January 14, 2016

Book Review || The Murder at the Vicarage

The Murder at the Vicarage
Miss Marple #1
Agatha Christie

Originally Published: 1930
My edition: 2002 Signature Collection edition

HarperCollins, mass market pbk, 380p., b&w ill.
ISBN: 0007120850

"Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,' declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, 'would be doing the world at large a favour!"

It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth to make.  And one which was to come back to haunt him a few hours later - when the Colonel is found dead, shot through the head in the clergyman's study. . .

Well, to be brutally honest, I enjoyed the adaptations more.  I disliked seeing the world, both the village of St. Mary Mead, and it's inhabitants, through the eyes of a rather dour, insecure, and fuddy-duddy character like Len Clements.  He is not a very likable character (to me), and I just found it to be a rather tedious book to slog through.  What should have taken a few hours was stretched to nearly 2 weeks!

In regards to other characters, I do love Miss Marple.  She can do no wrong, and whatever the format, I adore her.  However, most of the remaining characters were unlikable enough that if I wasn't a fan of the adaptations (and knew what happens), then I would have a whole host of characters to throw under the proverbial bus as suspects.

A special mention must be given to Lettice Protheroe, who was just as annoying as portrayed in the adaptations, not to mention Inspector Slack, who I found extremely arrogant, and who is exactly who was needed as a contrast to the seemingly incompetent Miss Marple. 

The murder/mystery aspect of it was rather good.  It doesn't help that I already know who did it, but the book was different enough from the adapations that I wasn't bored.  Some of the characters seemed superfluous, but I suspect that they are there mainly as potential suspects.  The addition of Raymond West, Miss Marple's nephew, was unexpected - he isn't in the adapations - so I was pleasantly surprised . . . until he opened his mouth.  Bit of a bummer that.

So while I did not have the reading experience I was hoping for, I am glad I picked up this book.  Could have been a 5 star read, if only it was from Miss Marples POV.

That's all for my quick review of The Murder at the Vicarage.  Let me know if you agreed with me, or if you loved - or hated - the book, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.

Until next time,

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