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Previously published in the print anthology The Thirteen Problems.

A woman is warned by a psychic of the evil and danger in her house. On a full moon, she must watch for the signs: blue primrose means caution, blue hollyhock is danger, and blue geranium is death!

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062297938
List price: $0.99
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Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love? -- and this time in short stories for great quick bedtime read.more
I picked this book up to join in on the Agatha Christie read along at Book Club girl. There is an Agatha Christie read along challenge that is being hosted by several bloggers this summer. I would never have picked up this book except for the challenge. It turns out Miss Marple is the perfect kind of cozy mystery that I adore. This book is an introduction to Miss Marple who is an elderly lady who everyone dismisses because of her age and because she has rarely left her English village. It turns out that the village is the perfect place to study human nature and according to Miss Marple people do not change. In this book Miss Marple attends a dinner party where everyone takes turns telling a story about a mystery with which they have direct experience. Each story triggers a recollection of someone Miss Marple has known in her village and thus to everyone's surprise she is able to solve each mystery, including one that hasn't even happened yet! Even though everyone is very condescending to Miss Marple, at first even going so far as to register surprise that she wants to play along in their little mystery telling game, they soon come to respect her judgement. I love it when Miss Marple dishes the put downs right back at them. She tells one person that he couldn't be expected to understand what happened because he is of course a man. Go Miss Marple! I didn't spend too much time puzzling out the answers to the mysteries my self because I couldn't wait to read Miss Marple's explanations. A common theme to the solution of the mysteries was mistaken identity and greed. I thought that these stories would be a little old fashioned for my taste but I loved them. Miss Marple is right, human nature doesn't change and I could see anyone of these stories taking place today. I can't wait to start the next book in this challenge, 4:50 from Paddington.more
A great book that feels like less of a short story compilation than a series of "Who Done It?" where Miss Marple and the reader are guessing in every situation what the answer to the mystery is. It's engaging for the reader in a way that a mystery novel cannot.more
A nice little gem and discovered through a kind recommendation. I wouldn't say it's the best of the Miss Marple books, but it would make for a nice introduction to the old lady. The book is basically a short story collection of neat ideas that may not have been worthy of a novel of their own. As usual, there are a few twists involving the main characters, which are the dinner guests discussing mysterious murders that they have been witnesses to or whatever. All of the stories were intriguing and I actually figured out a few of them, notably the Blue Geranium story. Science class pays off at the strangest of times.more
I enjoyed this series of short stories. While some are predictable I remind my self they weren't when written. I like the second half of the stories the best. "A Christmas Tragedy" and "The Affair at the Bungalow" made me work for the answers which is always fun and I love Miss Marple. Plus it's a quick read which is good for my quest.more
Miss Marple and 5 companions (some of whom show up as significant characters in other of the Miss Marple tales) challenge each other with "problems" drawn from their varied past experiences with mysterious situations. In each of these short stories, a problem is laid out by one of the participants, and the others conjecture solutions based on the available information. Miss Marple of course provides the correct solution, extrapolating the truth from personalities or other subtleties involved in the problems.more
This book is a collection of short murder mysteries that Miss Marple solves. I liked most of the stories and couldn't always guess who had committed the crime. I also like that the stories were short so that I could put down the book after the end of a story and then pick it up again later without having to remember what had happened previously.more
