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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Published in 1950, this is one of my favourite Miss Marple mysteries. It is set in the small village of Chipping Cleghorn, which is not unlike St Mary Mead, with its cast of local characters and, of course, a local newspaper – which is delivered every Friday. On Friday, October 29th, the paper is perused by the villagers, who discover an odd message in the Personal column: “A Murder is Announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th at Little Paddocks at 6:30pm. Friends please accept this the only intimation.”

Of course, Miss Letitia Blacklock, of Little Paddocks, who lives with her old friend, Dora Bunner, young cousins Patrick and Julia, war widow Philippa Haymes and a volatile European refugee cook, named Mitzi, has no choice but to act as hostess to the gathering of local villagers who ‘drop by’ to see what will happen. What actually does happen is murder, when a young man holds up the room at the appointed time, and the stage is set for a wonderfully convoluted plot, involving the will of a wealthy financial, a great cast of possible suspects and some romance.

The crime is investigated by Detective Inspector Dermot Craddock, who turns out to be the godson of Sir Henry Clithering, the ex-commissioner of Scotland Yard, who is a great believer in the powers of Miss Marple. When she turns out to be staying at the very hotel where the young man, who incongruously appeared at Little Paddocks, worked. By chance, she knows Bunch Harmon, one of the locals who turned up at Miss Blacklock’s, so she immediately re-locates to Chipping Cleghorn, in order to aid the investigation.

One of the most notable things about this mystery is not only the classic Christie setting, and characters, but the fact that the author makes much use of the changing world after WWII. Whereas before, Miss Marple bemoans, you knew who everybody was and where they came from, now people are displaced, move away and you take them at face value. With people bringing back guns from their time in the army as souvenirs, not locking doors and allowing neighbours access to their homes and having to accept people are who they say they are, this allows Christie freedom to really enjoy herself with red herrings, identities and clues. A thoroughly enjoyable mystery, with Miss Marple highly involved in the action.
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on 4 May 2017
I just LOVE all of the Miss Marple books/CDs/DVDs. This is one of my favourites, with such a great plot with super characters.
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on 30 June 2017
Exactly as described, speedy delivery and great experience.
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on 2 May 2017
Classic Agatha Christie. It was good to read the book after having seen the TV adaptations. A good holiday read
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on 1 June 2015
This book is classic Christie. It is also hysterical fun. When a presumed party themed dinner is set up and mysteriously announced in the local press, a fun time is expected to be had by those who are brave enough to attend. ’A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED’ the advertisement bravely cries out for all who care enough to read it. True enough, a stranger appears at the scene, with torch in hand. The household lights are cut and two shots are fired off in the darkness. Manic screaming comes from one of the people present, and when the lights are returned, we have a dead body. But whose is it? And whodunit?

I certainly shan’t be spoiling the surprise by revealing any information here. I will say, however, that the book’s characters are all beautifully drawn, and perfectly cast in the story’s era. Some of the quotes taken from the book are literary gems, and some are showing their age, too. Of course the heroine of the story enters from stage left at chapter eight, and the baddies are doomed from that point on.

It is no surprise that these delightful time capsules known as Agatha Christie novels are all still in world wide print decades after they were first published. For anyone who loves a good mystery (and who doesn’t?), or for anyone who has an interest in the history of English culture, these books are a must. Even for anyone who likes a but of fun in their reading, and aren’t known as whodunit buffs, these books can’t come highly recommended enough.

Full marks for this truly fantastic read.

I am off to the bookshop to order some more! A purchase is announced!

