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This Miss Marple novel is set in St Mary Mead, but it is a village that has seen changes. Miss Marple’s old friend, Dolly Bantry, has sold Gossington Hall and moved into the East Lodge, while ‘the Development’ – a new housing estate, encroaches on the very outskirts of the village. There is even a supermarket, which is viewed with suspicion by elderly ladies, who enjoy shopping as a form of social interaction and are not necessarily in a rush to hurl items into a basket. Miss Marple is more elderly in this novel and has a ‘daily’ in young Cherry Baker, from the ‘Development,’ and has the bossy Miss Knight staying in the house as she has been unwell. Although Miss Marple knows that Miss Knight is meant as a kindness by her ever supportive nephew, Raymond West, she bristles under her attentions and is always finding errands to send her on to regain her freedom.

One day, having slipped away from Miss Knight’s careful ministrations, she ventures into the Development and has fall, being gathered up and taken in by the voluble Heather Badcock. Mrs Badcock tells her a long story about when she met the movie actress, Marine Gregg, who is now living at Gossington Hall. The story revolves around an escapade when she was younger and left her sick bed to go to a fete where Miss Gregg was presiding in order to get her autograph. She tells this story again some days later to Miss Gregg herself at another fete, this time at Gossington Hall. To everyone’s surprise, shortly after meeting Miss Gregg, Heather Badcock collapses and dies. Mrs Bantry is quick to inform Miss Marple, telling her that, while she unfolded her story, Marina Gregg looked frozen in shock – much like the Lady of Shalott…

It is obvious that Miss Marple needs an interest and so she is keen to learn all she can about the murder; even going as far as gathering up an armful of gossipy film magazines from the hairdresser. When her godson, Dermot Craddock, arrives to investigate, he keeps her informed and it is, of course, Miss Marple who untangles the mystery. For who should murder a perfectly innocent, well meaning, if somewhat nosy, middle-aged woman? Was the real victim meant to be Marina Gregg and, if so, is she in danger? This is a really enjoyable mystery. There is an excellent cast of characters, including the glamorous Marina Gregg, who both takes to her bed and has hysterics with enjoyable frequency. You feel that Agatha Christie really enjoyed writing this and she combines the changing, more modern landscape (this was published in 1962) with the traditional, village mystery, very cleverly.
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on 12 July 1998
This Christie mystery is really more simple and pleasant than some. The motive to the murder was legitimate and you feel almost sympathy with the murderer. The conclusion is summed up in a few words--nothing too complicated like One, Two, Buckle My Shoe or others. And you needn't feel confused or tied up in a tangle of evidence and clues--those are few and far between.
If you are a fan of the sinister or like your mysteries dark and complicated, this simply isn't your cup of tea. I have to admit, although I don't always like the simple, pleasant mysteries, that Christie knew what she was doing. Can you see Miss Marple chasing after a serial killer across continents wielding an assault rifle and going down in hand-to-hand combat? No, never. So Christie was wise and keeps her characters in their natural habitats doing realistic things. That way she knew her mysteries and her detectives would receive respect and credulity--quite important for the success of her books.
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on 30 January 2017
This murder story is set in a before world war2 England and starts with sudden death of a heathy and happy young lady at a drinks party at the home of a famous film actress. MissMarple lives nearby and solves the case, but not before the death of two more members of the establishment.
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on 2 April 2017
This classic mystery sees Miss Marple taking a little more of a back seat than is usual, facing struggles with advancing age and the changes that the more modern world is bringing along with it, yet ultimately solving the mystery admirably way ahead of Scotland Yard and showing that she is as sharp as she ever was. Full of red herrings, yet a simple plot superbly drawn.
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on 25 June 2009
This one has the return to Miss Marple's home of St Mary Mead that I've been desperately craving. The contrived ways she has become involved in some of her cases was getting on my nerves, and I'd much rather the murders came to her! Marple is now fairly housebound, and so a lot of the action is seem from the other characters' points of view, with them reporting in every so often.

It's nice to see Marple ageing as the series progresses, even though she has always been elderly. I'm quite surprised that she manages to hang on for the remaining four novels!

