Naomi Alderman, Leigh Bardugo, Jean Kwok, Lucy Foley, Val McDermid, Ruth Ware, Alyssa Cole, Elly Griffiths, Natalie Haynes, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Mosse, Karen M. McManus- Marple: Twelve New Mysteries
Miss Marple is my favorite Christie character. I love the way she is underestimated over and over, and it's always funny to watch her turn things around on the people who wrote her off. Also, there is something cozy about them; I suppose it’s because she’s always knitting, working in her garden, or drinking tea. Around the murders.
Marple: Twelve New Mysteries
So, I was pretty excited to hear about a new set of Miss Marple stories written by contemporary mystery writers, and it did not disappoint. I usually don’t like it when new authors write my old favorite characters; I hardly read any Sherlock Holmes except for the original Doyle stories, for example. But I liked several of these authors, and I was curious to see what modern authors would do with the old-fashioned Marple.
I enjoyed reading the different takes from twelve different authors. If you like Miss Marple stories, you'll probably like this. The mysteries were good, and it was fun to revisit old characters. Her nephew shows up more than once, and Mrs. Bantry. We get to see Miss Marple react to New York City. She visits another place in America. St. Mary Mead is in some of the stories. I had a hard time working out the timeline on one; I think that it had Miss Marple indulging in international travel when she was about 110, but maybe I was doing the math wrong. In another, I think she was acting very out of character, but it was a good story. No spoilers.
With twelve different authors, there’s probably a story in here somewhere for any mystery lover.
Some of the stories ("Miss Marple’s Christmas" by Ruth Ware, "The Unravelling" by Natalie Haynes, and "The Murder at the Villa Rose" by Elly Griffiths) were read for BBC radio and are (as of this writing) about to expire, but they always bring things back, so watch for them later.
More Christie titles
I already mentioned the readings of a few of the stories in Marple on BBC Radio, but I also recently listened to 4:50 from Paddington. I would link, but it looks like it’s already gone. You just have to go to the site or the app from time to time and scroll around to see what’s up. The reader on that one was June Whitfield, from AbFab. (The link on her name goes to audio performances on the Internet Archive.) They have Christie stories on often.
Last year, I listened to two audiobooks narrated by Joan Hickson. I liked her as Miss Marple in the TV show, so I enjoyed listening to the books, but I found that listening to her accent for more than twenty minutes or so at a time started to bug me. Too much of a good thing. It's more fun in small doses. These were on Hoopla, a library digital service that you may be able to use for free, depending on where you have a library card. BTW, in case you don't know, if your library doesn't have it but another nearby one does, you may be able to get a card at the other library too. Worth checking out.
Here's a link to a Washington Post article about the character when the book came out.
I like the other Christie sleuths pretty well, but they don't have that chill-but-for-the-bodies village vibe. That Cabot Cove mood. Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher would've been awesome together.
Anyone have a favorite Marple story? Let us know in the comments.
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