THE THIRTEEN PROBLEMS consists of 13 short stories, all dedicated to demonstrating the cleverness of Miss Marple, who mainly solves the mysteries by comparing them to her observations of life in St. Mary Mead. The stories marked the debut of Miss Marple. The first set were published in 1927-28, and therefore preceded her debut novel THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE which was published in 1930.The first story is The Tuesday Night Club and it sets the scene for the next 5 stories.The author Raymond West is staying with his aunt, Jane Marple in the village of St. Mary Mead.Apart from Raymond and Miss Marple, there are four other people in the room, the occasion simply an evening in Miss Marple's house. Other people might play charades but Raymond West suggests they think about unsolved mysteries. One of the guests suggests they form a club, call it the Tuesday Night Club, to meet every week, and each member has to propound a problem. It seems at first that Miss Marple will be left out but the others courteously include her.As the evening progresses, each of the guests tells a story, and then the others each attempt a solution. Invariably the story teller knows the answer and only Miss Marple guesses correctly.The stories generated are * The Tuesday Night Club - Sir Henry Clithering, until recently Commissioner of Scotland Yard, tells a tale about tinned lobster that caused a fatal case of food poisoning. December 1927. * The Idol House of Astarte - Dr. Pender is an elderly clergyman. He tells the story of paganism and the time when he saw a man "stricken to death by apparently no mortal agency". January 1928. * Ingots of Gold - this story is recounted by Raymond West and is about a Cornish village called Rathole (a sly dig at the real village of Mousehole?) and treasure from the Spanish Armada. February 1928. * The Bloodstained Pavement - Joyce Lempriere, the artist, also tells a tale from the village of Rathole, of a husband and wife playing the cruellest trick of all, the duping and eventual murder of another woman. March 1928. * Motive & Opportunity - Mr Petherick is a solicitor, "a dried-up little man with eyeglasses which he looked over and not through." His tale is of spiritualism and of a will that is eventually found to be a blank sheet of paper. April 1928. * The Thumb Mark of St. Peter - this is Miss Marple's story, about her niece Mabel who married a man with a violent temper, and who is suspected by the locals of causing his death. May 1928.The proposed Tuesday Night Club doesn't seem to have met again, or at least not regularly as was first proposed.Some months later, Sir Henry Clithering goes to stay with friends, Colonel and Mrs Bantry who live near St. Mary Mead. Mrs Bantry is arranging a dinner party and Sir Henry suggests Miss Marple as the sixth person for the party. He mentions the memorable evening the year before in Miss Marple's house. Mrs Bantry adds Miss Marple to the invitations and suggests they try her out on "Arthur's ghost story" after dinner. There are 6 people at the dinner table and after dinner the stories are told. * The Blue Geranium - This is Colonel Arthur Bantry's tale. He is a red-faced, broad shouldered man who tells his "ghost story" at his wife Dolly's prompting. It is about a "dreadful" woman who had a weakness for fortune tellers, palmists and clairvoyantes, until the latest warns her against blue flowers, and the flowers on her bedroom wallpaper begin to change colour. December 1929. * The Companion - Dr. Lloyd is the grizzled elderly doctor who for the past 5 years has administered to the ailments of the village of St. Mary Mead. His tale is from time he spent practsing on the Canary Islands. Tragedy struck when two English ladies, one the paid companion of the other, came to stay, went swimming, and the companion drowned. February 1930. * The Four Suspects - Sir Henry Clithering tells the story of a marked man, hiding from a secret society, to whom he assigns a protector. Unfortunately the man is still killed, in an apparent accident falling down the stairs, but Clithering suspects the very man he sent in as the protector. January 1930. * A Christmas Tragedy - Mrs Bantry, Dolly, protests she doesn't have a tale to tell, so Miss Marple tells the story of the murder of a young wife, she had been convinced would happen, and failed to prevent. January 1930. * The Herb of Death - Mrs Bantry can't get out of telling a tale, and so she tells a tale of what had appeared to be a case of accidental poisoning when foxglove leaves were picked with sage, and roast duck stuffed with the mixture. But even she doesn't see what really happened, but Miss Marple works it out. March 1930. * The Affair of the Bungalow - Jane Helier, a beautiful young actress, tells the story of a "close friend" but Miss Marple sees through it and gives her some timely advice. May 1930.The final story does not come from either of the preceding occasions, but is a collaboration between Sir Henry Clithering, again staying with the Bantrys, and consulted by Miss Marple, who says she knows who has committed a local murder. * Death by Drowning - a local St. Mary Mead girl has been drowned. At first it is thought to be suicide but Miss Marple is convinced it is murder. She asks Sir Henry to intervene in the local investigation to ensure that the true murderer is apprehended. She gives Sir Henry a slip of paper with the name of the murderer on it. November 1931.As BooksPlease says, this set of stories is "an easy read and the short stories are ideal for reading quickly and in isolation."All but one of the stories (the exception being The Four Suspects) first appeared in the UK in monthly fiction magazines. You'll see at the end of each description above I have included the first date of publication.more
