tree, which has it’s own brand of magic.I was captivated by Garden Spells. It is romantic and sweet and the story flows nicely. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or magical fiction. Is magical fiction an actual genre? If not, it should be.more
This one was fun, although I was rather confused at it being a Miss Marple book, since there was no sign of her until more than halfway through. She did arrive, though, a Marple ex machina, solving it all. I could say I found this one easy to figure out, but someone told me how it ended before I got there, so that's cheating.

The thing I liked most about this, I think, was the narrator, and his relationship with Megan. It just made me laugh -- him calling her catfish, and insulting her, and not knowing how fond of her he was becoming. So I smiled at the happy ending. I wouldn't mind seeing them again, in some later Miss Marple book...

Again, a fun snack between meals. A palate-cleanser between doses of Chandler, perhaps.more
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie is classed as a Miss Marple mystery, but there was very little evidence of Miss Marple in this book. She didn’t show up until page 142 out of 200 pages, then she proceeded to knit a few rows while solving the identity of the anonymous letter writing murderer.Other than the lack of Miss Marple, I quite liked this book. Set in a seemingly quiet, placid country village, the obscene poison pen letters spared no one and did not hesitate to accuse each recipient of shocking activities. Even with no spark of truth in them these letters caused people to look at one another in a different way and suddenly everyone was under suspicion and accusations were being bandied about. It wasn’t long before suicide and murder followed.With Jane Marple being an almost afterthought, the focus of the book is on Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna, who have come to the village while Jerry recovers from a flying accident. These two are total misfits in the rural village but were two characters that I found very sympathetic and I enjoyed seeing the events unfold through Jerry’s eyes. While The Moving Finger is not destined to be one of my favorite Miss Marple mysteries, it is still going to be considered a very good Agatha Christie mystery.more
Murder mysteries aren't usually this charming. That's what's so good about Agatha Christie. The Moving Finger is Marple-lite. The mystery is so small-town - nasty letters are going around and no one knows who sent them. In true Christie fashion, the villagers are paraded past as a string of suspects and the suspense lasts until close to the end. If Miss Marple had narrated, she would have seen the culprit a mile away. She does, of course, save the day. This book has more resolution than other of Christie's novels, but that just adds to the charm.more
THE MOVING FINGER was written in 1942 and considered by Agatha Christie to be in her top 10 novels.The narrator is Jerry Burton, and while for some of the narration we feel as if the events are occurring simultaneously with the narration, much of the style is retrospective.This allows Christie to create "hanging endings" to chapters or parts of chapters. This is really the first time I have noticed her attempts at this style.Here is the end of Chapter 3. 'We have come down here,' I said sternly, 'for peace and quiet, and I mean to see we get it.' But peace and quiet were the last things we were to have.and a little later on, another example. She paused lost in thought, her eyes screwed up. Then she said slowly, as one who solves a problem, 'Blind hatred... yes, blind hatred. But even a blind man may stab to the heart by pure chance... And what would happen then, Mr Burton?' We were to know that before another day had passed.The other thing that is interesting about THE MOVING FINGER is that Miss Marple almost plays only a cameo role. The main sleuths are Jerry and his sister Joanna. Miss Marple is invited to stay by the vicar's wife quite late in the novel (at 75% according to Kindle's numbering). Up until that point Jerry had been counting the vicar's wife among his suspects, because she is rather odd, and he isn't even really sure about Miss Marple when she arrives. She seems to him to take an inordinate, almost unseemly, interest in the murder. The Dane Calthrops had a guest staying with them, an amiable elderly lady who was knitting something with white fleecy wool. We had very good hot scones for tea, the vicar came in, and beamed placidly on us whilst he pursued his gentle erudite conversation. It was very pleasant. I don’t mean that we got away from the topic of the murder, because we didn’t. Miss Marple, the guest, was naturally thrilled by the subject. As she said apologetically: ‘We have so little to talk about in the country!’ She had made up her mind that the dead girl must have been just like her Edith.In the long run it is of course Miss Marple who solves the crime, but she is gracious in saying that it was Jerry who made the various observations that led her to the right conclusions.The climax of the novel is a very interesting one as it uses a honey trap but those who set it up, Miss Marple and the police, don't tell Jerry what they are doing, and he independently becomes convinced that the woman he wants to marry is in great danger.more
Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love?more
