Most helpful critical review
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
The well-ordered world of Colonel and Mrs. Bantry is turned on its ear one morning when the body of a young woman is found in their library. Neither the Bantrys nor their staff knew the young woman, Ruby Keene, a dance hostess at the nearby Majestic Hotel. Fearing what the whispers in the village will do to her husband's reputation, Dolly Bantry calls her friend and sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. She and Miss Marple check in to the Majestic Hotel and begin investigating. They meet Conway Jefferson, an old man who had been planning to adopt the victim, and his young in-laws, all survivors of an accident that killed Jefferson's children. Ruby's cousin Josie also works at the hotel, having gotten Ruby the job when she hurt her ankle. Additional suspects are the too-handsome dance instructor, a poorly-spoken young guest of the hotel, and a neighbor of the Bantrys who throws too many film industry parties his neighbors do not approve of. In the end, Miss Marple has the whole thing figured out well in advance of the police, who fall for an obvious red herring before she straightens them out.
Christie writes with typical British wit and humor, wry observations appearing here and there, such as a reference to a woman who regularly ministered to the poor, no matter how hard they tried to avoid her. Miss Marple's character is smarter than everyone else, but not in the least arrogant about it, finding effusive praise somewhat trying and deflecting any boastful claims about her abilities.
An enjoyable read, I recommend this book for a quiet afternoon or evening when it can suck you right into polite English country society and amuse with its light sense of humor. It's easy to see why Christie's books have such timeless appeal.