The Thirteen Problems is a collection of loosely connected short stories. The first six stories take place as part of The Tuesday Night Club, where a select group of friends come together each week for one to relate some mysterious, "unsolved" tale that only they know the answer to, to see if anyone else can come up with the answer. Each and every time, Miss Marple is able to deduce the answer. The second set of stories take place at a dinner party where Miss Marple is invited at the request of Sir Henry Clithering, who was also part of The Tuesday Night Club and is a retired head of Scotland Yard. Again, Miss Marple reasons her way to the answer of each mystery. The final story takes place some time after the dinner party, when Miss Marple discovers the Sir Clithering is staying in St. Mary Mead, and she enlists his help in solving a mysterious death in the village.Really, these stories are rather simplistic, and it seemed a rather big jump in some cases for Miss Marple to reach the conclusions that she did, but I guess that's the point of the stories; that Miss Marple has such a keen insight into the human condition, and that everything that she observes always reminds her of something else, that not much escapes her powers of observation. From what I understand, most of these stories had originally been published prior to Murder at the Vicarage, so that may explain why they are so simplistic; they were written for the express purpose of simply introducing Miss Marple. Not a bad book, but I think that Miss Marple really has a much better chance to shine through in a novel rather than these short stories.more
Miss Jane Marple's nephew, Raymond West, is staying with her in her cottage in St. Mary Mead for a while. In order to pass the time, he has invited several of his friends to begin meeting at Miss Marple's on Tuesday nights to entertain each other. They call themselves the Tuesday Night Club, and the members include writers (like Raymond), a retired detective from Scotland Yard, an artist, a vicar, a lawyer, and an earl. The only rule is that each member must tell a true mysterious story to which they alone know the answer. After hearing each story, the club members tackle solving the mystery based only on the clues given. When the first story is told, everyone in the club including Raymond has all but forgotten about Miss Jane Marple, sitting and knitting quietly in her chair by the fire, but it is she who tells them the right answer after they are all stumped. After the fourth or fifth story, the club members have learned to listen to her logic. She keeps telling them that life in a quiet English village is a microcosm of life in general and that there is nothing new under the sun. She finds something in every story that reminds her of something that has happened in her own sleepy little village, and of course, it is Miss Jane who solves each and every mystery presented by the Tuesday Night Club.This is basically an anthology of short stories, told in the framework of this club of mystery solvers. Each story is unique and all the clues needed to solve it are plainly there in the telling. It was an interesting book, but not what I was expecting. I'm not wild about short stories because there just isn't enough meat to them, and this thin volume includes 13 of them, so I felt that my interest was barely engaged in each before they were solved and we were off to another. I like a bit more substance to a story than that. While the stories were each good and the mystery quite obscure in most of them, I really didn't care much for this book.more
Such an enjoyable example of Miss Marple's keen brain hiding behind a fluffy exterior! Using village parallels and her unique outlook on life, Miss Marple solves a series of mysteries that have stumped more sophisticated guests at various dinner parties in St. Mary's Mead. I love Agatha Christie's novels, and this book is an old favorite that I pull off the shelf when I need a quick hit. If you've never read it, I highly recommend the Tuesday Club Murders.more
This is the second Miss Marple book, a collection of short stories which are interesting as they are told as after dinner stories and, of course, in each story, Miss Marple solves the case easily.more
Bilingual Korean-English edition of the short stories which introduced Miss Marple as one of Christie's detectives. I find these stories more enjoyable than most of Christie's longer works.more