Vintage Christie--ranked against her own competition of jaw-dropping books, such as And Then There Were None, this is a tad less memorable, but it still kept me guessing to the end while playing fair with the reader. Otherwise it's more than solid and has all the hallmarks of her best. There is the picture of life in a small English village in the mid-20th Century, Lymstock, which has been suffering from a series of poison pen letters culminating in murder. There's all the clues that come together in the end like clockwork, the red herrings, the plausible suspects, some of whom you favor, and others you come to care about you so hope didn't do it. There's humor, a nice element of romance, suspense--and oh, and Christie's elderly spinster detective Miss Marple. Although she mostly features at the end with the solution, not coming into the tale until Chapter Six of Eight, only a few dozen pages before the end. The story is the first person account of Jerry Burton, staying at the village with his sister while he recovers from an accident, and he's an appealing character through which to follow the tale.more
Technically a Miss Marple novel, although the little old lady from St Mary Mead barely appears in this one, not even being introduced until the final third of the book. It's told from the viewpoint of Jerry Burton, a war-wounded pilot who has taken a house in the small town of Lymstock to spend a few months recuperation somewhere in the country away from his friends. His doctor's advice was to take an interest in local politics and scandal as a way of keeping his brain occupied without stressing him. Jerry and his sister Joanna get an early opportunity to do just that, when they receive a poison pen letter. when they find that they're not the first, they decide to track down the writer, almost as a game. But the game turns deadly serious when one of the recipients is found dead by poison, with a note saying "I can't go on". Jerry's continued interest in the case is welcomed by the police, for as the officer in charge of the investigation points out, as an incomer he doesn't have pre-existing biases, but as a resident he will hear things that people will be reluctant to tell the police. And so Jerry gets to see in fine detail how scandal and gossip work in a small community, with the phrase "no smoke without fire" as a running theme of village conversation.This is an excellent study of village gossip, with some fine character studies. The main disappointment is the portrayal of Miss Marple herself, who seems a curiously flat character in this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I known when starting it that Jerry is the primary investigative character as well as the narrator.more
This one was billed as a Miss Marple mystery, but she's only there for the last few chapters and we don't really get to see her detective powers until the final chapter. I felt slightly cheated by this because, while the POV character was great, it wasn't the book that I wanted when I sat down with it. I'm sure that if you're not specifically looking for a Marple book then this is a fun, satisfying mystery. I didn't guess who did it (I was way off base) and the brother and sister team at the heart of the book were fun to spend time with. Not one of Christie's strongest, but still a good read.more
Poison pen letters spread throughout an English village, upsetting recipients, and leading to a suicide. The village is full of quirky characters, any one of whom might be responsible for the anonymous missives. Ultimately the mystery will be solved by one of the villagers' acquaintances, none other than Miss Jane Marple. This was my first Miss Marple mystery, and I was surprised at how small a presence Miss Marple actually was in the story. She didn't appear until more than halfway through the book, and then remained in the background, sort of like the furniture. Yes, she does ultimately solve the mystery, but she's hardly a character of much consequence. It appears that The Moving Finger is one of the earlier Miss Marple mysteries, and perhaps the character was not yet well-developed. As this was my first Miss Marple I don't really have another novel for comparison. The story is told by an injured pilot, who has moved to the countryside to recover. As he meets the various villagers, especially the women, there's an added element of romance, but as with all of Christie's work, the mystery remains the heart of the book. This is not one of Christie's more remarkable works, but it is certainly solid, and kept me riveted to the end.more
Vies with Sleeping Murder for the title of my favourite Aggie! Great love story with a murder thrown in. Re read after a half-way decent adaptation shown on TV (most of the TV adaptations are so heavily adapted they may as well be new stories!).more
Jerry Burton is an aviator from London who is recovering from injuries he suffered in a crash landing and his doctor has recommended that he remove himself from the hustle and bustle of London and lease a house in a quiet little village for a few months. So, Jerry and his sister Joanna come to Lymstock, rent a cottage, and set about becoming acquainted with the other villagers. But there is turmoil just under the placid surface of this tiny bucolic spot and a series of anonymous letters start being delivered to nearly everyone in the village, accusing them of horrible secrets and activities. Everyone is suspicious of everyone else and things are brought to a boil when one of the letters causes the wife of the local barrister to commit suicide. But things only get worse when a kitchen maid in one of the cottages is found murdered. The vicar's wife asks a good friend of hers to come visit and Miss Jane Marple arrives and works her "nothing new under the sun" magic, lining up the clues that were right in front of everyone all along.Great read! Miss Marple only appears in the final quarter of the book and the story is told from Jerry Burton's POV, so we aren't allowed to see the workings of this good lady's logical mind, only the results. But it was still a great story.more
