Reading the Detectives discussion

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Group Challenges > The Thirteen Problems

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
This is actually the second published Miss Marple volume and is a collection of stories published in 1932. This will be an 'extra' read for February.


LovesMysteries  | 234 comments Does anyone's edition of "Thirteen Problems" has a
foreword written by Christie? I believe it's in the 1953 Penguin edition. I don't know if the foreword was first written in 1953 in that edition way after the book was published or if it was first used in 1930 and reprinted in the 1953 edition.


message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 351 comments Yes, I do have a (rather lovely) foreword by Christie in my edition. It seems like the foreword was written for the 1953 Penguin edition.


message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1773 comments Just over half way with this and loving Miss Marple. Trying to put the actors out of my mind and recreate the Miss Marple that I had in mind when I read about her in my early teens.


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
I had that foreword in my edition too - interesting how Christie says that some of her readers want her to just write Miss Marple books and not Poirot ones, and some demand the opposite!


message 6: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1773 comments Finished this book and throughly enjoyed it. I would say I don't normally enjoy short stories, but this was very good. It built the character of Miss Marples, to give an understanding of her methods of detection, so in the following books we would realise how believable she would be.


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 351 comments About to start the 6th mystery of the Tuesday Night club, looking forward to Miss Marple presenting one! Will it be a village mystery? What will her esteemed nephew make of it?

I'm really enjoying these stories and they are a perfect size for my commute.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
i rarely like short stories either, but I did enjoy these very much.


message 9: by John (new)

John Frankham (johnfrankham) | 30 comments I agree with Jill. Most enjoyable, making a coherent whole - group of six, another group of six, then a humdinger of a 13th. I laughed a lot!


message 10: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
I enjoyed the stories but must admit they haven't stuck in my mind very well - within days of finishing the book, what I mainly remembered was the atmosphere and the group of people discussing their theories, with Miss Marple bringing out her clever comparisons with people in St Mary Mead!

I'm wondering if the individual stories are less memorable than those in collections by some other authors, such as Conan Doyle and Sayers?


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
I think the atmosphere was very important, wasn't it? This idea of Miss Marple, sitting by the fire, solving every mystery thrown at her. It did set the scene and implant her character in your mind...


message 12: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Susan wrote: "i rarely like short stories either, but I did enjoy these very much."

These were very enjoyable- I don;t read very many either but do enjoy the Sherlock Holmes ones as well.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
I have only ever read one Sherlock Holmes book and that was years ago, so I can't really recall it now.


message 14: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
In her short introduction to this book, Agatha Christie suggests that Miss Marple might be better suited to short stories than full length novels. She says "I think that she is at her best in the solving of short problems; they suit her more intimate style".

Just wondering what anyone else thinks about this? I enjoyed the short stories but must say so far I've enjoyed the novels even more!


message 15: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Judy wrote: "In her short introduction to this book, Agatha Christie suggests that Miss Marple might be better suited to short stories than full length novels. She says "I think that she is at her best in the s..."
Me too- the characters are better developed in a sense and of course, its fun picking up (or trying to) the clues.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
I personally always prefer novels, but I know short stories were huge, especially between the war. I've read memoirs by writers such as Alec Waugh (whose father was a publisher) and he mentions short stories as a writers 'bread and butter.' For me, though, there is no contest and novels offer much greater depth.


message 17: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Susan wrote: "I personally always prefer novels, but I know short stories were huge, especially between the war. I've read memoirs by writers such as Alec Waugh (whose father was a publisher) and he mentions sho..."

For weeklies and magazines, these would be perfect - plus from the readers' pov, if one didn't have very much time on hand, reading a short story whenever one did would have been good entertainment.


message 18: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
I still find they are great for reading on the bus etc - just long enough for the journey!


message 19: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Judy wrote: "I still find they are great for reading on the bus etc - just long enough for the journey!"

Also perhaps during one's lunch break.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
Yes, I do sometimes like 'kindle singles' for the same reason.


message 21: by Adrian (new)

Adrian | 135 comments Judy wrote: "I still find they are great for reading on the bus etc - just long enough for the journey!"

Or in my case, just long enough to finish (at least) a story a night, (given I read the book in 4 days, it obviously must be more than 1 a night oops).

I really enjoyed the stories, remembering only 2 from my read of years ago, but in common with most, do enjoy the novels more. Now where did I put my copy of The Body in the Library


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
The best thing about my kindle is that even I can't lose books on it! I can never locate anything in my house - I need a search function...


message 23: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 170 comments I found "Miss Marple the Complete Short Stories" at the library and will start reading it tonigh; I believe the first section is the same as The Thirteen Problems.

in general, I prefer a novel length but we shall see how I like these.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 589 comments I'm about to start. I have a complete short stories, so I'm just going to post the list of the thirteen problems ones - just to help me keep track!

The Tuesday Night Club
The Idol House of Astarte
Ingots of Gold
The Bloodstained Pavement
Motive vs. Opportunity
The Thumb Mark of St. Peter
The Blue Geranium
The Companion
The Four Suspects
A Christmas Tragedy
The Herb of Death
The Affair at the Bungalow
Death by Drowning

No Christie introduction with mine.


message 25: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Susan wrote: "The best thing about my kindle is that even I can't lose books on it! I can never locate anything in my house - I need a search function..."

Ha ha- me neither- especially since I packed everything for the house to be painted last year. I'm reading Howards End with another group but still haven't found my copy. I'm going ahead and downloading an e copy for the time being.


