- 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 (240 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Mysteries) Paperback – April 12, 2011
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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)
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Top customer reviews
Agatha Christie will always be one of the finest mystery novels that we have the pleasure of reading. I especially like her books for their lack of profanity, sexual exploits, and gruesome scenes. Mrs. Christie reminds us that you don't have to resort to any of those things to have a book that keeps you up all night!!!
I was in middle/junior high school when I first read all of her novels and fell in love with her style of writing. Now almost 30 years later, a grown lady, she is still one of my top 5 favorite authors-- and an author that I would not hesitate giving to a 12-13 year old child if they enjoyed mysteries. Unfortunately, so many of the current fiction right now I am unable to say the same about because of the profanity or inappropriate sexually explicit scenes or gruesome violence.
I cannot highly recommend any Agatha Christie novel highly enough!!!
In this story the murder of the cantankerous old Col. Protheroe occurs in the office of the village vicar -- who just happens to live next door to the all-seeing Miss Marple.
Throughout this storyline we have the vicar acting as both narrator and detective, eager to find out who would kill a man whilst he sat authoring a note to that same vicar. We sense both kindness and exasperation with the village busybodies as he investigates this evil crime. Throughout, he occasionally refers to Miss Marple in that her opinions are invariably the "correct" opinion (as opposed to the malicious gossip that he hears from all of the other elderly women in the village).
At one point the vicar says something like, "in England there is no detective equal to the spinster lady with plenty of time on her hands" and in this story there are allusions to crimes that may or may not be connected to the murder. First, we hear about the possibility that someone is dipping into Church funds. Later on we find out that a character who is investigating archaeological burial mounds called barrows may not be the expert that he has claimed to be to everyone in this small village.
One nice thing that I must shout out to you fellow Kindle owners is that when you read these old Agatha Christie novels you immediately become aware the number of times that you use the built-in dictionary simply because she used a lot of vocabulary that are no longer used by those of us living, breathing and reading books almost a century past when she had written those same tales.
It amazes me that even though her storylines were written before the Roaring Twenties, in some cases, all of those stories are fabulous. You may guess a few plot points, but I think that the writer did that to keep us involved in her plot-line. Rarely do you guess everything, at least I have not yet done so, before Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot fills in the actual deliciousness of the killer or killers.
Bottom-line with any Agatha Christie? The most obvious is usually the one that did the evil-deed. In "Murder at the Vicarage" we meet Miss Marple for the first time (and, like I stated previously, my only complaint is that there was more of the vicar and less of Miss Marple).
Eventually the vicar and Miss Marple will sit down together in order to pull all of their combined facts. Just when the vicar has you convinced in one person being the bad guy or girl for whatever reason -- watch out because the old lady/detective is going to come out of leftfield and surprise you with the actual evildoers...
This is a book that is well worth your time. I only gave it four stars for the simple reason that while it is called a Miss Marple book it seems to me that this was a detective tale using the vicar as both narrator and amateur sleuth who would occasionally run into and across the opinions of the aforementioned Miss Marple. I can imagine that either Miss Christie and/or her publisher liked the humour, intelligence and wit of the minor character of the little old lady living next door to the vicar. Regardless, I'm glad that more was made of the Miss Marple character in Agatha Christie' s successive books.
We follow the vicar through his days as he talks to witnesses, suspects, and the police. He's a sympathetic character and not a stereotypical "upright" vicar whose every thought is pure! Indeed, he often has rather uncharitable thoughts about many of the people he encounters, although he tries to behave well.
Not as complex as some of Christie's later Marple mysteries, but still a fun read, and at the current freebie price for the Kindle, it was a "must have" for my Kindle library! I'd originally read it about 35 or 40 years ago, and have read it at least once or twice since, but it was still a pleasure to revisit St. Mary Mead!
One other good thing about this Kindle version: it has the diagrams included. So when the vicar mentions a drawing of his house or of the village, you will see the diagram, very clear, at the end of that chapter.