Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (1985) Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

Miss Marple The Complete Short StoriesThe first half of this edition is The Thirteen Problems / The Tuesday Club Murders, which I earlier.

The second half has the following stories:

From The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (1939)
“Miss Marple Tells a Story” first in Home Journal (1935) [“Behind Closed Doors”]

From Three Blind Mice and Other Stories (1950)
“Strange Jest” first in This Week (1941) [“A Case of Buried Treasure”]
“The Case of the Perfect Maid” first in Strand Magazine (1942) [“The Maid Who Disappeared”]
“The Case of the Caretaker”
“Tape-Measure Murder” first in Strand Magazine (1941) [“The Case of the Retired Jeweller”]

From Double Sin and Other Stories (1961)
“Greenshaw’s Folly” first in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960)
“Sanctuary” first in This Week (1954) [“Murder at the Vicarage”]

“Miss Marple Tells a Story”

This is one of the few stories given entirely in Miss Marple’s point of view.

I explained to Mr. Petherick about the fires and he said at once that he and his friend would come into the dining room— and then he introduced his friend— a Mr. Rhodes. He was a youngish man— not much over forty— and I saw at once there was something very wrong. His manner was most peculiar. One might have called it rude if one hadn’t realized that the poor fellow was suffering from strain.

“Strange Jest”

The things that stuck most in my memory from this story were the idioms that I knew nothing about.

The recipe is just an indication. Shorn of all the cloves and brown sugar and the rest of it, what is it actually? Why, gammon and spinach to be sure! Gammon and spinach! Meaning— nonsense!

“Surely, my dear, you must have heard the expression meaning that something is not a true picture, or has it quite died out nowadays? ‘All my eye and Betty Martin.’”

“The Case of the Perfect Maid”

This is one of the two stories I remember most clearly, including many of the small details.

Miss Marple took the umbrella, dropped it, tried to pick it up, and dropped her bag, which flew open. Mary politely retrieved various odds and ends— a handkerchief, an engagement book, an old-fashioned leather purse, two shillings, three pennies, and a striped piece of peppermint rock.

“The Case of the Caretaker”

For some reason, this story has always struck me as exceedingly depressing.

“Tape-Measure Murder”

This is the other story that I remembered most clearly, again with many small details.

Miss Marple cut him short adroitly. She said, “There’s a pin in your tunic.”

Constable Palk looked down, startled. He said, “They do say, ‘See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck.’”

I think what I like best about this one is that it truly was something men would have been unlikely to get.

It was also this story where I noticed there are so very many maids named Gladys.

“Greenshaw’s Folly”

What struck me about this story is how confusing and convoluted the whole thing seems. Although some of the details cleared up bits that were confused in my memory.


And the final story? I do adore Bunch and the vicar.

“In three hundred and ninety-nine A.D. the right of sanctuary in Christian churches was finally and definitely recognized. The earliest mention of the right of sanctuary in England is in the Code of Laws issued by Ethelbert in A.D. six hundred.  . . .”

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 8/10


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