Miss Marple only appears in the latter third of the book, but this is an intruiging mystery about annoymous letters followed by murder. The romantic element feels contrived and unconvincing, but Christie superbly evokes the atmosphere of a small village under threat from an anonymous source.more
“Such a peaceful smiling happy countryside – and down underneath, something evil…”-- The Moving Finger, p. 28After a wartime plane crash, Jerry Burton’s doctor advises him to find a nice, quiet country village and “live the life of a vegetable” to speed along the recuperation process. Jerry and his sister Joanna settle in Lymstock, an idyllic country town that is three miles from a main road. It is a place where, as an astonished Joanna observes, “People really call – with cards!” Jerry’s peaceful, vegetative life in Lymstock is, however, soon shattered. A few days after their arrival, Jerry receives a malicious anonymous letter. The letter alleges that the Burtons are not brother and sister, but an unmarried couple living in sin. Jerry and Joanna are initially quite amused by the novelty of receiving such a letter, but they soon view the letter as a sign of something much more sinister.All of Lymstock, it seems, has been receiving these letters. When a woman apparently commits suicide after receiving a letter, the search for the writer intensifies. After another character is murdered, presumably by the anonymous writer, a palpable fear settles over the community. Neighbor suspects neighbor and the whole of Lymstock wonders who amongst them could be capable of such despicable acts.The indomitable Miss Marple makes her first appearance in the last quarter of the novel. For a less skillful writer than Dame Christie, the lack of the primary character could have made this story very tedious for the reader, but Christie’s characters are so well-drawn and compelling that the reader does not notice the loss. The primary sleuthing has been done by Jerry and a few of the other residents of Lymstock, but only Miss Marple is able to connect the myriad of clues and bring the killer to justice.The Moving Finger was originally published in the United States in 1942. For a novel that is over sixty years old, it has aged incredibly well. Agatha Christie’s extraordinary understanding of human nature gives her characters and her stories a timeless quality. One of my favorite Christie novels, The Moving Finger is a compelling read that will keep you guessing until the end.more
Pointing FingersAgatha Christie's swift, slim 1942 novel The Moving Finger is a Miss Marple mystery which very nearly does not have Miss Marple.In my version (the spiffy new Black Dog & Leventhal edition), the grandmotherly detective makes her first appearance on page 144 of the book's 201 pages. That's like Bruce Willis making his first appearance in a Bruce Willis movie twenty minutes before the end credits roll. Fifty-seven pages do not allow very much time for a detective to solve a case.However, even though she has what can best be described as an extended cameo role in The Moving Finger, Miss Jane Marple pulls it off in grand fashion, as always.The story is told through the eyes of Jerry Burton who has come to the little village of Lymstock with his younger sister Joanna after he's been injured in a wartime plane crash. His doctor has advised him to "lead the life of a vegetable" in a place where he can find peace and quiet.At first, Lymstock seems like the perfect haven. Sure, the residents are a little eccentric-&#151but who isn't when they live in Agatha Christie Land, right? From the first page of the novel, we're told that something is amiss and it centers around a series of anonymous letters which have been sent to several people living in the village.As Jerry tells us after he receives the first crude message, It seems odd, now, to remember that Joanna and I were more amused by the letter than anything else. We hadn't, then, the faintest inkling of what was to come&#151-the trail of blood and violence and suspicion and fear.That first letter accuses Jerry and Joanna of engaging in sexual activity most unbecoming of a brother and sister. Agatha never discloses the contents of the letters, but lets our imagination dance around the possibilities of what it says. I have a feeling that what we imagine is much more graphic than how readers in 1942 would have filled in the blanks. Whatever we guess the letters to say, the language would not have been suitable for World War Two era readers.During a visit to the local doctor, Jerry happens to mention the letter (which he impetuously burned in the fireplace). Dr. Griffith drops his bag and exclaims, "Do you mean to say that you've had one of them?"The epidemic of anonymous poison letters has been spreading around Lymstock for some time, Griffith tells Jerry, all of them "harping on the sex theme." The local solicitor Symmington was accused of illicit relations with his secretary ("Miss Ginch, who's forty at least, with pince-nez and teeth like a rabbit"), and even the doctor himself has