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The Moving Finger (Miss Marple, #3)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED February 2014 - The Moving Finger

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message 1: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Originally published 1943. Features Miss Marple.

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets - a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir. But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note said 'I can't go on'. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner's verdict of suicide. Was this the work of a poison-pen? Or of a poisoner?


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 74 comments I haven't read this for a while, but I remember enjoying it.


message 3: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I'm going to see if I have the audiobook of this one too.


message 4: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 04, 2014 10:21AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elizabeth Williams (carsinger) | 18 comments Started reading The Moving finger today!! I just love the way agatha Christie describes a village, landscapes and people!! Looking forward to this re-read. I can't remember who did it... Been a few years and many books since I last read this book!!

This one was the Agatha Book Club read for February. I really liked this book! I had to keep reading until I got to the end! It was a re-read for me, but it has been years and I didn't have a clue as to who did it. As usual I love Agatha's gift at describing Village life. I found myself daydreaming about moving to a village thoroughout! Miss Marple was hardly in the book though, and really the book wouldn't have been lacking if she wasnt even in it. I enjoyed Jerry Burton's account of the story. I love Miss Marple, I just found this story was quite enjoyable even without her presence throughout most of the story. (less)


Brad Friedman | 191 comments Agatha Christie of the 1940's is, in many ways, a much more mature writer than the Christie of the '30's, and I think that, after a series of brilliant twists in such books as Orient Express, Death on the Nile and Roger Ackroyd, she was much more interested in writing a more novelistic mystery centered on character and setting. We saw that in Five Little Pigs, and we'll see it next month in Towards Zero (one of my favorite Christies EVER!) The Moving Finger is one of my favorite Miss Marple mysteries, but Miss M. hardly appears in it at all!

Elissa above mentions how well Christie describes a village! So true! I love how Christie takes our expectations of village life that we have learned from her earlier novels and subverts them to try and fool us yet again. And I love the various characters we meet here, starting with Jerry and Joanna Burton, who could have been the detectives themselves until a certain spinster from St. Mary Mead arrives to save the day in true deus ex machina style!


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Brad wrote: "Agatha Christie of the 1940's is, in many ways, a much more mature writer than the Christie of the '30's, and I think that, after a series of brilliant twists in such books as Orient Express, Death..."

I've been noticing that her books are getting better as we move into the 1940's. And there's always new surprises, as you say, because she plays with our expectations.


T.R. (trwhittier) | 1 comments Ahh, The Moving Finger! Probably my favorite of the Miss Marple Mysteries :)


Cindy | 47 comments I'm in!!!


message 9: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Great Cindy - I've got to download the book still :(


Cindy | 47 comments I am really enjoying it. This is one I have never read. I do love my Miss Marple. She has not showed up yet, but I really like the narrator. And poison pen killers are a lot of fun!! :)


Alberto | 15 comments Just finished it. Outstanding.


Katherine Just finished it. This was the second time I've read it. I especially enjoyed several of the conversations between Joanna and her brother. I thought they were amusing.


Cindy | 47 comments Finished today!! Of course, I was wrong. I always am. lol Great book!


Alberto | 15 comments This is one of the AC books where both the plot and the characterization are quite good. In some of her books, one or the other suffers.


Katherine Cindy wrote: "Finished today!! Of course, I was wrong. I always am. lol Great book!"

I don't normally solve Christie's mysteries either. lol.


Cindy | 47 comments I thought Jerry was a thoughtful, interesting narrator. He has a clear way of telling a story. And great supporting characters. One of the best Miss Marple novels, I think.


Cindy | 47 comments Katherine wrote: "Cindy wrote: "Finished today!! Of course, I was wrong. I always am. lol Great book!"

I don't normally solve Christie's mysteries either. lol."


Indeed!! She is too clever by half!!


Daisy (bellisperennis) Cindy wrote: "Jerry was a thoughtful, interesting narrator."

Jerry was like a supporting and anchoring presence as a narrator amidst all the happenings. I liked him.

Does anyone else find that the pace of this book seems more rapid than some of Christie's other books? Or is it just me?


Alberto | 15 comments I liked the pacing. I think this was better than Murder in the Vicarage or some of the more highly regarded Marples.


message 20: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Pichette | 16 comments I just finished this book. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the interaction between the brother and sister. I enjoyed the descriptions of the villagers and their ideas about who did it.


message 21: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Vicarage IS a much longer book, and I agree that it's not as rewarding in the end as Moving Finger. I like how the characters come to life, even though most of them are oft-used village types: the fluffy old lady, the effeminate antiques collector, the hearty spinster, the dry solicitor, the adenoidally stupid maid, and on and on. They were more than balanced by the delightful Joanna and Jerry, and I thought Megan was one of Christie's most original characters. I also think it's interesting that we all rank it as one of our favorite Miss Marple mysteries when Miss Marple is only in about ten percent of it. What are we to make of that???


Cindy | 47 comments Anne wrote: "I just finished this book. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the interaction between the brother and sister. I enjoyed the descriptions of the villagers and their ideas about who did it."

