3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
'Sleeping Murder' is Miss Marple's last case and was published in 1976. It was to be the last Agatha Christie novel and was published after her death, although actually it wasn't the last Miss Marple book she wrote. It is set in the 1930s, and written during World War 2 and in it Jane Marple helps a young couple who insist on not letting sleeping murder lie.
In this book, newlywed Gwenda Reed looks for a home for her husband and herself. She buys Hillside, an old house on the south coast, because it feels like home to her. She stays in a room that used to be the nursery while the house is being renovated. She has an idea for wallpaper for the little nursery; when the workmen open up a hidden and long-sealed door which she had been sure must be there, the room beyond is papered in the very pattern she imagined. She goes to London to visit her relatives, Raymond West and his aunt, Miss Jane Marple. They go to the theatre and see 'The Duchess of Malfi' and at the words "Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young", Gwenda screams as she seems to see herself watching a man saying those very words as he strangles a blonde woman called Helen. Miss Marple soon realises that these things are not delusions but memories...
This book examines two interesting ideas. One is how far we are influenced by our childhood impressions and the other is whether it is always wise to know the whole truth. Sometimes, Miss Marple tells Gwenda, it is better to let sleeping dogs lie.
This book has all Agatha Christie's usual strengths - detailed and clever plotting with plenty of surprises, good characterisation and shrewd insight into human motives. These are the things that put her among the Big Four of the golden age of detective fiction, along with Dorothy L Sayers, Marjorie Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. All, in my opinion, were better writers that her in terms of style, but none had quite her ingenuity and only Marsh could begin to rival her prolific output. This is one of the better Agatha Christie novels, concisely written and quite powerfully suspenseful.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2000
I expected the pace to be slow as it is a Miss Marple story. I started the book at midnight, thinking of getting through the heavy first few chapters, but ended up finishing the whole book at a go!
Miss Marple tackles a murder that has went undetected for 18 years. There are seemingly no clues whatsoever and no indications that a murder was committed. Only the memory of the eye-witness (who was three when she saw, and subsequently forgot about it) to rely on, Miss Marple finally expertly uncovered the sickening truth, but that was after yet another murder was committed to protect the killer's identity during the process...
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2013
Read this loads of times and enjoy it on every occasion. This is about a woman called Gwenda originally from New Zealand who buys a house and starts to experience funny incidences regarding the house. When Gwenda goes to a play and reacts to some of the words she thinks she is going mad. Whilst at this play she is accompanied by Miss Marple who witnesses the whole episode and talks to Gwenda into finding out wheather she's actually been to England before when she was a little girl rather than rushing off to a psychiatrist. Having found out from a relative that she has indeed been to England before a whole can of worms is opened and we are taken on an excursion of family secrets that were thought to have been buried long ago.
Very good book and would recommend.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Gwenda and Giles Reed have bought a house in a small village on the South coast of England. Gwenda keeps seeing a body lying in the hall with the murderer standing over it and quoting from Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. Is there a ghost or is she experiencing flashbacks?
Could she have lived in the house as a child? Gwenda meets Miss Marple through the novelist Raymond West and she advices Gwenda to leave well alone and not try and find out what happened. But Gwenda and Giles are curious and decide to see what they can find out.
Naturally Miss Marple cannot resist an opportunity to solve a mystery and she persuades her doctor to recommend a few weeks by the sea. What follows is an intriguing mystery in which no one's reputation is safe and family secrets and lies are uncovered. It is well written and the plot is excellently done with plenty of suspects and clues for the discerning reader to sift through.
There are few authors who can match Agatha Christie with her complex and believable plots and characters and this story stands the test of time extremely well. An enjoyable and entertaining read for those who like their mysteries in the classic mould.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2014
Not perhaps one of Agatha Christie's best known Marple mysteries but it is one of my favourites. When Gwenda moves into her new home with her husband, she begins to get the unsettling feeling that she has been there before. But how can she, when Gwenda spent her entire childhood abroad? Marple is such a subtle creation and she points out to the young and eager couple that maybe it is not always wise to dig up the past. A fiendishly clever book that resolves itself perfectly. Would highly recommend.