received a letter which claims to have knowledge of him sleeping with some of his lady patients."What is this place?" Joanna wonders. "It looks the most innocent, sleepy harmless little bit of England you can imagine."That is Agatha's forte, of course-&#151ripping away the thin skin of gentility and good manners to reveal the gory, pestilential truth beneath. What reader hasn't known a two-faced, scheming liar who gets his or her jollies out of seeing innocent people suffer? Agatha knew how to craft a clever, often outlandish plot around an ordinary truth.Eventually, the venomous accusations become too much to bear and one character commits suicide-&#151ah, but was it really suicide? Perhaps there's something deeper, darker at work in Lymstock than just flooding the mail with wicked letters. Maybe there's more to it than just "sex and spite." Soon, paranoia is gripping the town: There was a half-scared, half-avid gleam in almost everybody's eye. Neighbor looked at neighbor.The police are called in as more bodies begin to pile up and while the investigators do their best to sort through the psychological patterns they find in the letters, it isn't until Miss Marple makes her late entrance in the novel that we know the village residents can breathe a sigh of relief. It won't be long before this "tame elderly maiden lady" will unmask the letter writer.Sandwiched chronologically between The Body in the Library and Murder in Retrospect, The Moving Finger is a fine addition to the Christie library. Agatha herself was partial to it, as she wrote in her Autobiography, "I find that another one I am really pleased with is The Moving Finger. It is a great test to reread what one has written some seventeen or eighteen years before. One's view changes. Some do not stand the test of time, others do."With its keen psychological probing of rumor and paranoia, this Christie mystery certainly stands the test of time.more
I can't for the life of me figure out how this title goes with the story, but the story was a pleasant read.more
read this out loud to Lisa when we were in Jerusalem. One of my favorite Agatha Christie mysteries.more
I must say, I didn't like this one as well as I thought I would. For one thing, Miss Marple has only a very small role here. On the other hand, it is only the 3rd full-length novel featuring Miss Marple so maybe her creator hadn't really fleshed out her character yet. Brief synopsis: This story is told in first-person mode by one Jerry Burton, who was a pilot for the RAF and crashed his plane. He is prescribed quiet rest, so he rents a house in the small village of Lymstock along with his sister Joanna. No sooner do the two of them settle in than they receive a "poison pen" type letter making derogatory comments about Jerry's relationship with his sister. Well, it turns out that as he's talking to people in the village, he finds out that most everyone has been sent the same type of vitriolic letter. Sadly, after one woman receives one, she commits suicide by drinking cyanide. Another death soon follows, and the situation is out of hand. The vicar's wife decides she's had enough and calls in none other than Jane Marple, who she says is "someone who knows a great deal about wickedness." Surprisingly, Miss Marple only enters toward the end, and doesn't display much of her wonderful talent in this novel. I was a little disappointed but the story itself was quite good, with a kind of unique look at the characters who comprise an English village.I wouldn't start with this one if you are contemplating reading a story about Miss Marple, but it is a decent story and one I'm proud to keep in my home library.more
Read all 21 reviews

Reviews

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is an enchanting little book. It is the story of two sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverly, who have been estranged for many years. Claire is living in the family home in Bascom, North Carolina, when Sydney arrives with her daughter Bay in tow. Sydney is running from Bay’s abusive father and has nowhere else to go. Claire, a caterer, has trouble getting close to people for fear they will leave.The Waverly’s have a reputation around town for being different. They possess special gifts. Bay has an uncanny ability to know where things belong, from forks to people. Evanelle, an elderly cousin, is compelled to give people things that they will need in the future; things that will alter the course of their lives (although she never knows how they will be used when she gives them). Claire’s gift is her very special culinary skills. She uses edible flowers and herbs from her garden in her cooking, which can make people remember or forget, fall in or out of love, and any number of other mystical things as she sees fit. Sydney is determined NOT to be special as only a Waverly can be, but soon it’s clear that she is gifted as well. And then there’s the Waverly apple tree, which has it’s own brand of magic.I was captivated by Garden Spells. It is romantic and sweet and the story flows nicely. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or magical fiction. Is magical fiction an actual genre? If not, it should be.more
This one was fun, although I was rather confused at it being a Miss Marple book, since there was no sign of her until more than halfway through. She did arrive, though, a Marple ex machina, solving it all. I could say I found this one easy to figure out, but someone told me how it ended before I got there, so that's cheating.