When I was young and suffering from an abnormally voracious appetite for books, I would gobble through the kids' room at the local library like the shelves were stocked with bags of potato chips and not books. I read at such a rapid rate, my fingers were constantly bandaged from the paper cuts I sustained when turning pages. The books crawled in, the books crawled out. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Black Stallion, Little House on the Prairie, Tom Swift adventures, Jim Kjelgaard's dog stories. Some of my favorite books at the time, however, were those featuring Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. If you never visited Idaville, Florida, and spent some time with Encyclopedia, I pity you. Sit down with the books by Donald J. Sobol for a few minutes and you'll gain a real appreciation for the term "brain teaser." And a few minutes are all you would need to watch the boy wonder solve petty crimes in his Idaville neighborhood. The books were divided into "cases," or short stories, and always allowed the reader to solve the mystery before Encyclopedia Brown stepped back in to reveal whodunit. Today, more than 30 years later, I cannot recall any of the specific "crimes" in the books, but surely they couldn't have been more earth-shaking than a missing cat or trying to prove it was the local bully who was stealing kids' lunch money. The attractive thing about the Encyclopedia Brown books was the way in which they presented their cases quickly and efficiently, building to that point where Sobol would break the fourth wall and ask the reader to help solve the mystery. To get the answer, you'd have to flip to the end of the book. Six times out of ten, I could guess the right answer....but it was always those other four cases which stumped me and kept me coming back for more Encyclopedia. There is nothing so refreshing as doing mental gymnastics with a fellow ten-year-old....unless you're matching wits with an equally-spry seventy-year-old spinster by the last name of Marple. I never read The Tuesday Club Murders when I was a book-hungry kid, but if I had I would have noticed the Encyclopedia Brown similarities right away. Of course, Agatha Christie's 1932 book of short stories came out three decades before the first Encyclopedia Brown, and there is considerably more blood and strangulation in the St. Mary Mead tales. But other than that, E.B. and M.M. could have been partners in a detective agency. In twelve of The Tuesday Club Murders' thirteen stories, Miss Marple and her friends sit around after a dinner party telling stories and challenging the others to guess the solution to the crimes. For fans of Agatha's novels, it's like spending a cozy evening with old friends—-Raymond West, Colonel and Mrs. Bantry, Mr. Petherick, et al. As they smoke and drink and knit (Miss Marple's clicking needles are like a steady metronome throughout the book), the party guests offer up tales of murder, smuggling and poltergeists. In the final story, "Death by Drowning," we get to see the murder investigation unfold before our eyes (though Miss Marple provides the solution, it's her friend, Sir Henry Clithering the ex-commissioner of Scotland Yard, who does the legwork on the case). Because the stories are so short and tightly-plotted, they're over and done with before you know it—-rather like getting a hypodermic injection at the doctor's office or a quick ride on a roller coaster. If you've come looking for the usual full-bodied Agatha Christie tale plump with character development, complicated alibis, and red herrings, this is probably not the book for you. The Tuesday Club Murders, also known as The Thirteen Problems, are just that: problems. Like a crossword puzzle or sudoku in the Sunday newspaper, these stories put your brain through a vigorous workout session, but they ask very little beyond figuring out the solution. In all likelihood, you won't remember the characters or cases a week after you've set the book aside and moved on to something else. In the same way I can't recall the details of the Encyclopedia Brown books, very little lingers in my mind after I turned the final page of The Tuesday Club Murders. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. Indeed, I always relish the moments I spend with Miss Jane Marple. Here, she's exceedingly delightful and Agatha does a good job of bringing out the dual ironies in the detective's character. On the one hand, she's a sweet, placid spinster with an encyclopedic knowledge of gardening; on the other hand, she's a tart old gossip keenly aware of the dark side of humanity. Here's a short passage which perfectly illustrates Miss Marple's character: "Aunt Jane," said Raymond, looking at her curiously, "how do you do it? You have lived such a peaceful life and yet nothing seems to surprise you." "I always find one thing very like another in this world," said Miss Marple. "There was Mrs. Green, you know, she buried five children-—and every one of them insured. Well, naturally, one began to get suspicious." She shook her head. "There is a great deal of wickedness in village life. I hope you dear young people will never realize how very wicked the world is." It's that keen eye for sin that enables Miss Marple to see the truth behind the fog of lies, alibis, bits of evidence and stray clues in all these cases. As Sir Henry notes, she always goes "straight to the truth like a homing pigeon." It's often the smallest details which trigger her mind and help her to ferret out the culprit. She knows, for instance, that gardeners don't work on Whit Monday, that pens can be filled with disappearing ink, or that nurses always carry litmus paper. It's the little things in life which always trip up the murderers who populate Miss Marple's world.more
