on June 16, 2001
Readers met Jason Rafiel in "A Caribbean Mystery" and may recall his high opinion of Miss Marple's knowlegdge of evil and her sense of justice. When Mr. Rafiel grows too ill to set a terible injustice right, he leaves that duty to Miss Marple in his will along with a bequest of twenty thousand pounds. Miss Marple agrees to do what she can but is puzzled since she is given no information. Knowing Mr. Rafiel as she does, however, she knows he will guide her if only from the grave. And guide he does. A few days after agreeing to do his biding, she receives a letter from the Famous Homes and Gardens of Great Britain confirming her reservation on one of their tours as a gift from Mr. Rafiel. Realizing this is the lead she was waiting for, she sets out on the tour relying only on her own keen observations and the belief that Mr. Rafiel will give her more assistance along the way. That he does, as she is led through a maze of adventure and danger to solve mysteries both old and new.
Most interesting among the characters in this book are three elderly sisters who own a beautiful 18th century house. Because they had received a letter from their friend Jason Rafiel informing them that his friend Jane Marple would be on the tour, they invite her to be their guest while she is in Jocelyn St. Mary. Just as in "A Caribbean Mystery" Mr. Rafiel proves to be a worthy ally and Jane Marple more than lives up to his opinion of her and proves herself worthy of the pet name "Nemesis" he had bestowed on her.
on May 2, 2001
Readers of Nemisis are in for a real treat. I am a 23 year old college student, who really has nothing in common with Jane Marple other than the fact that we both enjoy mysteries. My teacher recommended this book to me and am I so glad he did. This book is not just about a mystery; it is about not allowing yourself to grow old. The body will age, nothing can stop that, but the mind can stay as vital and active as we want it to be. Miss. Marple who is an elderly woman comes in and unlocks a mystery that has gone undetected for years and the kicker is that she does it simply by being herself and and being observant. She by-passes the extravigant techniques of Holmes and solves the crime by coaxing the characters into a false sense of security. This is an amazing book, don't read it just for the mystery, read it to experience all that life offers and that life by no means ends when you turn a certain age.
and Miss Marple is seeking the truth about the long ago tragic death of a young woman named Verity.
While on vacation last year Jane Marple had met fellow traveler Jason Rafiel. Together they solved a crime (CARIBBEAN MYSTERY) and then passed out of each other's lives - or so Miss Marple thought. She was quite surprised to find that he had left her a bequest in his will. She was even more surprised to find what the bequest was amd what Mr. Rafiel requested that she do. It seemed that his only son had been charged with the murder of a young woman years before, a young woman named Verity, and Mr. Rafiel wanted to truth of come out once and for all.
Soon Miss Marple was on the trail of this long ago crime, set to act in the role that Mr. Rafiel had cast her, the role of 'Nemesis' - bringer of justice. Her task is further complicated by the vagueness of her instructions. Mr. Rafiel has not given her more than the barest of clues as to what he wants her to accomplish or to who is enemy or ally on her quest.
As always with a Christie novel the clues are all there for the reader to follow but the plot twists and turns to challenge the reader to arrive at the solution ahead of Miss Marple.
on May 13, 1999
Nemesis was a well-developed novel. The plot was intriguing. I love Mystery novels and this is now one of my favorites! Mrs. Marple was a well thought out character. She was described with great detail and her age and attitude fit the story line well. This story was very original and displayed great complexity. It was complex because just enough clues were given at a time to allow your mind to freely explore all of the possibilities. Mrs. Marple is trying to solve a crime with very little to go on. All she has is very vague and incomplete instructions from the dead Mr. Rafiel. She did not even know whose murder she was supposed to solve. She was in the shadows on nearly everything and little by little she was clued in on what her task was supposed to be. Mrs. Marple meets several interesting people on her trip, which she carefully observes and takes notes on. She is alert to everything because she does not know where her next clue os going to come from. This was a novel where the details and clues were given right to you. There were no hidden details. Everything was laid out on the table for you. The ending was great. What made it so great was that it was so believable and easy to comprehend, which is something that I like! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely would not mind reading it again!