The thing I liked most about this, I think, was the narrator, and his relationship with Megan. It just made me laugh -- him calling her catfish, and insulting her, and not knowing how fond of her he was becoming. So I smiled at the happy ending. I wouldn't mind seeing them again, in some later Miss Marple book...

Again, a fun snack between meals. A palate-cleanser between doses of Chandler, perhaps.more
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie is classed as a Miss Marple mystery, but there was very little evidence of Miss Marple in this book. She didn’t show up until page 142 out of 200 pages, then she proceeded to knit a few rows while solving the identity of the anonymous letter writing murderer.Other than the lack of Miss Marple, I quite liked this book. Set in a seemingly quiet, placid country village, the obscene poison pen letters spared no one and did not hesitate to accuse each recipient of shocking activities. Even with no spark of truth in them these letters caused people to look at one another in a different way and suddenly everyone was under suspicion and accusations were being bandied about. It wasn’t long before suicide and murder followed.With Jane Marple being an almost afterthought, the focus of the book is on Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna, who have come to the village while Jerry recovers from a flying accident. These two are total misfits in the rural village but were two characters that I found very sympathetic and I enjoyed seeing the events unfold through Jerry’s eyes. While The Moving Finger is not destined to be one of my favorite Miss Marple mysteries, it is still going to be considered a very good Agatha Christie mystery.more
Murder mysteries aren't usually this charming. That's what's so good about Agatha Christie. The Moving Finger is Marple-lite. The mystery is so small-town - nasty letters are going around and no one knows who sent them. In true Christie fashion, the villagers are paraded past as a string of suspects and the suspense lasts until close to the end. If Miss Marple had narrated, she would have seen the culprit a mile away. She does, of course, save the day. This book has more resolution than other of Christie's novels, but that just adds to the charm.more
THE MOVING FINGER was written in 1942 and considered by Agatha Christie to be in her top 10 novels.The narrator is Jerry Burton, and while for some of the narration we feel as if the events are occurring simultaneously with the narration, much of the style is retrospective.This allows Christie to create "hanging endings" to chapters or parts of chapters. This is really the first time I have noticed her attempts at this style.Here is the end of Chapter 3. 'We have come down here,' I said sternly, 'for peace and quiet, and I mean to see we get it.' But peace and quiet were the last things we were to have.and a little later on, another example. She paused lost in thought, her eyes screwed up. Then she said slowly, as one who solves a problem, 'Blind hatred... yes, blind hatred. But even a blind man may stab to the heart by pure chance... And what would happen then, Mr Burton?' We were to know that before another day had passed.The other thing that is interesting about THE MOVING FINGER is that Miss Marple almost plays only a cameo role. The main sleuths are Jerry and his sister Joanna. Miss Marple is invited to stay by the vicar's wife quite late in the novel (at 75% according to Kindle's numbering). Up until that point Jerry had been counting the vicar's wife among his suspects, because she is rather odd, and he isn't even really sure about Miss Marple when she arrives. She seems to him to take an inordinate, almost unseemly, interest in the murder. The Dane Calthrops had a guest staying with them, an amiable elderly lady who was knitting something with white fleecy wool. We had very good hot scones for tea, the vicar came in, and beamed placidly on us whilst he pursued his gentle erudite conversation. It was very pleasant. I don’t mean that we got away from the topic of the murder, because we didn’t. Miss Marple, the guest, was naturally thrilled by the subject. As she said apologetically: ‘We have so little to talk about in the country!’ She had made up her mind that the dead girl must have been just like her Edith.In the long run it is of course Miss Marple who solves the crime, but she is gracious in saying that it was Jerry who made the various observations that led her to the right conclusions.The climax of the novel is a very interesting one as it uses a honey trap but those who set it up, Miss Marple and the police, don't tell Jerry what they are doing, and he independently becomes convinced that the woman he wants to marry is in great danger.more
Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love?more