Read all 15 reviews

Reviews

Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love? -- and this time in short stories for great quick bedtime read.more
I picked this book up to join in on the Agatha Christie read along at Book Club girl. There is an Agatha Christie read along challenge that is being hosted by several bloggers this summer. I would never have picked up this book except for the challenge. It turns out Miss Marple is the perfect kind of cozy mystery that I adore. This book is an introduction to Miss Marple who is an elderly lady who everyone dismisses because of her age and because she has rarely left her English village. It turns out that the village is the perfect place to study human nature and according to Miss Marple people do not change. In this book Miss Marple attends a dinner party where everyone takes turns telling a story about a mystery with which they have direct experience. Each story triggers a recollection of someone Miss Marple has known in her village and thus to everyone's surprise she is able to solve each mystery, including one that hasn't even happened yet! Even though everyone is very condescending to Miss Marple, at first even going so far as to register surprise that she wants to play along in their little mystery telling game, they soon come to respect her judgement. I love it when Miss Marple dishes the put downs right back at them. She tells one person that he couldn't be expected to understand what happened because he is of course a man. Go Miss Marple! I didn't spend too much time puzzling out the answers to the mysteries my self because I couldn't wait to read Miss Marple's explanations. A common theme to the solution of the mysteries was mistaken identity and greed. I thought that these stories would be a little old fashioned for my taste but I loved them. Miss Marple is right, human nature doesn't change and I could see anyone of these stories taking place today. I can't wait to start the next book in this challenge, 4:50 from Paddington.more
A great book that feels like less of a short story compilation than a series of "Who Done It?" where Miss Marple and the reader are guessing in every situation what the answer to the mystery is. It's engaging for the reader in a way that a mystery novel cannot.more
A nice little gem and discovered through a kind recommendation. I wouldn't say it's the best of the Miss Marple books, but it would make for a nice introduction to the old lady. The book is basically a short story collection of neat ideas that may not have been worthy of a novel of their own. As usual, there are a few twists involving the main characters, which are the dinner guests discussing mysterious murders that they have been witnesses to or whatever. All of the stories were intriguing and I actually figured out a few of them, notably the Blue Geranium story. Science class pays off at the strangest of times.more
I enjoyed this series of short stories. While some are predictable I remind my self they weren't when written. I like the second half of the stories the best. "A Christmas Tragedy" and "The Affair at the Bungalow" made me work for the answers which is always fun and I love Miss Marple. Plus it's a quick read which is good for my quest.more
Miss Marple and 5 companions (some of whom show up as significant characters in other of the Miss Marple tales) challenge each other with "problems" drawn from their varied past experiences with mysterious situations. In each of these short stories, a problem is laid out by one of the participants, and the others conjecture solutions based on the available information. Miss Marple of course provides the correct solution, extrapolating the truth from personalities or other subtleties involved in the problems.more
This book is a collection of short murder mysteries that Miss Marple solves. I liked most of the stories and couldn't always guess who had committed the crime. I also like that the stories were short so that I could put down the book after the end of a story and then pick it up again later without having to remember what had happened previously.more
THE THIRTEEN PROBLEMS consists of 13 short stories, all dedicated to demonstrating the cleverness of Miss Marple, who mainly solves the mysteries by comparing them to her observations of life in St. Mary Mead. The stories marked the debut of Miss Marple. The first set were published in 1927-28, and therefore preceded her debut novel THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE which was published in 1930.The first story is The Tuesday Night Club and it sets the scene for the next 5 stories.The author Raymond West is staying with his aunt, Jane Marple in the village of St. Mary Mead.Apart from Raymond and Miss Marple, there are four other people in the room, the occasion simply an evening in Miss Marple's house. Other people might play charades but Raymond West suggests they think