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Agatha Christie & Miss Marple Mysteries
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (née Miller; 1890 – 1976) was an English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright. She also wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best known for the 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections that she wrote under her own name, most of which revolve around the investigative work of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, Parker Pyne, Harley Quin/Mr Satterthwaite and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. She wrote the world’s longest-running play, a murder mystery, ‘The Mousetrap’. In 1971 she was made a Dame for her contribution to literature.
Christie was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. She served in a hospital during the First World War before marrying and starting a family in London. She was initially unsuccessful at getting her work published, but in 1920 The Bodley Head press published her novel ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, featuring the character of Hercule Poirot. This launched her literary career.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages. ‘And Then There Were None’ is Christie’s best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.
Christie’s stage play ‘The Mousetrap’ holds the record for the longest initial run: it opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End on 25 November 1952 and as of 2015 is still running after more than 25,000 performances. In 1955 Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award, and in the same year ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ received an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. In 2013, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ was voted the best crime novel ever by 600 fellow writers of the Crime Writers’ Association. On 15 September 2015, coinciding with Agatha Christie’s 125th birthday, ‘And Then There Were None’ was voted as the “World’s Favorite Christie”, followed closely by ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and The ‘Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. Most of her books and short stories have been adapted for television, radio, video games and comics, and more than thirty feature films have been based on her work.
To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours, she was promoted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), three years after her husband had been knighted for his archaeological work in 1968. They were one of the few married couples where both partners were honoured in their own right. From 1968, owing to her husband’s knighthood, Christie could also be styled Lady Mallowan.
Dame Agatha Christie died on 12 January 1976 at age 85 from natural causes at her Winterbrook House in the north of Cholsey parish, adjoining Wallingford in Oxfordshire (formerly part of Berkshire). She is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Mary’s, Cholsey. She was survived by her only child, Rosalind Margaret Hicks.
Jane Marple, usually referred to as Miss Marple, is a fictional character appearing in 12 of Agatha Christie’s crime novels and in 20 short stories. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster who lives in the village of St. Mary Mead and acts as an amateur consulting detective. Alongside Hercule Poirot, she is one of the most loved and famous of Christie’s characters and has been portrayed numerous times on screen. Her first appearance was in a short story published in The Royal Magazine in December 1927, “The Tuesday Night Club”, which later became the first chapter of ‘The Thirteen Problems’ (1932). Her first appearance in a full-length novel was in ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ in 1930.
Miss Marple Detective Novels
Note: Miss Marple’s first case!
The murder of Colonel Protheroe — shot through the head — is a shock to everyone in St Mary Mead, though hardly an unpleasant one. Now even the vicar, who had declared that killing the detested Protheroe would be ‘doing the world at large a favour,’ is a suspect — the Colonel has been dispatched in the clergyman’s study, no less. But the picturesque English village of St Mary Mead is overpopulated with suspects. There is of course the faithless Mrs Protheroe; and there is of course her young lover — an artist, to boot.
Perhaps more surprising than the revelation of the murderer is the detective who will crack the case: ‘a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner.’ Miss Jane Marple has arrived on the scene, and crime literature’s private men’s club of great detectives will never be the same.
Note: Whispers of scandal?
The body of a beautiful blonde is found in the library of Gossington Hall. What the young woman was doing in the quiet village of St. Mary Mead is precisely what Jane Marple means to find out. Amid rumors of scandal, Miss Marple baits a clever trap to catch a ruthless killer.
Note: A Town of Secrets!
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 of that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, appears to have been driven to suicide. ‘I can’t go on,’ her final note reads. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict. Was this the work of a poison pen? Or of a poisoner?
Note: Invited to a death?
The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which read: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6:30 p.m.’ Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the pointed time when, without warning, the lights go out …
Note: A deadly visit!
A sense of danger pervades the rambling Victorian mansion in which Jane Marple’s friend Carrie Louise lives—and not only because the building doubles as a rehabilitation centre for criminal youths. One inmate attempts, and fails, to shoot dead the administrator. But simultaneously, in another part of the building, a mysterious visitor is less lucky. Miss Marple must employ all her cunning to solve the riddle of the stranger’s visit, and his murder—while protecting her friend from a similarly dreadful fate.
