Today I am sharing my thoughts on Marple: Twelve New Stories, a brand new collection of short stories by some of the best writers in contemporary crime writing. My thanks to publisher HarperCollins for the advance copy. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.
This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
· Naomi Alderman
· Leigh Bardugo
· Alyssa Cole
· Lucy Foley
· Elly Griffiths
· Natalie Haynes
· Jean Kwok
· Val McDermid
· Karen M. McManus
· Dreda Say Mitchell
· Kate Mosse
· Ruth Ware
Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.
Okay – confession time. I’ve never read any Miss Marple books before. In fact, I’m fairly certain I haven’t actually read any Agatha Christie before. I own loads – just never read ‘em. I know. Shocking, right? I’ve watched the TV adaptations of Marple and Poirot, and some of the film versions too (and in spite of my limited knowledge I would categorically state that Joan Hickson WAS Miss Marple personified – the rest are simply poor imitations), but I’ve never quite factored in the reading part of Christie appreciation. Marple, a collection of twelve Miss Marple short stories reimagined by some of the best known female crime authors of the present day, seemed like a very good place to acquaint myself with the character in a literary sense.
If you are a fan of the character, I’d say you will really enjoy this collection. There were just so many of the various nuances of Miss Marple’s character that rang through in every single story – the straight forward deductive reasoning, the very steady and unshod way in which she explains how she came to identify a killer or two, and the sharp and astute mind that we would all associate with Jane Marple. With stories set everywhere from her beloved St Mary Mead, a cruise to the Far-East, the Theatre District of New York City (sort of) and even Cape Cod, readers are treated to a variety of stories that entertain whilst all the while getting the old cogs whirring.
There are perhaps a few surprises in store as well, as Miss Marple navigates some of these complicated mysteries, not least of which comes when a friend ask for help in locating some missing jewels in The Disappearance by Leigh Bardugo, or her niece finds herself witness to a very perplexing murder The Murdering Sort by Karen M McManus. I particularly liked Elly Griffiths’ story, Murder At the Vila Rosa, which really doesn’t go where I was expecting but which kept me thoroughly amused. Miss Marple Takes Manhattan sees her Nephew Raymond West set to have one of his plays make an off (off off) Broadway debut and Val McDErmid even manages to orchestrate a Second Murder at the Vicarage.
Brilliant stories and a great way to while away a lunch break. For me it was a great intro to Miss Marple and I absolutely will delve into a Christie classic very, very soon.