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A Pocket Full of Rye

(Miss Marple #6)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  32,019 ratings  ·  1,463 reviews
Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his "counting house" when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals. Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Jane Marple's suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme. ...more
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published December 27th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers Limited (first published November 9th 1953)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple, #7), original publication year 1953, Agatha Christie

Abstract: A handful of grain is found in the pocket of a murdered businessman! Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his 'counting house' when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals. Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Jane Marple's suspicion that here she was looking at a c
A rich dude chokes on his tea, and in his pocket the fuzz find...RYE.
Nefarious, I say!


Or maybe not.
For some reason, Pocket Full of Rye seemed like a more complex story than what you normally get from one of Agatha's murder mysteries. <--I have no evidence for that statement, it's just this feeling I got while I was reading it.
I mean, there are always red herrings in Christie's books. Sometimes even blue and yellow herrings.
All those delicious, delicious herrings...


But there were a lot of people
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.

The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

The title and parts of the plot of the novel refer to the nursery rhyme quoted above.

Originally I gave th
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: who-done-it
It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Agatha Christie and it’s easy to let one’s brain flow back into her story telling style. Her books do have a comforting familiarity. Dry humor to set the scene; the murder; the investigation; more dead bodies; the red herrings; the revealing.

No heavy lifting required. Like a pleasant spring day. This one is a Miss Marple and a decent read. It also provides an unexpected and emotional denouement.

Here’s the kicker for me: I find it very quaint that the Br
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When life ever gets back to “normal,” I think one of the best things to come out of quarantine is that I have discovered Agatha Christie mysteries again. Last year was primarily a nonfiction reading year for me. I read a number of celebrity memoirs in between denser reads to clear my head. While I enjoy learning about celebrities away from the camera, my favorite genre to read in between heavier books has always been mysteries. The quick pace of determining whodunit keeps me on my toes and my br ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As anybody who reads the Miss Marple books knows, she often trains young housemaids, so they can go into service. When Miss Marple reads that one of the young maids she trained, Gladys Martin, has been found strangled - a clothes peg left on her nose - in the garden of the house where she worked, she sets off at once to see who did such a wicked thing. Murder had already visited the family, as the head of the household, Mr Rex Fortecue, was poisoned at work and, in his pocket, was a handful of r ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was right! I figured out this mystery's culprit. And I also figured the identity of the person who had the grudge against the Fortescue family.
Though Miss Marple doesn't show up till maybe halfway (and figures things out, of course), I did enjoy following Inspector Neal about as he questioned the family members about old nasty Rex's habits and behaviours.
I really enjoyed how Miss Marple does her twittery thing at first, until the inspector really begins taking her seriously. Then we see the
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Same old good Agatha Christie book. Easy read and impossible to be put down. I really missed reading the Agatha Christie books :D
Update: September 20, 2020-Still one of my favorites. Re-read for comfort read.

I weirdly have some Miss Marple in paperback format and some that are not. I have no idea why. So realizing that I had this on my bookshelf, I decided to read it for Halloween Bingo.

This was done really well. Christie starts the book off with us following an Inspector Nettle to figure out who murdered Rex Fortescue and his second wife, Adele. Initially, it appears that Adele and the man who she is having an affair wi
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I listened to this book while working on a jigsaw puzzle with my family. We finished both and felt most satisfied!

I love that this book begins with making a cup of tea. The first sentence, "It was Miss Somer's turn to make the tea." Apparently, she was not very good at it, and was "the most inefficient of typists" to boot, with "a mild worried face like a sheep."

Growing up in England I learned that the water needed to come to a full boil to make a good cup of tea. Alas, "Poor Miss Somer's was
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
It was Miss Somers' turn to make the tea. Miss Somers was the newest and the most inefficient of typists. She was no longer young and had a mild worried face like a sheep. The kettle was not quite boiling when Miss Somers poured the water on the tea, but poor Miss Somers was never quite sure when a kettle was boiling. It was one of the many worries that afflicted her in life.
She poured out the tea and took the cups round with a couple of limp, sweet biscuits in each saucer.

That quote has very li
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It’s the beginning of the month, which means time for another Christie book ;0)

I remembered this one quite clearly, having read it a few years ago. It felt somewhat different. On one side, we have a Miss Marple story, although our favourite old lady doesn’t come on the scene until around the middle of the book and stays in the background, and on the other a pretty ruthless murderer, hidden from sight until the very end.

The narrative is very deceptive, immersing itself in the life of this h
Stephanie Anze
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
"Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king.

The king was in his counting house, counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When there came a litte dickey bird and nipped off her nose."

When Rex Fortescue suddenly falls ill after drinking his regular cup of tea at his o
Dave Schaafsma

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye, four and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Now wasn't that a dainty dish to set before a king?

A standard-issue Christie mystery, focused on rhyme crime (see what I did there?) Inspector Neal does a decent job sifting through the inevitable Possible Suspects for half the book until little ol’ Jane Marple that Christie has for three books called, the “old pussy” (and sometimes “the old tabby” comes to help h
Without a doubt this has been one of my favourite books in the Miss Marple challenge. It is not a novel I remembered reading and so it was wonderful to experience for the first time (maybe ?)
As with a lot of the novels, Miss M is in it only fleetingly, but each appearance is worth waiting for in terms of insight and revelation, and yes I still see Joan Hickson every time.
Sophie Hannah
Loved this - brilliantly surprising ending, and one of those ideal Christie solutions where everything turns on its head at the end and all the same facts suddenly look completely different. I would have given it four stars, except that Miss Marple didn't really (as far as I can see) have enough clues to lead her to the truth. She seemed to have magicked the truth out of nowhere. I know she's a genius about human nature, but I'd have liked a couple of more concrete clues to set her on the right ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm honestly the worst detective ever when it comes to Miss Marple books. I feel like I'm on the trail for one suspect and then end up being completely wrong because I took a clue or two the wrong way. I'd like to blame myself because I'm not even sure how I was wrong when I was the reading the book. Yet, it happens all the damn time. One day I will be the superior detective when it comes to books.