Note: A sixpence tale?
Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his “counting house” when he suffered an agonizing and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals.
Yet, it was the incident in the parlor which confirmed Miss Marple’s suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme. . .
Note: Wave goodbye?
For an instant the two trains ran side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth McGillicuddy stared helplessly out of her carriage window as a man tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away. But who, apart from Mrs. McGillicuddy’s friend Jane Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there are no other witnesses, no suspects, and no case — for there is no corpse, and no one is missing. Miss Marple asks her highly efficient and intelligent young friend Lucy Eyelesbarrow to infiltrate the Crackenthorpe family, who seem to be at the heart of the mystery, and help unmask a murderer.
Note: A lethal cocktail?
The quaint village of St Mary Mead has been glamourized by the presence of screen queen Marina Gregg, who has taken up residence in preparation for her comeback. But when a local fan is poisoned, Marina finds herself starring in a real-life mystery—supported with scene-stealing aplomb by Jane Marple, who suspects that the lethal cocktail was intended for someone else. But who? If it was meant for Marina, then why? And before the final fade-out, who else from St Mary Mead’s cast of seemingly innocent characters is going to be eliminated?
Note: Would you like to see a picture of a murderer?
As Jane Marple sat basking in the tropical sunshine she felt mildly discontented with life. True, the warmth eased her rheumatism, but here in paradise nothing ever happened. Then a question was put to her by a stranger: ‘Would you like to see a picture of a murderer?’ Before she has a chance to answer, the man vanishes, only to be found dead the next day. The mysteries abound: Where is the picture? Why is the hotelier prone to nightmares? Why doesn’t the most talked-about guest, a reclusive millionaire, ever leave his room? And why is Miss Marple herself fearful for her life?
Of note: A Caribbean Mystery introduces the wealthy (and difficult) Mr Jason Rafiel, who will call upon Miss Marple for help in Nemesis (1971) — after his death.
Note: A traditional atmosphere of danger?
When Jane Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she’s looking for at Bertram’s: a restored London hotel with traditional decor, impeccable service — and an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer. Yet not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong day …
Note: The return of Mr. Rafiel
Even the unflappable Miss Marple is astounded as she reads the letter addressed to her on instructions from the recently deceased tycoon Mr. Jason Rafiel, whom she had met on holiday in the West Indies (A Caribbean Mystery). Recognizing in her a natural flair for justice and a genius for crime-solving, Mr. Rafiel has bequeathed to Miss Marple a £20,000 legacy — and a legacy of an entirely different sort. For he has asked Miss Marple to investigate…his own murder. The only problem is, Mr. Rafiel has failed to name a suspect or suspects. And, whoever they are, they will certainly be determined to thwart Miss Marple’s inquiries — no matter what it will take to stop her.
Note: A house with a history!
Soon after Gwenda Reed moves into her new home, odd things start to happen. Despite her best efforts to modernize the house, she only succeeds in dredging up its past. Worse, she feels an irrational sense of terror every time she climbs the stairs… In fear, Gwenda turns to Jane Marple to exorcise her ghosts. Between them, they are to solve a ‘perfect’ crime committed many years before…
Miss Jane Marple Short Stories
Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Note: 13 problems for careful consideration!
The Tuesday Night Club
A group of friends are meeting at the house of Miss Marple in St Mary Mead. As well as the old lady herself, there is her nephew – the writer Raymond West – the artist Joyce Lemprière, Sir Henry Clithering (a former Scotland Yard commissioner), a clergyman called Dr Pender, and Mr Petherick, a solicitor. The conversation turns to unsolved mysteries; Raymond, Joyce, Pender, and Petherick all claim that their professions are ideal for solving crimes. Joyce suggests that they form a club; every Tuesday night, a member of the group must tell of a real mystery, and the others will attempt to solve it. Sir Henry agrees to participate, and Miss Marple brightly volunteers herself to round out the group.
Sir Henry tells the first story of three people who sat down to a supper of canned lobster and a dessert of canned trifle, three people become ill and Mrs Jones is found dead. Although a bout of botulism is suspected, the Tuesday Night Club is keen to investigate further…
Ingots of Gold
Raymond West approaches the Tuesday Night Club after his visit to John Newman, a friend who is searching for the Spanish ship Otranto which was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall. When John Newman disappears for days, upon his return he claims that he had been abducted by the thieves who had stripped the Otranto of its gold. Can Miss Marple help the club solve the mystery of the Otranto and its dangerous allure?
