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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Mysteries) Paperback – April 12, 2011

Book 1 of 13 in the Miss Marple Mysteries Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. James Saxon delivers a memorable and absolutely masterful performance of Christie's first Miss Marple mystery. When the wildly unpopular Colonel Protheroe is found murdered in the vicar's study, it seems that everyone—his unhappy wife, his daughter, a visiting artist, an embittered poacher, the vicar—has a motive in a mystery that confounds the authorities, consumes the village and can only be untangled by observations and deductions of our heroine: the elderly gossip-cum-sleuth Miss Marple. Saxon's artful and enthusiastic portrayal of a host of characters—male and female, guilty and innocent, young and old—will delight Christie fans, mystery lovers and anyone lucky enough to listen. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Agatha Christie taught me two things: that plotting mysteries was an art, and that a woman detective could be as strong a character as a male detective.” (Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Ian Rutledge mysteries and Bess Crawford mysteries)

“When she really hits her stride, as she does here, Agatha Christie is hard to surpass.” (Saturday Review of Literature)

Customer Reviews

Thank goodness for Agatha Christie and Miss Marple!
Oh, the writing is very good with fine descriptions and characters and there are little bits of humor here and there to liven things up.
David A. Lessnau
Timeless characters, motives and setting, plus plot twists that keep you guessing til the end.
Kathleen A. Woodward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Like many other writers, Christie went through an apprentice period during which she created the particular style we recognize as unique to her work. Novels from this early period are hit and miss--and MURDER AT THE VICARAGE, which introduces the famous Miss Marple, might best be described as a bit of both.
VICARAGE offers the story of the widely unpopular Col. Protheroe, who seems determined to vex every one he encounters--including his daughter from a former marriage and his current wife, the latter of which has undertaken a liaison with a local artist. One evening the Colonel pays a call to vicarage only to find the Vicar out on a call... and while waiting is shot dead under what seem impossible circumstances. No sooner is the body discovered than people who could not possibly have committed the crime begin to confess, and the Vicar and his neighbor, the meddlesome Miss Marple, form a somewhat uneasy alliance to ferret out the truth.
The Miss Marple of this particular novel is not the character we know from later books; although the outlines of the character are well established, she is not greatly sympathetic and she lacks the disconcerting twinkle found in such works as THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY and A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED. Moreover, the other characters, the setting, and the plot seem extremely stiff. The solution, when it comes, is also rather gimmicky in a way which Christie cannot yet make entirely plausible. I would not recommend this particular Christie to newcomers--but I do recommend it longtime fans, who will enjoy seeing how Christie developed the character of Miss Marple and how she herself evolved as a writer, particularly since the outline of the plot is a device to which she would return with considerably greater effect in later and more substantial novels.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on April 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Murder at the Vicarage" is memorable because it introduces the delightful Miss Jane Marple. With her love of gardening, binoculars for bird-watching close-at-hand, and an uncanny ability to find similarities between the present situation and her past experiences and acquaintances, Miss Marple is introduced in her home village of St. Mary Mead. We will return here many times and reacquaint ourselves with the characters introduced in this mystery---the vicar Leonard Clement and his wife Griselda, Mrs. Price Ridley, Colonel Melchett, Dr. Haydock, and others.
The murder victim, Colonel Protheroe, is a hateful man disliked by everyone he had dealings with. Therefore, the list of suspects is much longer than usual. There is the victim's second wife, the visiting artist she loves, a mysterious lady with the telling name of Mrs. Lestrange, a teenage daughter, an archaeologist, and a secretary.
There are plenty of red herrings in this one and it is up to Miss Marple to reveal if the most likely suspect is also the guilty one in this cozy read for those of us who thrive on evil in small village life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
To begin with, there seems to be a horrible bit of confusion here with the Amazon reviews on this particular book, Murder at the Vicarage. Reviews from the book `Sleeping Murder' have been mixed in with reviews of Murder at the Vicarage and if you go to the Sleeping Murder product page you will find reviews written on this book, Murder at the Vicarage. Sleeping Murder was published in 1976 where as Murder at the Vicarage was published in 1930. Amazon seems to have mixed (unless I am missing something here, which is always possible I suppose) the reviews of these two book together in a very haphazard manner. When you read these reviews when deciding whether or not to purchase or read these books, be sure you make an extra effort to separate the two.

This review is on the book, Murder at the Vicarage.

Murder at the Vicarage was first published in 1930 and is the first book to feature the very bright elderly spinster Miss Jane Marple. It is told through the eyes and voice of the Reverend Clements in whose vicarage the murder was committed. As time has shown us, Miss Marple has become one of literatures most famous and enduring detectives second only to Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. These three are the "big three" of the English detection genre.

Like most of Christie's detection books, this one is filled with a plethora of characters and likewise an abundance of red herrings. The minute you think you have it figured out the author throws you a curve...a logical curves I grant you, but a curve never the less. The clues are all there if the reader pays close attention and gets into the "Agatha Christie frame of mind.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on July 28, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Our narrator, Rev. Clements is articulate, self-deprecating and an able Watson to Miss Marple's Holmes. The locale is the village St. Mary's Mead; the victim is the detestable Col. Protheroe. In their proper places are Flighty Wife, Handsome Artist, Ethereal Ingénue, Gruff Physician, Gossipy Maiden Ladies, Timid Curate, and Mysterious Lady. They need no proper names for they appear over and over in Ms. Christie's novels with new names, but are essentially the same people.
Col. Protheroe is shot in the back of head while apparently writing a note in the Vicar's study. On the face of it, this seems impossible. Though there are people all about, no one heard a shot from the house. No one saw anyone go near the study. The maid let him in just fifteen minutes before the body was discovered. A pretty kettle of fish! Two false confessions quickly muddy up the waters, and it is discovered that most everyone had a motive for killing the good Colonel, except Miss Marple, who, if truth were told, didn't like him very well either.
The intricacies are many, timetables are crucial, but Miss Marple is up to the test. I particularly liked the leisurely lives and pace of St. Mary's Mead. Everyone had servants, you could not move from room to room without being announced. There is some nice humor that runs through regarding the surly maid who runs the vicarage. She is a diffident housekeeper and appalling cook. But the vicar's young wife determinedly keeps her on, for if the maid improves, Griselda fears she would be hired away from them. The vicar bears up as well as he can. People only call upon the police when they feel like it, usually after much discussion with friends and neighbors.
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More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Mysteries)
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