One. Freaking. Day.

Just not today - ya know.. I'm kind of busy.

The one interesting thing for me was
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn’t figure out who the killer was! And it was so annoying, because I usually figure it out pretty fast.
But, without a doubt, this was another well written book by Agatha Christie. 👍
Natalie Richards
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
Another great read.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most interesting fact about my interpretation of detective books is that I'm not able to appreciate and rate with the consensus how good the outcome of an investigation is. Many people swear by the cleverness of the murderer's alibi. Not me; it's not a deliberate choice, I simply can't appreciate the subtlety of a water tight crime. The way I see it, is that if the journey is good, and if there are startling revelations, and if I can put a face to a well depicted character, then the said book ...more
This one was really good! I think it might be my favorite of the Miss Marple books I've read so far, which is about half of them. (Until now I liked A Murder is Announced the best, because it had so much of Miss Marple in it, but this one barely features her at all, and it was quite good, so who knows what my standards even are anymore.)

This is one of her infamous nursery rhyme mysteries (I think she did three or four of them? which is why it was so fun to see Magpie Murders take that on as well
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Miss Marple is always the one who finally finds the truths, too bad she's not herself a real detective. I think I must look for such character in radical science-fiction dystopian feminist novels. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something that feels very quintessentially Christie about this one - the family dynamics, the pacing, the types of clues, the character types. All of it plays to her strengths... so much so, I'll pardon her fondness for overly contrived framing devices in the form of nursery rhymes :) ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Book 12 for the Miss Marple Challenge. When I picked up my copy of this one, I found the first couple of pages has fallen out―so I used for the first time, the “preview” feature on GR to read the missing bit―so very glad this was available.

The wealthy Rex Fortescue, a shrewd but unscrupulous man, is poisoned, falling ill just after having tea in his office, his pocket full of rye. While Mr Fortescue’s name and circumstances of his death merely hinted at the rhyme “Sing a Song od Sixpence”, befor
Mansuriah Hassan
Agatha Christie is definitely one of my favourite author. I immensely enjoyed this book - an innocent cup of tea leads the reader on a path of exploration into the world of a very disfunctional family. This is a good Miss Marple mystery. Even though Miss Marple was not mentioned as often as I had expected.

A Pocket Full of Rye contains many of the very best elements of Agatha Christie: vivid and interesting characters, a great set-up, and the clever "gimmick" of three murders all being cleverly
Dr. Laurel Young
Agatha Christie loved to use nursery rhymes as a motif in her mystery novels for added creepiness. Sometimes it works perfectly, as with And Then There Were None or Crooked House (my favorite). Sometimes it feels a little forced, as with One Two Buckle My Shoe or, in this case, A Pocket Full of Rye. The premise is clever and also disturbing--the three murders that echo the rhyme (the king, the queen, the maid). I wondered how on earth Dame Agatha would explain the murderer's use of the rhyme wit ...more
Jack Heath
4 Stars. Just a touch from the top of Christie's Miss Marple oeuvre. I was wondering why. Perhaps it's because most of the members of the household in which the dastardly deeds take place are not sympathetic characters. Perhaps it's because Miss Marple visits only fleetingly. A leading financier, Rex Fortescue, is at his office one morning and suddenly collapses. A painful death which is mercifully over soon. When his pockets are turned out, one is found full of rye grain! The poison is taxine f ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, mystery
A Pocketful of Rye is yet another murder mystery based on a nursery rhyme, one was one of my favourite ones. A businessman called Rex dies. His body is found with a few grains of rye in his pocket. Then comes the death of the 'queen in the parlour eating bread and honey.' And finally, the 'maid in the garden hanging out the clothes'. Even the blackbird pecking off her nose was implied by a clothes clip on her nose.

This triple murder came to Miss Marple's notice because she had trained the maid
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tidy little Agatha Christie, filled with everything you'd expect. A murder, then another, then...

A man is found dead in his office, a handful of rye in his pocket. What can it MEAN? Then another weird death, followed by a third. No spoilers here but it's a tidy read if you like a book in which an inspector - and a little old lady named Jane Marple - slowly sort through clues, dead ends and red herrings galore. Just when you think you, dear reader, have it all 'figured out,' well maybe you haven'
Lydia Therese
Just what. I thought I had it all figured out. And I did, to some extent. But I definitely did NOT get the murder right. The one character I liked in this book (besides Miss Marple and Inspector Neele, obviously) did it??!?!?! I WAS SO WRONG. I DIDN'T BELIEVE THE WORST IN PEOPLE, WHICH I SHOULD OBVIOUSLY DO. Miss Marple says it herself. EVERYBODY is a suspect in these books. EVERY. BODY. GOT THAT???
Even that inconspicuous museum guard. He probably did it. Don't think "Oh the guard never does it
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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 t

Other books in the series

Miss Marple (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)
  • The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple, #1.5)
  • The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #2)
  • The Moving Finger (Miss Marple, #3)
  • A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple, #4)
  • They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple, #5)
  • 4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple, #7)
  • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #8)
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