about unsolved mysteries. One of the guests suggests they form a club, call it the Tuesday Night Club, to meet every week, and each member has to propound a problem. It seems at first that Miss Marple will be left out but the others courteously include her.As the evening progresses, each of the guests tells a story, and then the others each attempt a solution. Invariably the story teller knows the answer and only Miss Marple guesses correctly.The stories generated are * The Tuesday Night Club - Sir Henry Clithering, until recently Commissioner of Scotland Yard, tells a tale about tinned lobster that caused a fatal case of food poisoning. December 1927. * The Idol House of Astarte - Dr. Pender is an elderly clergyman. He tells the story of paganism and the time when he saw a man "stricken to death by apparently no mortal agency". January 1928. * Ingots of Gold - this story is recounted by Raymond West and is about a Cornish village called Rathole (a sly dig at the real village of Mousehole?) and treasure from the Spanish Armada. February 1928. * The Bloodstained Pavement - Joyce Lempriere, the artist, also tells a tale from the village of Rathole, of a husband and wife playing the cruellest trick of all, the duping and eventual murder of another woman. March 1928. * Motive & Opportunity - Mr Petherick is a solicitor, "a dried-up little man with eyeglasses which he looked over and not through." His tale is of spiritualism and of a will that is eventually found to be a blank sheet of paper. April 1928. * The Thumb Mark of St. Peter - this is Miss Marple's story, about her niece Mabel who married a man with a violent temper, and who is suspected by the locals of causing his death. May 1928.The proposed Tuesday Night Club doesn't seem to have met again, or at least not regularly as was first proposed.Some months later, Sir Henry Clithering goes to stay with friends, Colonel and Mrs Bantry who live near St. Mary Mead. Mrs Bantry is arranging a dinner party and Sir Henry suggests Miss Marple as the sixth person for the party. He mentions the memorable evening the year before in Miss Marple's house. Mrs Bantry adds Miss Marple to the invitations and suggests they try her out on "Arthur's ghost story" after dinner. There are 6 people at the dinner table and after dinner the stories are told. * The Blue Geranium - This is Colonel Arthur Bantry's tale. He is a red-faced, broad shouldered man who tells his "ghost story" at his wife Dolly's prompting. It is about a "dreadful" woman who had a weakness for fortune tellers, palmists and clairvoyantes, until the latest warns her against blue flowers, and the flowers on her bedroom wallpaper begin to change colour. December 1929. * The Companion - Dr. Lloyd is the grizzled elderly doctor who for the past 5 years has administered to the ailments of the village of St. Mary Mead. His tale is from time he spent practsing on the Canary Islands. Tragedy struck when two English ladies, one the paid companion of the other, came to stay, went swimming, and the companion drowned. February 1930. * The Four Suspects - Sir Henry Clithering tells the story of a marked man, hiding from a secret society, to whom he assigns a protector. Unfortunately the man is still killed, in an apparent accident falling down the stairs, but Clithering suspects the very man he sent in as the protector. January 1930. * A Christmas Tragedy - Mrs Bantry, Dolly, protests she doesn't have a tale to tell, so Miss Marple tells the story of the murder of a young wife, she had been convinced would happen, and failed to prevent. January 1930. * The Herb of Death - Mrs Bantry can't get out of telling a tale, and so she tells a tale of what had appeared to be a case of accidental poisoning when foxglove leaves were picked with sage, and roast duck stuffed with the mixture. But even she doesn't see what really happened, but Miss Marple works it out. March 1930. * The Affair of the Bungalow - Jane Helier, a beautiful young actress, tells the story of a "close friend" but Miss Marple sees through it and gives her some timely advice. May 1930.The final story does not come from either of the preceding occasions, but is a collaboration between Sir Henry Clithering, again staying with the Bantrys, and consulted by Miss Marple, who says she knows who has committed a local murder. * Death by Drowning - a local St. Mary Mead girl has been drowned. At first it is thought to be suicide but Miss Marple is convinced it is murder. She asks Sir Henry to intervene in the local investigation to ensure that the true murderer is apprehended. She gives Sir Henry a slip of paper with the name of the murderer on it. November 1931.As BooksPlease says, this set of stories is "an easy read and the short stories are ideal for reading quickly and in isolation."All but one of the stories (the exception being The Four Suspects) first appeared in the UK in monthly fiction magazines. You'll see at the end of each description above I have included the first date of publication.more
