Miss Marple, an elderly spinster living in St. Mary Mead, did not lead a normal life. Her nephew, Raymond West believes her life to be dull and boring because nothing ever happens in her quaint little village. "Even pond scum has a lot of life when put underneath a microscope," replies his aunt.
During her lifetime of living there, she has learned much about human nature, which is the same no matter where you are in quaint little St. Mary Mead or in the bustling metropolis of London.
To all appearances, Jane Marple is just a nosy old spinster. What hindrances could she possibly pose to any criminal? If I happened to be a criminal, I definitely would not want to live beside Miss Marple.
Miss Marple made a study of human nature, a study of how people react to different situations. During each crime she is involved with she makes village parallels, comparing those wrapped up in the case to people in St. Mary Mead who, in her mind, have been involved in similar circumstances. Amazingly, or maybe logically, she solves many crimes this way.
Miss Marple’s very first appearance was in a short story, "The Tuesday Night Club". The first full length novel that Miss Marple appears in is Murder at the Vicarage, published in 1930. No one liked Colonel Protheroe much. He is found murdered in the vicar’s study, still sitting at his writing desk. There is no shortage of suspects, but Miss Marple manages to sort through all the mess and satisfactorily name the murderer.
Dame Agatha Christie did not intend to continue writing stories with Miss Marple as one of her series detectives, but this elderly spinster detective was an immediate hit. She starred in 11 more books. They are The Body in the Library, The Moving Finger, A Murder is Announced, They Do it with Mirrors, A Pocketful of Rye, 4.50 From Paddington, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, A Caribbean Mystery, At Bertram’s Hotel, Nemesis and Sleeping Murder.
She becomes increasingly frail as time goes on. Doctors forbid her to work in her garden, to go for nice, long walks and pretty much do anything else except knit. But she can still be nosy and ask questions and send others to find things out for her, so the criminals are still not safe.
The final book in which Miss Marple appears is Sleeping Murder. This is one of my favorite Miss Marple books. Gwenda, the main character, meets Miss Marple through her acquaintance with Raymond West and his wife. Gwenda believes she is going crazy because she seems to know so much about the house that she just bought and moved into. She tries to walk through the wall, only to discover that there was once a door there. She finds inside the painted over doors of an old cupboard the room’s original wallpaper - exactly what she had imagined she would like to use in the room. Miss Marple, without hesitation, tells here that she must have lived there before. Then everyone finds that investigating the past can be full of danger and surprises.
Agatha Christie said that she used to receive letters from fans saying that Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple should meet. She replied that no they shouldn’t meet, they would not like each other at all. I don’t believe they would have liked each other, either. Their methods of solving crimes, as well as their lifestyles, were completely different.
There is even a website for the fans of Miss Marple. It is
http://fandomish.net/list/marple/index.php. If you happen to be one of her many fans, why don’t you check it out?
You can buy Agatha Christie's first and last novels, featuring Miss Jane Marple, from Amazon in one book. Both novels are great, and I highly recommend them!
SLEEPING MURDER & THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE.