The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha ChristieWhat’s a clergyman to do when murder is committed in his home? Start investigating, that’s what, especially when Miss Marple lives next door. Leonard Clement is the vicar in St. Mary Mead, a small English village. He’s also the narrator of The Murder at the Vicarage, the first full length novel to feature Agatha’s Christie’s elderly sleuth Miss Jane Marple. When Colonel Protheroe is murdered in Clement’s study, the difficulty is not in finding a suspect, but in sorting through all the people who wanted him dead–including the vicar himself!

This cozy whodunnit is sure to please fans of the genre, though it was not my favorite of the three Agatha Christie novels I read this year. None of the characters in The Murder at the Vicarage interested me as much as Lucy Eyelesbarrow in 4:50 from Paddington or Anne Bedingfield from The Man in the Brown SuitStill, any Agatha Christie is top-notch storytelling, and The Murder at the Vicarage is certainly worth a read, if for no other reason then to see Miss Marple at work in her first novel.

Miss Marple appeared first in the 1927 short story “The Tuesday Night Club,” and was Christie’s attempt to give old maids some prominence in fiction. Interestingly, in both Miss Marple books I read this year, her character is secondary to others. In The Murder at the Vicarage, the vicar who tells the story is the most prominent character, and in 4:50 from Paddington it is Lucy Eyelsbarrow who takes center stage for most of the story. I’m not sure this is true of all the Miss Marple books, but it is something I will be paying attention to in future stories in the series.

With the completion of The Murder at the Vicarage, I have finished my eBook challenge for the year, having reached the Megabyte level of reading 25 books on the Kindle.

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
First edition London: Collins Crime Club, 1930
Kindle edition London: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2009
Print length: 305 pages

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

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