This is the fourth or fifth book (it’s hard to tell and depends who you ask) in which Miss Marple features as the detective and was first published in 1950. I sometimes think that Miss Marple is my favourite of the detectives, but I think that I equally like Poirot and Holmes, so it’s hard to tell.
Anyway A Murder is Announced is certainly a book I had problems putting down. The more I read of Agatha Christie the more I like her and she is great at keeping me intrigued. She’s one of those writers where you have to drag yourself away from the book by force, because there’s always time for one more page!
The plot follows the story of the attempted murder of a Miss Blacklock. It all begins rather eerily when a murder is announced as going to take place at Miss Blacklock’s home. An ad in the local paper serves to bring half the village to Miss Blacklock’s door at the advertised time for the murder, each with a different reason to be there. An attempt is made on Miss Blacklock’s life and of course Miss Marple is there to begin unravelling the mystery.
As with any good murder mystery there are a number of murders, and at one point I was concerned that Miss Marple might make it to the list of victims. But at the heart of this mystery is a tale of stolen identity. In fact, there were a lot of identities borrowed or stolen. Once you start working out who everyone really is then the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place.
One thing I am grateful for is that there has been some distance between me watching Joan Hickson as Miss Marple in the dramatisations of these novels. And for books that are so popular I think I have done well to be able to read these as if for the first time, with no idea of how it is going to turn out. Which I must say annoys me, just a little, because I do like to be able to predict the outcome of a book. But these are so good I don’t mind at all.
If you’ve never read one of Agatha Christie’s novels you need to give it a go and find out why they are so popular. I was worried that I would be disappointed, but they have more than exceeded my expectations. There have been a few nights where I should definitely have gone to bed earlier but I just needed to know what was going to happen next. Really I should make sure that I have enough time to read the whole thing in one go!
Next stop on the Agatha Christie binge is They do it with Mirrors. I’m guessing that I shouldn’t start reading it just before bed!