Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: The Moving Finger

Poison pen letters spread throughout an English village, upsetting recipients, and leading to a suicide. The village is full of quirky characters, any one of whom might be responsible for the anonymous missives. Ultimately the mystery will be solved by one of the villagers' acquaintances, none other than Miss Jane Marple.

This was my first Miss Marple mystery, and I was surprised at how small a presence Miss Marple actually was in the story. She didn't appear until more than halfway through the book, and then remained in the background, sort of like the furniture. Yes, she does ultimately solve the mystery, but she's hardly a character of much consequence. It appears that The Moving Finger is one of the earlier Miss Marple mysteries, and perhaps the character was not yet well-developed. As this was my first Miss Marple I don't really have another novel for comparison.

The story is told by an injured pilot, who has moved to the countryside to recover. As he meets the various villagers, especially the women, there's an added element of romance, but as with all of Christie's work, the mystery remains the heart of the book. This is not one of Christie's more remarkable works, but it is certainly solid, and kept me riveted to the end.

Agatha Christie, The Moving Finger (Black Dog and Leventhal, 2007) ISBN: 1579126944

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