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The Moving Finger

(Miss Marple #4)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  24,983 ratings  ·  1,661 reviews
The placid village of Lymstock seems the perfect place for Jerry Burton to recuperate from his accident under the care of his sister, Joanna. But soon a series of vicious poison-pen letters destroys the village's quiet charm, eventually causing one recipient to commit suicide. The vicar, the doctor, the servants—all are on the verge of accusing one another when help arrive ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published 2012 by Harper Collins (first published July 1942)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  24,983 ratings  ·  1,661 reviews


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Amalia Gavea
“There is too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own free will. I must concede you the Devil. God doesn't really need to punish us, Miss Barton. We're so busy punishing ourselves.”

Summer and winter are begging for an Agatha Christie masterpiece. Well, any season is fine, really, but extreme heat and extreme cold make most us seek a nice, cozy atmosphere, a good mystery (and what Agatha mystery isn’t good?) and the lovely Miss Marple. Every July and August I re-re
...more
Melindam
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

verse 51 of Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám

“It's rather like Happy Families, isn't it? Mrs Legal, the lawyer's wife, Miss Dose, the doctor's daughter, etc. ... So sweet and funny and old-world. You just can't think of anything nasty happening here, can you?”

But nasty things do hap/>“It's
...more
Beverly
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-mystery
Not a favorite by any means, The Moving Finger is a good, tidy mystery, but our Miss Marple is not part of the story until the very end. I have read quite a few Christie mysteries, stand alone stories, a few Poirrot, a few Tommy and Tuppence, but mostly Miss Marple. She is my favorite, because she knows human failings and foibles so well and she looks like a dowdy old lady; and therefore is not taken seriously by murderers, until it's too late.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #4), original publication year 1942
Characters: Miss Jane Marple, Jerry Burton, Joanna Burton, Megan Hunter, Aimée Griffith, Owen Griffith, Richard Symmington, Elsie Holland, Agnes Woddell, Mrs. Dane Calthrop, Emily Barton, Mr. Pye.
Abstract: Jerry Burton, wounded pilot narrator, recuperates in quiet Lymstock with loyal fashionable sister Joanna, until vicious letters spread suspicion, then death. Mrs Symmington is not the type to panic, but drinks cyanide and leaves two boys in the c/>/>
...more
Ken
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A curious Miss Marple tale not least because of favourite elderly sleuth only has a minor role in this novel.

I think I would have enjoyed this one more if I wasn’t aware that Christie’s other famous detective featured and her appearance would have come as a great surprise.

The mystery itself instantly grabbed me as siblings Jerry and Joanna Burton arrive in the quite village of Lymstock only to find a series of anonymous letters spreading false accusations, including thems
...more
Ms. Smartarse
Lymstock is the quintessential definition of the peaceful English countryside: just ask any of its inhabitants. Everything is so utterly uneventful here, that one might be tempted to attribute its inhabitants' main cause of death to boredom, rather than old age. In other words: the perfect place for Jerry Burton's rehabilitation needs. Doctor's orders. So when the first libel-induced suicide happens, our hero is obviously first in line to flex his sleuthing muscles.

anonymous

In true Agatha Christie fashi
...more
Elisha Condie
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Another Agatha Christie to pass the time. Mmmmm. Delicious. Only I do have the same complaint I had with another of her books that was listed as a Miss Marple Mystery. Jane Marple doesn't appear until the last 1/4 of the book and then she's just a cute little old lady who says a few words at the end. That doesn't count as a Miss Marple mystery for me!! I much prefer it when Miss Marple is the one solving the crime firsthand. The short stories featuring her are the way to go, I'm figuring out.

...more
Jess (Primrose)
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This on audio completely blew me away. It was the perfect introduction to Agatha Christie. I've already scooped up a few more of her books to dive into this year. Richard Grant has established himself as one of my favorite book narrators on audio. He makes the story come alive and reads with enthusiasm. The voices he creates for each character are unique and sure to draw a smile at times. Highly recommend this one in audio.

My Reactions:
-The brother and sister duo are stellar and I loved
...more
Mir
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Pros: I liked the main character brother-sister duo of Jerry and Joanna, and it was an interesting variation on the traditional poison-pen mystery. Most of the characters were less hateful than is often the case in Golden Age British mysteries, which made it a relaxing read for a sick day.