on February 21, 2001
Miss Jane Marple, an elderly lady with a knack for solving mysteries, took up a challenge given to her by the late Mr. Rafiel. Miss Marple was very surprised to learn that Mr. Rafiel had left a message with his lawyers insisting that she take up a case involving his son. He gave no information on what the case was, and only asked Miss Marple to say whether or not she would take up the challenge. He had arranged for her to go on a tour of the English countryside to meet suspects. While on the tour, she stopped for two nights in a little town and stayed with friends of Mr. Rafiel's. The three sisters that owned the mansion had very plain personalities and Miss Marple concluded that they had nothing to hide. She also met Miss Temple, who had interest in a girl named Verity Hunt, who had been brutally murdered by Mr. Rafiel's son. Did Mr. Rafiel's son kill Verity or not and who could have done it? Miss Temple was murdered on a hike with the tour and right before her death, she told Miss Marple helpful secrets. As the mystery began to unfold, Miss Marple learned of more unsolved murders. Mr. Rafiel only wanted justice to be done, and as Miss Marple tried to insure the justice, her life was being threatened as she uncovered a tragic love affair, a ten-year old murder, and an all-too-living killer! One of the most interesting characters was Anthea Bradbury-Scott, one of the three sisters Miss Marple stayed with. Miss Marple suspected sorrow in this house, and noticed it highly in Anthea. Anthea's most interesting aspect was that she was so fearful and it was a mystery as to why. I recommend this book because it is very well written and surprising. The characters are very descriptive and the clues all fit together. I was very surprised at who turned out to be the murderer and who were secret police officers. I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves a good mystery!
on October 7, 1998
This story is probably the most original and complex of all the Miss Marple stories. The notion of going back in time to try and solve an old crime and right past wrongs is something that Christie was fascinated by - you see it in many of her other novels such as "Five Little Pigs", "Sleeping Murder", "Elephants Can Remember", etc. When you start reopening old cases however, that can rouse strong feelings, and even cause a murderer who had escaped detection to kill again. This is what happens in this story when Miss Marple is trying to solve an old crime with nothing to go on except the vague instructions of a dead man and her own instincts. My only criticism was that she appeared to hit on all the right clues with a consistency and swiftness that was a little implausible, considering how much in the dark she was. However, the resolution of the story was truly amazing and yet completely believeable. I also really liked the idea of nemesis - that you are unable to escape the consequences of your own actions, both good and bad. "Nemesis is long delayed sometimes, but it comes in the end" is a line I have never forgotten. It's a reminder to you that your actions may sometimes result in unforeseen consequences - a pretty sobering thought.
on June 11, 2005
After watching the recent PBS Mystery series version of What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw, I picked up Agatha Christie's Nemesis (1971) at the local library. This is the first Agatha Christie novel I have read, and it will not be the last.
As many reviewers have noted, the novel deals with a set of precise, yet ironically vague, instructions written to Miss Marple by an elderly acquaintance, Jason Rafiel, just before he passes away. The novel begins with an old Miss Marple-a sufferer of rheumatism-sitting reasonably comfortably in her home in St. Mary Mead, England, and reviewing obituaries in the newspaper over an after-lunch cup of tea. Saddened to read of Mr. Rafiel's death, Miss Marple reflects on the man's character. Jason Rafiel, though "ruthless" in business, was also a man with "a deep kind of kindness that he was careful never to show on the surface." Later, Mr. Rafiel's lawyers explain that the late financier wishes to employ Miss Marple to "investigate a certain crime" and in the process "serve the cause of justice." The reward for completing the investigation is 20,000 pounds. Spurred by a desire for justice and her admiration for Mr. Rafiel-motivations sweetened by the monetary reward as well-Miss Marple, known by her code name from a prior investigation, "nemesis," is on the case.
Agatha Christie makes the nature of the crime itself a mystery. The deceased Mr. Rafiel provides few concrete details in his letters. Christie builds up suspense in the process of deciphering what the crime is as well as figuring out who is the culprit. A great plot device is Mr. Rafiel's having managed ingeniously to speak from the dead through his letters.
Miss Marple's old age is depicted in a way that a reader of any age can identify with. At the beginning of the novel, Miss Marple struggles with her memory, which she calls "a muddle," as she recalls the lives of those mentioned in the obituaries. Her acumen, we quickly learn, is as sharp as ever.
