Monday, September 14, 2009
Short Story Monday/Sanctuary by Agatha Christie
For my first Short Story Monday choice, I thought I'd read one by Agatha Christie, since it is her birthday week. It is the last story in my copy of Miss Marple, the Complete Short Stories. It was originally in a collection called Double Sin and Other Stories, which is happily still available.
I read this at wikipedia:
Sanctuary: serialised in the weekly newspaper supplement This Week magazine in two instalments from September 12 to September 19, 1954 under the title Murder at the Vicarage (not to be confused with the novel of the same name) with illustrations by Robert Fawcett.
Agatha Christie at about the time this story was published.
I really enjoyed Sanctuary. Every sentence, every word is important and necessary to the tale. The gist is that a vicar's wife finds a dying man in the church. He has been shot and soon dies after saying three words: sanctuary; a word that sounded like the vicar's name, Julian; and please. There is a mystery here, and it just so happens that the vicar's wife is Miss Jane Marple's favorite godchild, who possesses quite good powers of observation and detection herself.
There are wonderful descriptions which tell so much in a few words:
her battered felt hat
it was unheated except at service times
a small, mean. pursed-up mouth
crime in Chipping Cleghorn again... you don't lack for sensation here, do you, Mrs. Harmon?
From the first sentence, I was completely absorbed in the story. It was interesting, and the mystery was cleverly solved. I highly recommend it.