BFN Greggorio!
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'A Murder in Announced' is a Miss Marple murder mystery published in 1950, a bit inaccurately, as Agatha Christie's 50th book. The fifth Marple book is set in the village of Chipping Cleghorn where, one Friday morning, a murder announcement appears in the paper- but it hasn't happened yet! The time (6.30) and address (Little Paddocks) are given. Letitia Blacklock's friends turn up at the house to see what will happen - and, sure enough, at 6.30 the lights go out, there is torchlight and shouting and shots are heard. Miss Blacklock is bleeding and the gunman lies dead on the floor. Dora Bunner lives with her old friend Letitia at Little Paddocks. She recognises the gunman as a receptionist at a local hotel. Inspector Craddock does not know what to make of it, but fortunately Miss Marple is staying nearby and they work together...
There can be few people who don't know the basic plot of this book because it has been dramatized (and repeated) on television so many times. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading as one of Agatha Christie's finest. The usual brilliant and suspenseful plotting keeps us on our toes, with plenty of surprises, twists and turns. Christie was a keen observer of human nature and presents us with some interesting characters. Her prose is adequate - she isn't the talented prose writer that her fellow greats of the Golden Age were - Dorothy L Sayers, Marjorie Allingham and Ngaio Marsh - but her ingenuity is unrivalled. The murderer turns out to be a pretty complex character and one can either decide that Agatha Christie is one shrewd dude about human psychology or take the more cynical view that she followed her frequent practice of writing most of the book, deciding who would be the most surprising killer and then rewriting enough of the story and dropping enough clues into the mix to incriminate that person!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 October 2014
A Murder in Announced' is a Miss Marple murder mystery published in 1950; a bit inaccurately, it is claimed to be Agatha Christie's 50th book. This fifth Marple book is set in the village of Chipping Cleghorn where, one Friday morning, a murder announcement appears in the paper- but it hasn't happened yet! The time (6.30) and address (Little Paddocks) are given. Letitia Blacklock's friends turn up at the house to see what will happen - and, sure enough, at 6.30 the lights go out, there is torchlight and shouting and shots are heard. Miss Blacklock is bleeding and the gunman lies dead on the floor. Dora Bunner lives with her old friend Letitia at Little Paddocks. She recognises the gunman as a receptionist at a local hotel. Inspector Craddock does not know what to make of it, but fortunately Miss Marple is staying nearby and they work together...
There can be few people who don't know the basic plot of this book because it has been dramatized (and repeated) on television so many times. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading as one of Agatha Christie's finest. The usual brilliant and suspenseful plotting keeps us on our toes, with plenty of surprises, twists and turns. Christie was a keen observer of human nature and presents us with some interesting characters. Her prose is adequate - she isn't the talented prose writer that her fellow greats of the Golden Age were - Dorothy L Sayers, Marjorie Allingham and Ngaio Marsh - but her ingenuity is unrivalled. The murderer turns out to be a pretty complex character and one can either decide that Agatha Christie is one shrewd dude about human psychology or take the more cynical view that she followed her frequent practice of writing most of the book, deciding who would be the most surprising killer and then rewriting enough of the story and dropping enough clues into the mix to incriminate that person!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 October 2014
A Murder in Announced' is a Miss Marple murder mystery published in 1950; a bit inaccurately, it is claimed to be Agatha Christie's 50th book. This fifth Marple book is set in the village of Chipping Cleghorn where, one Friday morning, a murder announcement appears in the paper- but it hasn't happened yet! The time (6.30) and address (Little Paddocks) are given. Letitia Blacklock's friends turn up at the house to see what will happen - and, sure enough, at 6.30 the lights go out, there is torchlight and shouting and shots are heard. Miss Blacklock is bleeding and the gunman lies dead on the floor. Dora Bunner lives with her old friend Letitia at Little Paddocks. She recognises the gunman as a receptionist at a local hotel. Inspector Craddock does not know what to make of it, but fortunately Miss Marple is staying nearby and they work together...
There can be few people who don't know the basic plot of this book because it has been dramatized (and repeated) on television so many times. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading as one of Agatha Christie's finest. The usual brilliant and suspenseful plotting keeps us on our toes, with plenty of surprises, twists and turns. Christie was a keen observer of human nature and presents us with some interesting characters. Her prose is adequate - she isn't the talented prose writer that her fellow greats of the Golden Age were - Dorothy L Sayers, Marjorie Allingham and Ngaio Marsh - but her ingenuity is unrivalled. The murderer turns out to be a pretty complex character and one can either decide that Agatha Christie is one shrewd dude about human psychology or take the more cynical view that she followed her frequent practice of writing most of the book, deciding who would be the most surprising killer and then rewriting enough of the story and dropping enough clues into the mix to incriminate that person!
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Locals are inclined to think it is a joke when they see a murder announced at the personal column of their local paper. Naturally they all decide to turn up at the address shown at the right time to see what happens. When a murder - or possibly suicide - does actually take place they are all horrified. Miss Marple is fortunately staying at the hotel where the victim worked and has soon accepted an invitation to stay with the vicar and his wife for the duration of the police investigation.

This is a fascinating mystery with many secrets and many people not being exactly what they seem to be. Trying to piece together all the strands of information will keep most readers guessing. I didn't work out who was the murderer until they were actually revealed. I thought all the characters were very well drawn and convincing and the clues and red herrings were well scattered around. Miss Marple played much more of a part in this story than she does in some. I liked the police characters in this story especially Inspector Craddock who seemed very calm but also very intelligent and observant.

I read most of Agatha Christie's novels back in the 1960s and 1970s and reading them again decades later I am finding they have stood the test of time extremely well. If you want crime novels with excellent characters and brilliant plotting then you cannot beat Agatha Christie.
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on 18 June 2009
Another excellent book in the Marple Canon, this one adds to the mystery throughout, throwing out a variety of clues hither and thither, some of which I spotted, and others not. I think I'm improving, and my feeling is that the third-person narrative helps to get more of an overview of the case than the first-person perspective in the previous novel.

Miss Marple is introduced reasonably early in the proceedings, albeit via a rather convoluted route of coincidence, once again seemingly dropped in solely for the purpose of solving the mystery. On the other hand, to have every murder happen in the same village (as in Midsomer), would perhaps lead to doubt about the solutions of each case, and indeed shed a light of suspicion on Miss Marple herself.

There are plenty of suspects who could have easily had a motive to commit the murder - if anything, there are too many. Despite getting close at times, I still failed to spot the clues that pointed to the real killer.
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