Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

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General > Hercule Poirot Vs Jane Marple

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message 1: by Mél (last edited Aug 29, 2018 05:01AM) (new)

Mél ☽ (wudya_lookatthatcrescent_) | 9 comments Hello everyone!
I've read many of Christie's books, and I noticed something, and I need your professional opinions.
In Poirot's mysteries, there's often a way of "logically" figuring things out. Most of the times, readers are given, say, handwriting samples (Cards on The Table) or house plans (Murder in Mesopotamia) etc... However, in Miss Marple's adventures, knowledge stems from gossips, and female intuition. [Though, I know she does trace human nature, and is interested in the Why's and How's behind every act.] I just find myself wondering if the only recurring female character/"detective" should derive her conclusions from mere casual friendships and of knowledge about eveybody's business.
What do you guys think?


message 2: by Aušrinė (new)

Aušrinė (ausrejurke) | 154 comments I think this is the reason why I don't like Miss Marple. I prefer Poirot, because he collects concrete proof and uses deduction. And Miss Marple is just a nosy lady, who is very good at guessing. Maybe Agatha Christie wanted two very different characters, so she could write about the one she feels more like it at the time.


message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin (ems84) | 3021 comments Aušrinė wrote: "I think this is the reason why I don't like Miss Marple. I prefer Poirot, because he collects concrete proof and uses deduction. And Miss Marple is just a nosy lady, who is very good at guessing. M..."

I agree. I don't have anything against Miss Marple but I would rather read Poirot, since he uses proof and logic to figure out how a crime was committed and Miss Marple just uses gossip and guessing, which it's hard for me to believe someone is that good at guessing to figure out a crime every single time.


message 4: by Mél (new)

Mél ☽ (wudya_lookatthatcrescent_) | 9 comments Exactly. I noticed reading Poirot is more gripping. With Marple, I can't quite follow up. And it almost feels supernatural when she guesses things before detectives do.
Do you think it's because she thought a male character would be a perfect match for wits, or was she trying to - satirically- show us how the British society was, at the time?


message 5: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4630 comments Mod
Mél wrote: "Hello everyone!
I've read many of Christie's books, and I noticed something, and I need your professional opinions.
In Poirot's mysteries, there's often a way of "logically" figuring things out. ..."


I never really thought about how sexist it is for the man to use logic and the woman to use intuition and gossip. I like them both but now that you mentioned it, I can't get it out of my head.


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) What an interesting thought!

I wonder though whether Miss Marple bases her deductions on logic and facts just as much as Poirot does, but her knowledge is of human nature and people she's known over the years. She observes people closely and is able to apply her observations to work out other people's motivations.

To call it intuition implies that there is no logical basis for her thoughts, but she does have a logical basis. It's just a different one to Poirot.

Just a thought!


message 7: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Holmes | 30 comments I like both Poirot and Marple, but I can see the point of this strand. However, if you look at The Body in the Library (which I just reread), Christie gives the key clue to the mystery early in the book and it is observed by Marple and the reader. It then gets hidden among rest of the information.
I don't really like Sherlock Holmes stories because Doyle doesn't provide us with the information we need. Holmes seems to just pull the key points out the hat.


message 8: by Aušrinė (new)

Aušrinė (ausrejurke) | 154 comments Maggie wrote: "I don't really like Sherlock Holmes stories because Doyle doesn't provide us with the information we need. Holmes seems to just pull the key points out the hat."

I never liked Sherlock Holmes too! I read it quite long ago and I wasn't sure why I don't like it. At first I thought it is because the stories are just too old for me (based on publication date). However, Agatha Christie's books are not too much younger.
But now I think you found the real reason - it is annoying for the reader to be kept in the dark, while the detective suddenly solves the crime out of nowhere. I also don't like books, where the detective solves the crime, because (s)he had an oracular dream about the killer.


message 9: by Mél (new)

Mél ☽ (wudya_lookatthatcrescent_) | 9 comments I know Marple bases her deductions on an ardent study of human nature, but that is not the problem. The problem for me is not knowing how that works, and where she is heading. I love AC's books because they challenge me to find patterns of my own. In Marple's mysteries, however, her references are people I do not know. There's always someone who reminds her of someone else. So I'm always expecting something new -yes it's interesting- but can never be the annoying reader with the pen and paper, as I am while reading Poirot. Hehe


message 10: by Maximilian (new)

Maximilian Birner | 25 comments I do enjoy reading Poirot better because I can understand his thoughts better. I know that sounds pretty strange but everything that he says totally makes sense. Miss Marple is similar but I feel like her answers are more out of nowhere. Not saying her mysteries are lower quality, it's just sometimes I don't know where she is going. But maybe that is what Christie intended while writing. But, Miss Marple always had the better endings too.


message 11: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) Mél wrote: "can never be the annoying reader with the pen and paper..."

Oh do you write down the characters and the clues Mel! If so, I'm glad I'm not the only one!


message 12: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie | 15 comments I like Poirot better. I've only read one of Miss Marple, but I can honestly say that I like Poirot's thoughts and reasoning better than Jane Marple.


message 13: by Carla (new)

Carla (pikinina) | 66 comments I see what you all mean. I always felt amazed how Poirot's grey cells worked. I can understand how Miss Marple thinks, but Poirot seems more logical while Marple seems emotional. I prefer Poirot, because I never understood how Marple solves the case without working on that like Poirot does. I like to think that AC wanted to show that female intuition is powerfull and sometimes feels like magic, that the work of a detective is not just for men.


message 14: by Mél (new)

Mél ☽ (wudya_lookatthatcrescent_) | 9 comments hello! hope you're all doing great.
what I have come to understand is that Marple's use of intuition to which refers as specialized knowledge is in itself a form of pattern creation ( based on someone she knew from St. Mary Mead) which is like creating a chain of similarities and can be therefore seen as use of logic. only thing is that we can almost see where Poirots mind is going while Marple’s work is abstract and in her mind.

however, I really feel like the project of creating a female sleuth of that age and that specific social standing is the magic behind Marple and not her ways. She becomes almost invisible, infiltrating the world of detectives that's so masculine.


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