The Thirteen Problems is a collection of loosely connected short stories. The first six stories take place as part of The Tuesday Night Club, where a select group of friends come together each week for one to relate some mysterious, "unsolved" tale that only they know the answer to, to see if anyone else can come up with the answer. Each and every time, Miss Marple is able to deduce the answer. The second set of stories take place at a dinner party where Miss Marple is invited at the request of Sir Henry Clithering, who was also part of The Tuesday Night Club and is a retired head of Scotland Yard. Again, Miss Marple reasons her way to the answer of each mystery. The final story takes place some time after the dinner party, when Miss Marple discovers the Sir Clithering is staying in St. Mary Mead, and she enlists his help in solving a mysterious death in the village.Really, these stories are rather simplistic, and it seemed a rather big jump in some cases for Miss Marple to reach the conclusions that she did, but I guess that's the point of the stories; that Miss Marple has such a keen insight into the human condition, and that everything that she observes always reminds her of something else, that not much escapes her powers of observation. From what I understand, most of these stories had originally been published prior to Murder at the Vicarage, so that may explain why they are so simplistic; they were written for the express purpose of simply introducing Miss Marple. Not a bad book, but I think that Miss Marple really has a much better chance to shine through in a novel rather than these short stories.more
Miss Jane Marple's nephew, Raymond West, is staying with her in her cottage in St. Mary Mead for a while. In order to pass the time, he has invited several of his friends to begin meeting at Miss Marple's on Tuesday nights to entertain each other. They call themselves the Tuesday Night Club, and the members include writers (like Raymond), a retired detective from Scotland Yard, an artist, a vicar, a lawyer, and an earl. The only rule is that each member must tell a true mysterious story to which they alone know the answer. After hearing each story, the club members tackle solving the mystery based only on the clues given. When the first story is told, everyone in the club including Raymond has all but forgotten about Miss Jane Marple, sitting and knitting quietly in her chair by the fire, but it is she who tells them the right answer after they are all stumped. After the fourth or fifth story, the club members have learned to listen to her logic. She keeps telling them that life in a quiet English village is a microcosm of life in general and that there is nothing new under the sun. She finds something in every story that reminds her of something that has happened in her own sleepy little village, and of course, it is Miss Jane who solves each and every mystery presented by the Tuesday Night Club.This is basically an anthology of short stories, told in the framework of this club of mystery solvers. Each story is unique and all the clues needed to solve it are plainly there in the telling. It was an interesting book, but not what I was expecting. I'm not wild about short stories because there just isn't enough meat to them, and this thin volume includes 13 of them, so I felt that my interest was barely engaged in each before they were solved and we were off to another. I like a bit more substance to a story than that. While the stories were each good and the mystery quite obscure in most of them, I really didn't care much for this book.more
Such an enjoyable example of Miss Marple's keen brain hiding behind a fluffy exterior! Using village parallels and her unique outlook on life, Miss Marple solves a series of mysteries that have stumped more sophisticated guests at various dinner parties in St. Mary's Mead. I love Agatha Christie's novels, and this book is an old favorite that I pull off the shelf when I need a quick hit. If you've never read it, I highly recommend the Tuesday Club Murders.more
This is the second Miss Marple book, a collection of short stories which are interesting as they are told as after dinner stories and, of course, in each story, Miss Marple solves the case easily.more
Bilingual Korean-English edition of the short stories which introduced Miss Marple as one of Christie's detectives. I find these stories more enjoyable than most of Christie's longer works.more