Vintage Christie--ranked against her own competition of jaw-dropping books, such as And Then There Were None, this is a tad less memorable, but it still kept me guessing to the end while playing fair with the reader. Otherwise it's more than solid and has all the hallmarks of her best. There is the picture of life in a small English village in the mid-20th Century, Lymstock, which has been suffering from a series of poison pen letters culminating in murder. There's all the clues that come together in the end like clockwork, the red herrings, the plausible suspects, some of whom you favor, and others you come to care about you so hope didn't do it. There's humor, a nice element of romance, suspense--and oh, and Christie's elderly spinster detective Miss Marple. Although she mostly features at the end with the solution, not coming into the tale until Chapter Six of Eight, only a few dozen pages before the end. The story is the first person account of Jerry Burton, staying at the village with his sister while he recovers from an accident, and he's an appealing character through which to follow the tale.more
Technically a Miss Marple novel, although the little old lady from St Mary Mead barely appears in this one, not even being introduced until the final third of the book. It's told from the viewpoint of Jerry Burton, a war-wounded pilot who has taken a house in the small town of Lymstock to spend a few months recuperation somewhere in the country away from his friends. His doctor's advice was to take an interest in local politics and scandal as a way of keeping his brain occupied without stressing him. Jerry and his sister Joanna get an early opportunity to do just that, when they receive a poison pen letter. when they find that they're not the first, they decide to track down the writer, almost as a game. But the game turns deadly serious when one of the recipients is found dead by poison, with a note saying "I can't go on". Jerry's continued interest in the case is welcomed by the police, for as the officer in charge of the investigation points out, as an incomer he doesn't have pre-existing biases, but as a resident he will hear things that people will be reluctant to tell the police. And so Jerry gets to see in fine detail how scandal and gossip work in a small community, with the phrase "no smoke without fire" as a running theme of village conversation.This is an excellent study of village gossip, with some fine character studies. The main disappointment is the portrayal of Miss Marple herself, who seems a curiously flat character in this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I known when starting it that Jerry is the primary investigative character as well as the narrator.more
This one was billed as a Miss Marple mystery, but she's only there for the last few chapters and we don't really get to see her detective powers until the final chapter. I felt slightly cheated by this because, while the POV character was great, it wasn't the book that I wanted when I sat down with it. I'm sure that if you're not specifically looking for a Marple book then this is a fun, satisfying mystery. I didn't guess who did it (I was way off base) and the brother and sister team at the heart of the book were fun to spend time with. Not one of Christie's strongest, but still a good read.more
Poison pen letters spread throughout an English village, upsetting recipients, and leading to a suicide. The village is full of quirky characters, any one of whom might be responsible for the anonymous missives. Ultimately the mystery will be solved by one of the villagers' acquaintances, none other than Miss Jane Marple. This was my first Miss Marple mystery, and I was surprised at how small a presence Miss Marple actually was in the story. She didn't appear until more than halfway through the book, and then remained in the background, sort of like the furniture. Yes, she does ultimately solve the mystery, but she's hardly a character of much consequence. It appears that The Moving Finger is one of the earlier Miss Marple mysteries, and perhaps the character was not yet well-developed. As this was my first Miss Marple I don't really have another novel for comparison. The story is told by an injured pilot, who has moved to the countryside to recover. As he meets the various villagers, especially the women, there's an added element of romance, but as with all of Christie's work, the mystery remains the heart of the book. This is not one of Christie's more remarkable works, but it is certainly solid, and kept me riveted to the end.more
Vies with Sleeping Murder for the title of my favourite Aggie! Great love story with a murder thrown in. Re read after a half-way decent adaptation shown on TV (most of the TV adaptations are so heavily adapted they may as well be new stories!).more