This one again had the murder occur at a large mansion, but this time the extended family were not involved. Well... in a sense they were, but not in the same way as the recent novels. The murder has the exciting twist of not even knowing who is the victim, as well as the perpetrator, which added to the mystery.

The ending however did leave a few more questions than answers, and in that sense was a little disappointing. The murdered was someone I had never suspected - but my lack of a certain piece of historical medical knowledge meant that there was no way I could have picked up on the clues.

All in all, it showed some promise, but the conclusion was a little too convoluted.
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Gossington Hall - where the body was discovered in the library in a previous Miss Marple story - is now the home of film star Marina Gregg. When she opens the newly refurbished house for a local fete the villagers are curious to see how the house looks now.

One of the locals is poisoned at the reception Marina Gregg holds for the local pillars of the community and it seems clear to many that the film star herself could have been the intended target. Miss Marple has to rely on the excellent testimony of her friend Mrs Bantry as she was not present at the time.

The death results in Scotland Yard being called in to investigate and Miss Marple is one of the first people that Desmond Craddock consults. In this story we see Miss Marple in another guise. She is getting older and her nephew has paid for the annoying Miss Knight to keep her company. But Miss Marple does not react very well to having her freedom curtailed however well meaning the intention. It seems at one point that the next murder might be committed by Miss Marple herself.

This is a well constructed plot and the clues are there for the observant reader. I felt there were many tragic elements to the story and the motivations are well drawn as are the characters. If you want crime novels in the classic mould then there is no one better than Agatha Christie in my opinion.
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on 28 June 1998
This book is extremely readable, and, while the case itself is not one of Agatha Christie's most complex, the denouement is definately a shock and Miss Marple is delightful all the way through. The characters in this novel are not typical of the Miss Marple books: Marina Gregg, a famous film actress, is the most luminous character, hardly a likely addition to St Mary Mead. This novel can also be seen as an interesting social document, for we are informed of all the changes to which the village has been subjected in the 1960s, including "the development". However, the Marple atmosphere is retained almost intact, and the novel does not disappoint. The ending is interesting and unusual, too, though the reader would not be advised to attempt to work it out for himself, as clues are not in abundance. Not quite classic Christie, though as enjoyable as always.
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on 20 October 2012
Here we are treated to an insight into the world of the pampered rich within the world of film. A famous actress comes to the village of St Mary Mead and sets the folk of this tiny hamlet agogg with excitment. Everyone is invited to The Hall for a garden fete hosted by none other than the famous actress of the screen, Marina Gregg. However it is not long before murder raises its ugly head and the folk up at the Hall are thrown into turmoil as one of the villagers collapses and dies. Is it from natural causes? Of course not and it takes the willy witt and enquiring mind of the intrepid Jane Marple to gently steer her nephew, Detective Inspector Craddock in the right direction. Fabulous!! Red herrings abound here and we see Ms Marple at her gossiping best as she uncovers the truth. Agatha at her best!
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on 19 March 2013
I've read this book a number of times and enjoyed it. In this story it is obvious that Miss Marple is getting on in years and times have changed by mentions of the Development and the live in help Miss Knight. However, it doesn't stop Miss Marple getting involved when a local woman is murdered at a St John's Ambulance fund raiser hosted by an international celebrity who has recently bought Gossington Hall, Colonel and Dolly Bantry's old mansion.

Everybody thinks the wrong person was killed and it should've been the host. Well have no fear, with Miss Marple's knowledge of St Mary Mead and human nature combined, it isn't long before all becomes apparent. Good book with plenty of secrets in the old cupboard. Would recommend.
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on 1 December 2000
Agatha Christie has really done her best with this juicy murder. As well as the usual hair raising stuff, shehas also added a bit of film glamour to this Miss Marple. Briefly,the story goes like this;at the 'getting to know the neidhbourhood' party, a woman dies through poison in her drink. Anyone can be responsible, but only Miss Marple can solve it. This is one of my favourite Agatha Christie ever.(I'm sure it will be yours)
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