When I was young and suffering from an abnormally voracious appetite for books, I would gobble through the kids' room at the local library like the shelves were stocked with bags of potato chips and not books. I read at such a rapid rate, my fingers were constantly bandaged from the paper cuts I sustained when turning pages. The books crawled in, the books crawled out. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Black Stallion, Little House on the Prairie, Tom Swift adventures, Jim Kjelgaard's dog stories. Some of my favorite books at the time, however, were those featuring Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. If you never visited Idaville, Florida, and spent some time with Encyclopedia, I pity you. Sit down with the books by Donald J. Sobol for a few minutes and you'll gain a real appreciation for the term "brain teaser." And a few minutes are all you would need to watch the boy wonder solve petty crimes in his Idaville neighborhood. The books were divided into "cases," or short stories, and always allowed the reader to solve the mystery before Encyclopedia Brown stepped back in to reveal whodunit. Today, more than 30 years later, I cannot recall any of the specific "crimes" in the books, but surely they couldn't have been more earth-shaking than a missing cat or trying to prove it was the local bully who was stealing kids' lunch money. The attractive thing about the Encyclopedia Brown books was the way in which they presented their cases quickly and efficiently, building to that point where Sobol would break the fourth wall and ask the reader to help solve the mystery. To get the answer, you'd have to flip to the end of the book. Six times out of ten, I could guess the right answer....but it was always those other four cases which stumped me and kept me coming back for more Encyclopedia. There is nothing so refreshing as doing mental gymnastics with a fellow ten-year-old....unless you're matching wits with an equally-spry seventy-year-old spinster by the last name of Marple. I never read The Tuesday Club Murders when I was a book-hungry kid, but if I had I would have noticed the Encyclopedia Brown similarities right away. Of course, Agatha Christie's 1932 book of short stories came out three decades before the first Encyclopedia Brown, and there is considerably more blood and strangulation in the St. Mary Mead tales. But other than that, E.B. and M.M. could have been partners in a detective agency. In twelve of The Tuesday Club Murders' thirteen stories, Miss Marple and her friends sit around after a dinner party telling stories and challenging the others to guess the solution to the crimes. For fans of Agatha's novels, it's like spending a cozy evening with old friends—-Raymond West, Colonel and Mrs. Bantry, Mr. Petherick, et al. As they smoke and drink and knit (Miss Marple's clicking needles are like a steady metronome throughout the book), the party guests offer up tales of murder, smuggling and poltergeists. In the final story, "Death by Drowning," we get to see the murder investigation unfold before our eyes (though Miss Marple provides the solution, it's her friend, Sir Henry Clithering the ex-commissioner of Scotland Yard, who does the legwork on the case). Because the stories are so short and tightly-plotted, they're over and done with before you know it—-rather like getting a hypodermic injection at the doctor's office or a quick ride on a roller coaster. If you've come looking for the usual full-bodied Agatha Christie tale plump with character development, complicated alibis, and red herrings, this is probably not the book for you. The Tuesday Club Murders, also known as The Thirteen Problems, are just that: problems. Like a crossword puzzle or sudoku in the Sunday newspaper, these stories put your brain through a vigorous workout session, but they ask very little beyond figuring out the solution. In all likelihood, you won't remember the characters or cases a week after you've set the book aside and moved on to something else. In the same way I can't recall the details of the Encyclopedia Brown books, very little lingers in my mind after I turned the final page of The Tuesday Club Murders. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. Indeed, I always relish the moments I spend with Miss Jane Marple. Here, she's exceedingly delightful and Agatha does a good job of bringing out the dual ironies in the detective's character. On the one hand, she's a sweet, placid spinster with an encyclopedic knowledge of gardening; on the other hand, she's a tart old gossip keenly aware of the dark side of humanity. Here's a short passage which perfectly illustrates Miss Marple's character: "Aunt Jane," said Raymond, looking at her curiously, "how do you do it? You have lived such a peaceful life and yet nothing seems to surprise you." "I always find one thing very like another in this world," said Miss Marple. "There was Mrs. Green, you know, she buried five children-—and every one of them insured. Well, naturally, one began to get suspicious." She shook her head. "There is a great deal of wickedness in village life. I hope you dear young people will never realize how very wicked the world is." It's that keen eye for sin that enables Miss Marple to see the truth behind the fog of lies, alibis, bits of evidence and stray clues in all these cases. As Sir Henry notes, she always goes "straight to the truth like a homing pigeon." It's often the smallest details which trigger her mind and help her to ferret out the culprit. She knows, for instance, that gardeners don't work on Whit Monday, that pens can be filled with disappearing ink, or that nurses always carry litmus paper. It's the little things in life which always trip up the murderers who populate Miss Marple's world.more
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