There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of uncertain age with plenty of time on her hands.
The first Miss Marple mystery!
We see for the first time the village of St. Mary Mead, in the English countryside, a setting that I personally love a lot! And we met for the first time adorable Miss Marple! The first time she's nominated, by the Vicar/Narrator, she's referred to as a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner (p. 22). But a few pages later the Vicar already gives a slightly different opinion, a more specific one that delineates better the character: I should never have dreamed of describing Miss Marple as trusting (p. 25). Miss Marple is kind and gentle, but not naïve! And even a little gossipy: Miss Marple always sees everything (p. 26, again the Vicar speaking), almost creepy in her omniscience! :) But the comments about her insight and knowledge of human nature are my favourite (it's always the Vicar/Narrator speaking): Miss Marple is not the type of elderly lady who makes mistakes. She has got an uncanny knack of being always right (p. 144) and then again Miss Marple is usually right. That's what makes her unpopular (p. 299). Even Griselda, the Vicar's wife, who thinks our old lady's not very nice (again, she's unpopular because she's always right!) recognizes this characteristic of her: Vicar: Miss Marple may be mistaken. Griselda: She never is (p. 32). In short, from this his first adventure our sprightly old lady already has all the features that made me love her so much in the other novels I've read, including the fact that she always stays in the background and leave others do the hard work of the investigation, only appearing occasionally to give the right cue, and then eventually reveal the culprit.
A very beautiful novel, certainly not among the most extraordinary of Agatha Christie, but still very satisfactory from all points of view, and memorable if only for the fact that marked the entry into the scene of Miss Marple!
It is difficult to know quite where to begin this story, but I have fixed my choice on a certain Wednesday at luncheon at the Vicarage. The conversation, though in the main irrelevant to the matter in hand, yet contained one or two suggestive incidents which influenced later developments.
I teach in the Church Day School on Wednesday mornings, a proceeding that causes me acute nervousness and leaves me unsettled for the rest of the day.
There is nothing so inhuman as the mask of the good servant.
[Mary:] "Tell you that in two words, I can." (Here, I may say, she vastly underestimated.)
The young people think the old people are fools; but the old people know the young people are fools!
Great-Aunt Fanny quoted by Miss Marple