52. The Murder at the Vicarage - first in the Miss Marple series
by Agatha Christie
Kindle book - 1
Last month Simon offered a quote from E. M. Forster's Two Cheers For Democracy, and this portion of it really struck home for me:
I am myself a lover of the interiors of books, of the words in them - an uncut book is about as inspiriting as a corked up bottle of wine - and much as I enjoy good print and good binding and old volumes they remain subsidiary to the words: words, the wine of life.This describes perfectly why I can love a Kindle book as well as an old, used book or a brand new, first-one-to-read-it book. It is all about the words, the story.
Andi left a comment on my Kindle post:
One great, engrossing read and you won't notice the "device" anymore.And I found this to be true in my very first ebook. I was completely wrapped up in The Murder at the Vicarage, and fairly flew through it on my Kindle. It is so light and the 'pages' turn so easily and quickly.
There were Miss Marple stories published earlier, but this was her first appearance in a full-length book. The initial adjective used to describe her is 'terrible' and this from the Vicar's wife! She goes on to say:
"She's the worst cat in the village," said Griselda. "And she always knows every single thing that happens - and draws the worst inferences from it."The Vicar tells the reader:
Griselda, as I have said, is much younger than I am. At my time of life, one knows that the worst is usually true.Later when she appears, the Vicar describes her thus:
Miss Marple is a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner.And comparing her to Miss Wetherby, who is 'a mixture of vinegar and gush'
Of the two Miss Marple is much the more dangerous.And there we have it. A quiet entrance for the most famous and often most beloved of all amateur sleuths. I would say that her strongest trait is that of observation. She pays attention. She takes time to really see what is going on. And she 'remembers' other people, other occasions, other situations which are similar to a present dilemma. These associations help her to solve mysterious problems that others cannot begin to get a grip on.
As in many mysteries, the most obnoxious character is the first victim. The reader doesn't feel sorry that Colonel Protheroe has been found shot dead at a desk in the vicarage. The village of St Mary Mead is full of people who wouldn't mind seeing him dead, and quite soon someone confesses to the murder. But is he the real villain? And if not, why in the world did he confess?
I couldn't have been happier within the pages of this book. There's something about Agatha Christie that puts me right into the time and place of her books. I happily traveled through the village wondering 'whodunnit' and why, and was deeply satisfied when I reached the end. A lovely reading experience.