Sammy's Reviews > Nemesis

Nemesis by Agatha Christie
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's review
Oct 02, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: mystery

At the behest of a recently-deceased millionaire acquaintance, Jane Marple joins a tour of Great Britain’s stately homes to track down a murderer – without knowing the identity of either killer or killed.

Christie’s other novels of the 1970s – Elephants Can Remember (the 'last' Poirot) and Postern of Fate (the last Tommy & Tuppence) – are insults to the detective form. "Nemesis" – the last Marple novel written - is, at least, a notch above those two wastes of ink, but it doesn’t fare much better.

On the plus side: the spectre of Jason Rafiel, from A Caribbean Mystery, looms large over the story, which gives things a sense of purpose. The unusual structure – a coach tour around Great Britain – allows for a bit of a shake-up, utilising Christie’s trademark group of gathered unknowns from a new angle. The emotional circumstances of the crime are quite powerful, and Marple herself gets to do some of the investigating, which isn’t always the case in her canon. (The Joan Hickson adaptation is one of her best, making good use of the settings and characters, while the Geraldine McEwan adaptation – although well-cast – is barely recognisable.)

However, the writing style and the boring characters do nothing for this book, which exhibits all the traits of the end of Christie’s career: peculiar tangents, lazy dialogue writing, and a disappointing lack of logic to the red herrings. A bore for anyone who hasn’t read a lot of Christie, and I’d also imagine it’s quite boring if you haven’t read a fair swath of Marple.

Marple ranking: 13th out of 14.
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