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
We are discussing individual stories on the spoiler thread, but we're only on the second story, so plenty of time for anyone to jump in :)


message 27: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 162 comments I'm also about to start. I will use a book that contains all Miss Marple short histories.


message 28: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 170 comments so far I have been staying out of the spoiler thread while I'm reading


message 29: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 592 comments I read Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple several years ago -- is this the same as The Thirteen Problems?


message 30: by Daniele (new)

Daniele | 38 comments Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕ wrote: "I'm about to start. I have a complete short stories, so I'm just going to post the list of the thirteen problems ones - just to help me keep track!

The Tuesday Night Club
The Idol House of Astarte..."

I am eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive. couldn't find it anywhere where i live except in french (I am in US).


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 589 comments Leslie wrote: "I read Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple several years ago -- is this the same as The Thirteen Problems?"

Hi Leslie - I've listed the titles in message 24 - it looks like some are the same, some are different. :)


message 32: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
I found something about Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple in a wiki discussion page - this seems to confirm that it isn't the same book but some of the stories are the same, while some are later stories. How confusing!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Mi...


message 33: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 592 comments Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕ wrote: "Leslie wrote: "I read Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple several years ago -- is this the same as The Thirteen Problems?"

Hi Leslie - I've listed the titles in message 24 -..."


Thanks Carol!


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
Oh, sorry, Leslie. I did reply to your earlier message, but I am not sure if you read it. I think they are different books.


message 35: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 162 comments I'm reading The Thirteen Problems in the book called "Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories", HarperCollings e-books. The summary identifies the short stories and indicates it's origins, i.e., the book from which it belongs. The book also has the foreword by Agatha Christie, with its interesting remarks about Miss Marple conception.


message 36: by John (new)

John Frankham (johnfrankham) | 30 comments Yes, Marcus, I have the paperback version, which has the 13 stories from The Thirteen Problems, the other 7 Miss Marple short stories, and 34 other mystery short stories. There are two other volumes of Christie short stories in the series, one with Hercule Poirot, and one with 'detectives and young adventurers.' Each has a useful complete list showing first publication and book publication, in both USA and UK. All good stuff.


message 37: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 51 comments I got the Complete Stories on my Kindle and read the first story last night. Short stories are a lot of fun. I really like them. It's a shame they seem to have fallen a bit out of favor.


message 38: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Jackie wrote: "I found "Miss Marple the Complete Short Stories" at the library and will start reading it tonigh; I believe the first section is the same as The Thirteen Problems...."

I just got the same book yesterday, and yes, the first section are the thirteen problems. (Unlucky number!!)


message 39: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1068 comments Everyman wrote: "Jackie wrote: "I found "Miss Marple the Complete Short Stories" at the library and will start reading it tonigh; I believe the first section is the same as The Thirteen Problems...."

I just got th..."
The Lemony Snickett books play on the number too- thirteen books in the series, each with thirteen chapters.


message 40: by Judy (last edited Feb 26, 2017 10:44AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
Just came across this nice photo of the very first Miss Marple short story, The Tuesday Night Club, in The Royal Magazine, complete with an illustraton:

http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/m...

Is this how you imagine her? I think it's a good picture although I can't help thinking Miss M should really look exactly like Joan Hickson!


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) That makes me see why they cast Margaret Rutherford - but for me Joan Hickson IS Miss Jane Marple :D


message 42: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 162 comments Sounds pretty similar to what I draw in my imagination. An old lady with an unpretentious demeanor but clever enough to solve distinct mysteries.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 589 comments Judy wrote: "Just came across this nice photo of the very first Miss Marple short story, The Tuesday Night Club, in The Royal Magazine, complete with an illustraton:

http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/m...-..."


I always imagine Miss Marple as fluffier looking. But I also give her a more "modern" hairstyle than was likely!


message 44: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 162 comments Wisdom from our friend, Miss Jane Marple: "... there is nothing more cruel than talk, and there is nothing more difficult to combat. When people say things behind your back there is nothing you can refute or deny, and the rumours go on growing, and no one can stop them".


message 45: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
Well, in the early stories, she is described as being covered in lace and yes, sort of 'fluffy,' but shrewd. I see her as quite bird like - trim and neat and proper.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 589 comments Even though she looked different from my visualisation I did like Joan Hickson as Miss M. Amazing eyes!


message 47: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
I've noticed the site I linked to, about an exhibition at the British Library, says the first short story was published in 1929, but the Wikipedia page about Miss Marple says 1927 - I'm guessing that is right as it is very detailed and has original publication details for every short story.

That means Miss Marple made her debut the same year as Miss Climpson in the Wimsey stories, with Miss Silver following on a couple of years later!


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
According to the Agatha Christie site:

Miss Marple first came into being in 1927 in The Tuesday Night Club, a short story pulled together into the collection The Thirteen Problems. It was first published in the December 1927 issue of Royal Magazine. Christie never expected Miss Marple to rival Poirot in the public’s affections but since the publication of The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930, Marple's first full length novel, readers were hooked.

So, it seems the British Library are incorrect.


message 49: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8236 comments Mod
Thanks, Susan, that confirms the date. The article I linked to is from an online magazine and the wrong date might just be a typo by the author - nice piece, though, with some great book covers. I really want to read The Female Detective!


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9215 comments Mod
Looks interesting, Judy.


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