Topics: Trains, Murder, Women Detectives, Inheritance, Family, Secrets, Private Investigators, Suspenseful, 1950s, Series, England, 20th Century, Female Author, and British Author
The majority of the novel takes place at a large manor in rural England - the perfect place for a murder mystery in my opinion - and we follow along as Lucy Eyelesbarrow and Dermot Craddock investigate the lives and histories of the Crackenthorpe family, all under the unassuming direction of the elderly Miss Marple, our detective extraordinaire whose age prevents her from doing most of the poking around.
While I would have liked to have seen more of Miss Marple in the story, I understand that this is a later book and that Christie was likely using the opportunity to develop other sleuth characters. She did a wonderful job developing the character of Lucy, and there's plenty of the splendid Miss Marple in the end. I imagine that earlier novels will feature Miss Marple more front-and-center, and might recommend one of those as an introduction to her detective work.
Christie seems to have a way of convincingly leading you on as you try to solve the murder before the reveal, then just when you think you've got it, obliterating all notions of that accusation forcing you to start back at square one. While I was almost certain that I knew "whodunit" even before most of the characters, I was utterly surprised in the final chapters when Miss Marple swooped in to neatly frame and explain what she had deduced. And while it might seem a little fantastical to assume that all but the old lady had wool pulled over their eyes, the entire plot was believable and had no gaping unexplained or implausible holes.
While I can't recommend this book for any sort of intellectually-broadening characteristics, I do very much recommend it as a well-written and entertaining novel (especially for the Anglophile) and as a great alternative to the much inferior cop-dramas that litter the TV listings.