The Blood-Stained Pavement
Joyce Lempiere tells the Tuesday Night Club of an incident that occurred five years ago when she was vacationing at a small inn on the Cornish coast. She was painting a picture of the front of the inn, including details of wet bathing suits drying on the balcony of Denis and Margery Dacre, when she realised she had included blood stains on the pavement. A few days later Margery is found dead, having drowned, and the Club are called to solve the mystery.
The Idol House of Astarte
Years ago, a murder was committed on the night of a costume party thrown by Sir Richard Haydon. Sir Richard’s estate contained the grove of Astarte, which held a mysterious stone summer house rumored to have been the site of numerous sacred rites in years long past. In a surprise act, the lovely Diana Ashley enacted the role of Astarte, startling Sir Richard who stumbled and fell. When the others reached his body, he was found dead of a knife wound to the heart. After all these years, can the Club still solve the case?
Motive v. Opportunity
At a meeting of the Tuesday Night Club, attorney Mr. Petherick relates an incident involving the late Simon Clode, a wealthy client. Obsessed by his granddaughter’s death, Clode turned to spiritualist Eurydice Spragg to contact her in the afterlife, and then decided to write a new will leaving Eurydice as the benefactor and excluding his family. To everyone’s surprise, when the envelope containing the will is opened, the paper is blank. The Tuesday Night Club goes on the case…
The Thumb Mark of St. Peter
Fifteen years ago, Miss Marple’s niece, Mabel Denman, was accused of murdering her abusive and violent husband. Can Miss Marple clear her niece’s name and reveal the true perpetrator?
The Blue Geranium
A woman is warned by a psychic of the evil and danger in her house. On a full moon, she must watch for the signs: blue primrose means caution, blue hollyhock is danger, and blue geranium is death!
A murder-suicide in a small village mimics events that took place years before.
The Four Suspects
A doctor who helped bring about the downfall of a secret German organization is convinced that the members will seek revenge.
A Christmas Tragedy
At a health resort, Miss Marple becomes suspicious that a man she meets is planning on murdering his wife.
The Herb of Death
A dinner party takes a deadly turn when somebody poisons the guests.
The Affair at the Bungalow
A beautiful actress tells a mysterious tale, but Miss Marple has her suspicions about the story’s truth.
Death by Drowning
A young girl finds out she’s pregnant and throws herself off a bridge, but Miss Marple is not so sure it was suicide.
Available in paperback and audible editions.
Note: Six more Miss Marple Stories
Bunch, engrossed in her flower arrangements for the church, is placing the chrysanthemums when she sees a man crumpled over on the chancel steps, dying. The man can only utter one word, “sanctuary.” No one at the vicarage understands what he means, and nothing can be done to stop his death. But, when his relatives promptly arrive to pick up his possessions, Bunch can’t get the word out of her head. She knows just who to turn to, her godmother, Miss Marple. What Bunch and Miss Marple discover is more exciting than anything that could be expected to happen in a sleepy village like Chipping Cleghorn. Who is this man, and what does “sanctuary” mean?
Miss Marple is accosted at a party by a pair of lovebirds who think that a lately deceased uncle has buried their inheritance. The naïve pair expects Miss Marple to instantaneously summon forth where the buried treasure is. But, this careful observer of human nature—the consequence of living in a small English village—knows that a little examination is needed. Invited to Ansteys, the ransacked family seat, Miss Marple ensconces herself in a household that has perhaps been too thoroughly investigated. She regales its members with what appear to be meaningless, infuriating anecdotes, but little do they know their importance and worth….
Miss Politt has been waiting and waiting outside Laburnum Cottage for Mrs. Spenlow, to no avail. She nervously acquires the help of her next-door neighbor, whose gumption and persistence reveal that Mrs. Spenlow is dead on the hearthrug. The whole of St. Mary Mead is convinced the murderer is Mr. Spenlow, who shows no emotion upon his wife’s sudden death, but, with characteristic diligence, Miss Marple reveals that it is perhaps not that simple.