Jerry Burton is an aviator from London who is recovering from injuries he suffered in a crash landing and his doctor has recommended that he remove himself from the hustle and bustle of London and lease a house in a quiet little village for a few months. So, Jerry and his sister Joanna come to Lymstock, rent a cottage, and set about becoming acquainted with the other villagers. But there is turmoil just under the placid surface of this tiny bucolic spot and a series of anonymous letters start being delivered to nearly everyone in the village, accusing them of horrible secrets and activities. Everyone is suspicious of everyone else and things are brought to a boil when one of the letters causes the wife of the local barrister to commit suicide. But things only get worse when a kitchen maid in one of the cottages is found murdered. The vicar's wife asks a good friend of hers to come visit and Miss Jane Marple arrives and works her "nothing new under the sun" magic, lining up the clues that were right in front of everyone all along.Great read! Miss Marple only appears in the final quarter of the book and the story is told from Jerry Burton's POV, so we aren't allowed to see the workings of this good lady's logical mind, only the results. But it was still a great story.more
Miss Marple only appears in the latter third of the book, but this is an intruiging mystery about annoymous letters followed by murder. The romantic element feels contrived and unconvincing, but Christie superbly evokes the atmosphere of a small village under threat from an anonymous source.more
“Such a peaceful smiling happy countryside – and down underneath, something evil…”-- The Moving Finger, p. 28After a wartime plane crash, Jerry Burton’s doctor advises him to find a nice, quiet country village and “live the life of a vegetable” to speed along the recuperation process. Jerry and his sister Joanna settle in Lymstock, an idyllic country town that is three miles from a main road. It is a place where, as an astonished Joanna observes, “People really call – with cards!” Jerry’s peaceful, vegetative life in Lymstock is, however, soon shattered. A few days after their arrival, Jerry receives a malicious anonymous letter. The letter alleges that the Burtons are not brother and sister, but an unmarried couple living in sin. Jerry and Joanna are initially quite amused by the novelty of receiving such a letter, but they soon view the letter as a sign of something much more sinister.All of Lymstock, it seems, has been receiving these letters. When a woman apparently commits suicide after receiving a letter, the search for the writer intensifies. After another character is murdered, presumably by the anonymous writer, a palpable fear settles over the community. Neighbor suspects neighbor and the whole of Lymstock wonders who amongst them could be capable of such despicable acts.The indomitable Miss Marple makes her first appearance in the last quarter of the novel. For a less skillful writer than Dame Christie, the lack of the primary character could have made this story very tedious for the reader, but Christie’s characters are so well-drawn and compelling that the reader does not notice the loss. The primary sleuthing has been done by Jerry and a few of the other residents of Lymstock, but only Miss Marple is able to connect the myriad of clues and bring the killer to justice.The Moving Finger was originally published in the United States in 1942. For a novel that is over sixty years old, it has aged incredibly well. Agatha Christie’s extraordinary understanding of human nature gives her characters and her stories a timeless quality. One of my favorite Christie novels, The Moving Finger is a compelling read that will keep you guessing until the end.more
Pointing FingersAgatha Christie's swift, slim 1942 novel The Moving Finger is a Miss Marple mystery which very nearly does not have Miss Marple.In my version (the spiffy new Black Dog & Leventhal edition), the grandmotherly detective makes her first appearance on page 144 of the book's 201 pages. That's like Bruce Willis making his first appearance in a Bruce Willis movie twenty minutes before the end credits roll. Fifty-seven pages do not allow very much time for a detective to solve a case.However, even though she has what can best be described as an extended cameo role in The Moving Finger, Miss Jane Marple pulls it off in grand fashion, as always.The story is told through the eyes of Jerry Burton who has come to the little village of Lymstock with his younger sister Joanna after he's been injured in a wartime plane crash. His doctor has advised him to "lead the life of a vegetable" in a place where he can find peace and quiet.At first, Lymstock seems like the perfect haven. Sure, the residents are a little eccentric-&#151but who isn't when they live in Agatha Christie Land, right? From the first page of the novel, we're told that something is amiss and it centers around a series of anonymous letters which have been sent to several people living in the village.As Jerry tells us after he receives the first crude message, It