Cons: Why is this a Miss Marple mystery? She hardly appears and there's no reason, in terms of the plot, that the case could not have been solved in exactly the same way by the police, who seemed co
...more
Simona Bartolotta
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, in-italian, 1900
“Most crimes, you see, are so absurdly simple.”

My edition features a beautiful afterword by Claudio Savonuzzi, in which this novel is called “a black fairytale” complete with a Cinderella and a Prince properly dressed for the occasion, and where it is noted how this is the only Christie detective novel where the detective where the detective almost lets the readers forget she (this is a Miss Marple mystery) is there. Our old (not to say ancient) Queen of Busybodies, in fact, appears only in the last forty pages
...more
Susan
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth Miss Marple mystery, although the narrator is Jerry Barton, while Miss Marple does not appear until late into the novel. Recovering from a serious injury, it is suggested that Jerry spend some time in the country to relax and so he takes a house called Little Furze, in Lymstock, and moves there with his sister, Joanna. Shortly after they arrive, a poisonous pen letter arrives, making all sorts of foul accusations and it soon appears that many others in the village have also re ...more
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Read this and more review on my My Book blog

As you can see I've been on a diligent Agatha Christie kick. I think that the month of November makes me want to read mysteries - must be all that grayness and rain.

“Where do one's fears come from? Where do they shape themselves? Where do they hide before coming out into the open?”

Once again this turned out to be a re-read for me, and once again I couldn't remember anything from my first time reading. I only knew that I've read it, because it
...more
☙ percy ❧
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
as per pretty much every agatha christie i've read, i was almost 99% sure that i had figured out who it was and that i am an Actual Genius, only for miss marple to blow the whole case open at the end. well-written, as usual, with an interesting romantic aspect that isn't quite usual for christie, but which i liked.
Nandakishore Varma
This one has romance and mystery in equal amounts: for a change, I found the mystery only so-so, but I loved the romance!
Adrian
The fourth Miss Marple, and again an excellent read. Yet again, despite seeing multiple TV and film versions, I had forgotten who the culprit(s) was (were), and didn't guess until very close to the end (I think it was about 20 pages behind Miss Marple resolving it).
The story is well woven, with some very lively characters and strangely it is not until a long way through (around 3/4) that Miss Marple appears to solve the problem. Even with her late appearance it is still a thoroughly enjoya
...more
Veronique
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2018
3.75*
“There are questions that you don't ask because you're afraid of the answers to them.”

I do wonder why Christie turned this story into a Marple. After all, it would have worked fine without her, since she has such a small role. Especially since we are totally involved in Jerry’s point of view, the narrator.

Weirdly, it wasn’t so much the murder that captivated me (I had an inkling who it was), but rather Jerry’s interactions with his sister, Megan, and indeed the rest of the vill/>“There
...more
Luffy
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
This one was a disappointment. The earliest Miss Marple stories don't seem as good as the later ones, except-till now- 'The Body In The Library', which is very complex. I knew this should be a Miss Marple mystery but she doesn't appear throughout most of the book. For another thing, the story takes place in the village of Lymstock, so I kept wondering how Marple was to be brought into the picture. For a few moments I had thought that there must have been a mistake as there wasn't enough scope fo ...more
Cyndi
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Gossip Girl and Miss Marple. Someone is on to everyones hidden secrets. But are they true? And who is the author of the letters? Luckily it doesn't take 6 seasons to find out. (By the time the Gossip Girl was revealed did we even care?)
Karen ⊰✿
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uno_2018
Another delightful Christie mystery where the answer is staring you in the face.
The main characters are siblings Jerry and Joanna who have only just moved to Lymstock to then discover there is a poison-pen writer at large. And the letters don't even seem to have a hint of truth to them.
Naturally poison pen letters can only be written by middle aged spinster women (I love that this is the second book I've read from this time period recently with this assumption!!) and so that narrows
...more
Stephanie Anze
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna move to the quiet village of Lymstock. Having suffered an accident, Mr. Burton's doctor recommends that he goes to the countryside, where his recovery should be more peaceful. But shortly after their arrival, Jerry and Joanna receive a rather unsavory letter accusing them of an absolute lie. Thinking it a prank, they burn the letter and forget about the incident. That is until they learn that most people in the village have received similar letters. When one of ...more
Jan C
I've read this several times and have seen the videos - but, of course, they always seem to change the story. It is enjoyable. Probably one of the few books where Miss Marple doesn't come into the picture until the book is three-quarters done. But, enter she does, to solve the murder.