I enjoyed the brother/sister dynamic also. It was a fun little peek inside their relationship. And all the romances going on....that was probably my favorite part.


Cindy | 47 comments Brad wrote: "Vicarage IS a much longer book, and I agree that it's not as rewarding in the end as Moving Finger. I like how the characters come to life, even though most of them are oft-used village types: the ..."

It is interesting isn't it?? I just like the idea of Miss Marple just swooping in there and solving the case!! She is so awesome that she didn't even need to be in the whole book to put everything together! lol


message 24: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Cindy wrote: "Brad wrote: "Vicarage IS a much longer book, and I agree that it's not as rewarding in the end as Moving Finger. I like how the characters come to life, even though most of them are oft-used villag..."

She's a dues ex machina in the best sense of the word! And, of course, she will do that again in later books, like The Mirror Crack'd, where she twists her ankle and misses the murder, or Nemesis or Sleeping Murder, where she shows up decades later to wreak justice!


message 25: by Indiabookstore (new)

Indiabookstore | 7 comments I agree with Cindy - one of the best Miss Marple mysteries. I could kick myself for not realising what it meant, that Miss Ginch got a letter coupling her name with Mr. Symmington, while Elsie Holland didn't.


message 26: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Farr | 15 comments Always a pleasure to return to. Even as a male I like the romantic touches. As for Miss Marple, her shrewdness and intelligence just shine through. One of my personal favourites, the plot has enough twists to keep you guessing.


Cindy | 47 comments Brad wrote: "Cindy wrote: "Brad wrote: "Vicarage IS a much longer book, and I agree that it's not as rewarding in the end as Moving Finger. I like how the characters come to life, even though most of them are o..."

Something to look forward to!! I have never read the three you just mentioned. I try to pace myself with the Agatha Christie....and I always seem to read more of the Poirot for some reason.


message 28: by Asti (new) - rated it 4 stars

Asti | 13 comments The thing with Megan are one of the sweet touches I always love in Agatha Christie's book.

I also agree that her books in 40s are very more enjoyable. Wittier and more vivid.
Later towards 60s would be a different story, though.


message 29: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Cindy wrote: "Brad wrote: "Cindy wrote: "Brad wrote: "Vicarage IS a much longer book, and I agree that it's not as rewarding in the end as Moving Finger. I like how the characters come to life, even though most ..."

Wow, Cindy! I envy you not having read some of these books. I would LOVE to be able to encounter "new" Agatha Christie mysteries!! I'm actually excited that author Sophie Hannah is writing a "new" Poirot, coming out this fall, giving me a new chance to match wits with a favorite character!!


Cindy | 47 comments I did enjoy the Megan character very much. She was almost like a little something extra. Although I kept forgetting that she was older than she was. I kept thinking that she was 15 or something....almost a pesky little sister...then she becomes a grownup and a heroine!! Which was a lot of fun!!


Cheryl (goodreadscomcherylbdale) | 594 comments I read this years ago and reread it for this discussion.

IMO this isn't one of her better stories. I don't mind myself, but for Miss Marple fans, the old lady plays a rather small part in it.

But the hero is likable and the touch of romance (for his sister Joanna and later Jerry himself) usually present in Christie's stories is a pleasant diversion. And as always, Christie plants the clues so that only the clever have a chance to decipher them!

Nice read.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Cindy wrote: "I did enjoy the Megan character very much. She was almost like a little something extra. Although I kept forgetting that she was older than she was. I kept thinking that she was 15 or something......."

Megan's character is one of the most fascinating in the book. She's made out to be so infantile, and kept that way by many in the little village. I liked her "make-over" in London, and her final transformation. Another unusual character is Joanna, who also transforms a lot. The village does a whole lot of good for her, even though it is a place of murder and suspicion for a while.


Renee | 447 comments I just finished this one for the first time and loved it! I had my suspicions on who did it but like the detective in the novel says "I didn't know." The pacing in this one was great I thought. No filler pages that really don't have to do with the story. Everything was connected in some way and I loved the way the story was being told by Jerry and his reflections throughout on what they missed and why they should have picked up on the clues.

I was surprised that Miss Marple was hardly in it though. But she really didn't even need to be there until the end to solve it from studying the villagers. I thought all the characters were great and I especially liked Megan. The romance for both Joanna and Jerry just added to the book I think. Definitely one of my favourites!


message 34: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I'm so behind on the BOMs. I love Miss Marple too. :(


Alberto | 15 comments I know this is supposed to be about the book, but I am watching the 1985 Movie of this book, and the casting is outstanding. A must watch.


message 36: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
This can be about the book, the audiobook, or any version out there. Who is the Miss Marple?


Alberto | 15 comments Joan Hickson


message 38: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Alberto wrote: "Joan Hickson"

I loved her as Miss Marple


message 39: by Alberto (last edited Apr 17, 2015 12:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alberto | 15 comments Beat Marple ever, and on her series the adaptations were awesome (unlike the current series, which takes FAR too many liberties for my taste) but on this one I was impressed with the rest of the cast too.

Jerry, Joanna, Megan, the doctor, the governess - all outstanding.


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