Miss Marple's ability to sense atmospheres and detect evil is an underlying theme. She states, "I have several times in my life been apprehensive, have recognized that there was evil in the neighborhood, the surroundings, that the environment of someone who was evil was near me, connected with what was happening." Her unraveling of the case combines this perception and impeccable logic.
The book has many levels. After reading the novel, it is interesting to reflect on Miss Marple's first description of Mr. Rafiel's character. This is a truly enjoyable book, a perfect novel to read, like Miss Marple reads her newspaper, with a nice cup of tea.
on January 7, 2002
What made many of Agatha Christie's books good reading is the dialogue appeared to be spoken by different people instead of a single person delivering different lines. There were really multiple personalities in the tale rather than figureboard mouthpieces of the author.
That is why there was a Mr Rafiel, eccentric wealthy man who charged Nemesis, which was what he called Ms Marple, to set out on a quest to right a certain wrong. In his will, read after his death, Ms Marple was left 20,000 pounds if she would take up his charge. He left no explicit instruction for her, other than referred to the only time they had met, when together they solved a murder.
Not one to idle, Ms Marple went forth enthusiastically to learn all she could of the late Mr Rafiel to find out if he had anything unfulfilled in his life.
Next, she was contacted by a tour agency informing her that Mr Rafiel had pre-booked her on a tour of old English houses and gardens. On the tour, she met various personalities, of which two revealed themselves to have links with the late Mr Rafiel.
In due time, Ms Marple learned of several noteworthy things which had happened in a little village - vicious murder of a girl engaged to the son of Mr Rafiel, conviction of the latter for the death, another missing girl, three sisters who had brought the girl up and also well acquainted with the late Mr Rafiel.
Little by little, Ms Marple learned more about the people around her, and it was from their personalities and characters she determined the kind of persons they were and what they might and might not have done. Alert for danger, Ms Marple sought to assemble disparate pieces of information to uncover a hidden picture of what could have happened which would be of interest to Mr Rafiel.
I found that having read several of Christie's mysteries, the trend was easy to spot, and being alert for the red herrings, found them fairly easy to spot. However, it would still offer a challenge to those who enjoy reading mysteries which gave clues through relationship of people rather than clues in the forms of dropped matchsticks etc.
on July 2, 2005
A.C. is a master of deception. I'm always left dumbfounded by the ending of every book of hers-until this one. (I was 80% sure of the conclusion before the last chapter). But that does not take away from this exhilarating read. The plot was ingenious: Miss Marple receives a letter from the deceased Mr Raphiel(a fellow traveller in A Carribean Mystery). He makes her a proposition of sorts to help him uncover some sort of injustice (at least that is what she deduces from what she's reading). Raphiel's lawyers, equally clueless, meet with her and discuss her prospective reward if she meets the demand of late Raphiel. This meeting is followed by an itinerary and other info from a house and gardens tour co. that Raphiel has made reservations for Miss Marple to take part in. Miss Marple is still clueless as to what she is to be in search of. After being on tour for just a few short days, Miss Marple starts acquiring clues that sets her on a path(albeit w/ twists and turns along the way) of finding answers. The A.C, fan is in for a real treat w/ this one. Miss Marple is as sharp and quick witted as ever, making for a faster pace. The characters are well developed as well. I urge any and all to read this!
on December 23, 2003
Miss Marple has a real puzzle on her hands when she receives a letter from an old acquaintance who is recently deceased and who wants her to see that justice is done. He doesn't say what he is referring to, but promises to give her more information later if she agrees. She tells his solicitors that she will do her best to comply with her late friend's request, and is subsequently asked to go on an extended house and garden tour.
She knows that each person she comes across may be a potential criminal, so she carefully scrutinizes each one. Eventually she finds herself in the home of three sisters who have been asked to give the elderly Miss Marple a respite from the tour. One of the tour members meets with a fatal accident just as she is about to give Miss Marple some information, so this spurs her on to investigate even more vigorously. She carefully studies each person who has been a part of the tour, and eventually comes up with the solution, as her friend knew she would. This book takes place in Miss Marple's later years, but the reader is reassured that, though her body is failing, her mind is as sharp as ever. This is another treasure for Christie fans.