Much of the book is consumed by the problem of anonymous poison pen letters. Then the bodies start falling.

Enter Miss Marple.
Sophie Hannah
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of Agatha's best, I think. A very clever, simple solution that makes you look back on everything that's gone before and see it in a different light. Miss Marple's hardly in it, so it doesn't really feel like a Miss Marple book, but there's so much good stuff in it, you don't really mind. Mrs Dane Calthrop, the vicar's wife, is a wonderful character.
Wsm
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christie
A series of vicious letters destroys the peace of an English village,accusing its inhabitants of much wrongdoing.In the beginning,the plot had my rapt attention,but the tension wasn't as sustained in the later part of the book.Miss Marple appears,almost as an afterthought.
David Evans
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I must have read this as a teenager in Devon during the 1970s but the fact that it was so obviously set down the road on the edge of Dartmoor completely passed me by at the time. I did see Agatha Christie in her garden at Greenway while on a boat trip down the river Dart from Totnes around that time - she was pointed out by the man on the public address system causing the whole party to swing round and stare in unison - but I was more concerned by the fact that my mother had somehow mixed up my ...more
Leslie
3.5*
I am slowly rereading the Miss Marple books this year. This 3rd one barely qualifies as a Miss Marple as she doesn't make an appearance until about 80% of the way through. Of course, she quickly solves the case once she appears on the scene! It is almost as if Christie's publisher talked her into adding in a familiar sleuth rather than making it one of her stand-alone mysteries...

Richard E. Grant is marvelous in his narration of the audiobook. I really appreciated all the d
...more
Obsidian
I read the original bundle for this book back in 2017, so I decided to do re-reads, with stand alone reviews. Can't lie, this book still irks my heart. I read this one second since I knew it was shorter than "The Body in the Library" and that one holds a special place in my heart.

"The Moving Finger" takes a while to get going, and we don't have Miss Marple entering into some ways into the story. Instead, we have "The Moving Finger" told in first person POV by Jerry Burton. Jerry was
...more
Jaksen
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
The perfect 'cozy-type' mystery for those who love'em.

Take a group of English stereotypes: the busybody older women, the absent-minded vicar, several stuffy older men (the 'tut-tut' type) who call women 'dear' and 'fragile' and want to protect them from being made 'uncomfortable.' (Cuz, ya know, we might faint or something if we hear the word 'autopsy.' :D ) This is all 1940's-era stuff and though I wasn't around then, and I'm American not British, I do recall similar sentiments amon
...more
Nada Ashraf
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars.

I am well familiar with Agatha Christie's books. I read a decent amount. And I know that she CAN DO BETTER.

The mystery in this book was, to put it plainly, weak. I enjoyed the book,mind you, but that was mainly because I liked the setting, the village gossip and the ways of its people and because I generally liked the characters and their relationships especially the narrator, his sister and Megan. Most of the other characters were great too.

But the mystery, it was too ea
...more
Lobstergirl
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rand Paul
Silly and misogynistic, relievedly short. My moving finger moved rapidly through the pages.
Paula
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this one! The mystery itself wasn't too surprising but I loved Jerry Burton, the narrator. His observations were just as funny as those of the vicar in The Murder at the Vicarage.
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37,439 followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation.
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Other books in the series

Miss Marple (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)
  • The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple, #2)
  • The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)
  • A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple, #5)
  • They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple, #6)
  • A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple #7)
  • 4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple, #8)
  • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #9)
  • A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple, #10)
  • At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple, #11)
“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.” 89 likes
“There is too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own free will. I must concede you the Devil. God doesn't really need to punish us, Miss Barton. We're so busy punishing ourselves.” 53 likes
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