The Case of the Caretaker
Doctor Haydock, the resident GP of St. Mary Mead, hopes to cheer up Miss Marple as she recovers from the flu with a little story. The tale revolves around the return of the prodigal son of Major Laxton, the devilishly handsome Harry Laxton. Harry, after leading a life of childish indiscretions and falling head over heels for the village tobacconist’s daughter, has made good and returned to lay claim to his tumbling childhood home and introduce the village to his beautiful new wife. But, the villagers are prone to gossip about young Harry’s past, and one person in particular cannot forgive him for tearing down the old house. Will Miss Marple’s acumen be up to the task of solving the story?
The Case of the Perfect Maid
When her maid asks Miss Marple to intervene in the delicate problem of her rather opinionated cousin Gladys, she doesn’t think much can be done. Poor Gladys has been accused of stealing a precious brooch belonging to her employers, the reserved Misses Skinner. While one sister malingers with mysterious ailments, the other attends to her every need, and they’ve both decided that Gladys must go. But, one day there appears a paragon to replace her, the perfect maid, or so they think….
Miss Marple Tells a Story
There’s a body in a trunk; a dead girl’s reflection is caught in a mirror; and one corpse is back from the grave, while another is envisioned in the recurring nightmare of a terrified eccentric. What’s behind such ghastly misdeeds? Try money, revenge, passion, and pleasure. With multiple motives, multiple victims, and multiple suspects, it’s going to take a multitude of talent to solve these clever crimes.
The Dressmaker’s Doll – not a Miss Marple story
In a Glass Darkly – not a Miss Marple story
Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Note: Two options: Complete collection or just add eBook!
Two options for this story. Get it as part of Miss Marple: The Complete Collection, or buy it as a separate ebook. The lady of the house at Greenshaw’s Folly is murdered in the midst of drawing up her will.
Miss Marple DVD Collections
Available only in DVD & Blu-ray collections.
Note: Four early cases!
Joan Hickson, the actress Agatha Christie herself wanted for the role, stars as the shrewd sleuth in four thrilling whodunits: ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’, ‘The Moving Finger’, ‘The Body in the Library’ and ‘A Murder is Announced’. Watch as Miss Marple puts her perceptive powers to good use and gets to the bottom of even the most complex crimes in this beloved series.
Available only in DVD & Blu-ray collections.
Note: Four more cases!
Joan Hickson (“the reincarnation of Miss Marple” – Sunday Telegraph, London) stars as the soft-spoken, sharp-eyed sleuth in these stylish and lushly produced mystery dramas now fully restored in high definition. When a murder at a country house happens right under Miss Marple’s nose, she gradually deduces how ‘They Do It with Mirrors’. A nursery rhyme comes horribly true in ‘A Pocketful of Rye’. Whatever happened to the body of a woman murdered on the ‘4.50 from Paddington’? And in ‘The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side’, who was the intended victim of the poisoned cocktail that killed Heather Badcock? Also starring Jean Simmons, Peter Davison and Claire Bloom.
Available only in DVD & Blu-ray collections.
Note: And four more!
Four deliciously complex mysteries that will keep you guessing in the lively company of Miss Jane Marple, played by Joan Hickson, Agatha Christie’s handpicked actress for the role. Never one to sit idle, Miss Marple finds her luxurious Barbados vacation a bit dull until Major Palgrave’s murder turns it into ‘A Caribbean Mystery’. Her London stay seems a bit too perfect until she discovers something sinister behind the Edwardian façade ‘At Bertram s Hotel’. How can Miss Marple resist visiting the seaside villa of a young couple plagued by terrifying memories of a ‘Sleeping Murder’? And how will she solve an unspecified crime in ‘Nemesis’, when her only clue is a ticket for a tour of historic homes and gardens, pre-paid by a dead man? These four newly restored suspenseful dramas complete this must-own collection.
Available only in DVD & Blu-ray collections.
Note: All 12 in a single collection!
Binge on twelve classic mysteries by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, or savor them slowly. Superb actress Joan Hickson serves murder anyway you like it as Miss Jane Marple, the soft-spoken senior sleuth who succeeds where young policemen fail. Gather your wits for a dozen dastardly crimes, filmed entirely on location with lush period settings: The Murder at the Vicarage, 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.