Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Miss Marple’s Final Cases

Miss Marple’s Final Cases: Agatha Christie, December 4—11, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊

missmarplesfinalcasesIn the interests of full disclosure, I am not a fan of short stories, and especially not Agatha Christie’s. Even if that wasn’t the case before The Hound of Death, is is now.

Christie’s short stories generally fall into two categories: those so undercooked she couldn’t be bothered making a full story out of it, or those so condensed that she should have. She’s not great at coming up with stories that are, basically, very good short ones.

SOS ♦♦◊◊◊

Guy rocks up at a church, asks for sanctuary, and dies. The vicar’s wife visits Miss Marple, asks who killed him off, and she produces quite a far-fetched explanation out of thin air. It’s your classic ‘here’s a premise, here’s the solution, can’t be bothered writing a book about it’. It’s more a précis of a story than an actual story in its own right.

The Strange Jest ♦◊◊◊◊

The premise: Randoms ask Miss Marple where their dead uncle hid his treasure.
The development: She tells them.
What else?: Nil

Tape-Measure Murder ♦♦♦◊◊

This one’s a bit better. A woman is found dead and it’s down to be her husband or the local eye candy she may or may not have been candying her eye with. Miss Marple gets herself involved and performs a hallmark Christie trick of turning evidence upside down. It’s the sort of move that would have worked wonders in a full length novel and this had the potential to be fleshed out into one. As it stands, it’s a bit anemic.

The Case of the Perfect Maid ♦♦♦◊◊

It’s another classic Christie move in this tale of tracking down a treacherous help. The solution will come as no surprise to long-time fans, but it’s what she’s famous for.

Miss Marple Tells A Story ♦♦◊◊◊

…for ages. Actually, it was written by Dr. Haydock who, for some utterly unknown reason, decides to jot it all down as a novella instead of actually giving it to Marple herself. She solve sit in a flash, but it’s a bit weak. This is the last Marple of the collection.

The Dressmaker’s Doll ♦♦♦◊◊

A genuinely creepy supernatural thriller and probably the best of the lot. It’s probably the one that works best as a short story, in fact. It has just enough time to breathe and disturb you before coming to its chilling end.

In A Glass Darkly ♦♦♦◊◊

Another decent supernatural short story involving a man who seems to have a premonition about a stranger’s murder. Christie makes you think you know what’s going to happen but has an ace up her sleeve. Another fine example of a story designed to be short and a piece of t he ideal length. Nothing left out, and nothing left unfinished.


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This entry was posted on December 11, 2016 by in 3 star, Agatha Christie Collection and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare