Laurel Young's Reviews > Murder at the Vicarage

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
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's review
Apr 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: my-year-of-agatha

The first novel to feature Miss Jane Marple is by definition a classic! Christie introduces her cleverly camouflaged among a group of gossipy elderly ladies whom the Vicar's wife dreads having to tea. Only gradually does she emerge as far sharper than her peers, with an unerring insight into human nature. It is wonderful to see her in her native habitat, St. Mary Mead, discovering for the first time that the skills she uses to solve domestic mysteries (the missing gill of picked shrimps!) work for a murder mystery as well.

The only thing preventing this from being a 5-star for me is that, while no one does the double-blind plot better than Christie, I always find that device a little disappointing. She did it for Poirot's (and her) first novel a decade earlier, so there is a symmetry to using a similar structure to introduce her other legendary detective. However, I think a double-blind isn't quite up to her unique level of fiendish ingenuity. Even so, this novel is a delight because it is a "cozy" (tons of tea and village gossip) with many clever twists and turns to it. Also, the Vicar is an interesting choice for narrator, and Christie even teases us with the possibility that he could have been the murderer...but no, she did that once and for all with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and no one--even she herself--could ever repeat that twist as brilliantly.
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Emily Be careful---spoiler alert for those who haven't read Ackroyd!

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