seems odd, now, to remember that Joanna and I were more amused by the letter than anything else. We hadn't, then, the faintest inkling of what was to come&#151-the trail of blood and violence and suspicion and fear.That first letter accuses Jerry and Joanna of engaging in sexual activity most unbecoming of a brother and sister. Agatha never discloses the contents of the letters, but lets our imagination dance around the possibilities of what it says. I have a feeling that what we imagine is much more graphic than how readers in 1942 would have filled in the blanks. Whatever we guess the letters to say, the language would not have been suitable for World War Two era readers.During a visit to the local doctor, Jerry happens to mention the letter (which he impetuously burned in the fireplace). Dr. Griffith drops his bag and exclaims, "Do you mean to say that you've had one of them?"The epidemic of anonymous poison letters has been spreading around Lymstock for some time, Griffith tells Jerry, all of them "harping on the sex theme." The local solicitor Symmington was accused of illicit relations with his secretary ("Miss Ginch, who's forty at least, with pince-nez and teeth like a rabbit"), and even the doctor himself has received a letter which claims to have knowledge of him sleeping with some of his lady patients."What is this place?" Joanna wonders. "It looks the most innocent, sleepy harmless little bit of England you can imagine."That is Agatha's forte, of course-&#151ripping away the thin skin of gentility and good manners to reveal the gory, pestilential truth beneath. What reader hasn't known a two-faced, scheming liar who gets his or her jollies out of seeing innocent people suffer? Agatha knew how to craft a clever, often outlandish plot around an ordinary truth.Eventually, the venomous accusations become too much to bear and one character commits suicide-&#151ah, but was it really suicide? Perhaps there's something deeper, darker at work in Lymstock than just flooding the mail with wicked letters. Maybe there's more to it than just "sex and spite." Soon, paranoia is gripping the town: There was a half-scared, half-avid gleam in almost everybody's eye. Neighbor looked at neighbor.The police are called in as more bodies begin to pile up and while the investigators do their best to sort through the psychological patterns they find in the letters, it isn't until Miss Marple makes her late entrance in the novel that we know the village residents can breathe a sigh of relief. It won't be long before this "tame elderly maiden lady" will unmask the letter writer.Sandwiched chronologically between The Body in the Library and Murder in Retrospect, The Moving Finger is a fine addition to the Christie library. Agatha herself was partial to it, as she wrote in her Autobiography, "I find that another one I am really pleased with is The Moving Finger. It is a great test to reread what one has written some seventeen or eighteen years before. One's view changes. Some do not stand the test of time, others do."With its keen psychological probing of rumor and paranoia, this Christie mystery certainly stands the test of time.more
I can't for the life of me figure out how this title goes with the story, but the story was a pleasant read.more
read this out loud to Lisa when we were in Jerusalem. One of my favorite Agatha Christie mysteries.more
I must say, I didn't like this one as well as I thought I would. For one thing, Miss Marple has only a very small role here. On the other hand, it is only the 3rd full-length novel featuring Miss Marple so maybe her creator hadn't really fleshed out her character yet. Brief synopsis: This story is told in first-person mode by one Jerry Burton, who was a pilot for the RAF and crashed his plane. He is prescribed quiet rest, so he rents a house in the small village of Lymstock along with his sister Joanna. No sooner do the two of them settle in than they receive a "poison pen" type letter making derogatory comments about Jerry's relationship with his sister. Well, it turns out that as he's talking to people in the village, he finds out that most everyone has been sent the same type of vitriolic letter. Sadly, after one woman receives one, she commits suicide by drinking cyanide. Another death soon follows, and the situation is out of hand. The vicar's wife decides she's had enough and calls in none other than Jane Marple, who she says is "someone who knows a great deal about wickedness." Surprisingly, Miss Marple only enters toward the end, and doesn't display much of her wonderful talent in this novel. I was a little disappointed but the story itself was quite good, with a kind of unique look at the characters who comprise an English village.I wouldn't start with this one if you are contemplating reading a story about Miss Marple, but it is a decent story and one I'm proud to keep in my home library.more
Load more
scribd