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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 16 August 2008
I picked up this book to read because I had recently seen the ITV adaptation of MARPLE (2008). I knew Miss Marple was not in the book, so wanted to see how true to the book they had been.

Agatha Christie is a competent story teller who weaves the criminal with the ordinary everyday descriptions of places, buildings, areas and people. She does not fail here. The set up for what appears to be a very cut and dry case of murder by person or persons unknown starts from the very beginning.

The introduction of Mr Treves and his tale of a previous case immediately has the reader on edge. This tale is repeated later to reiterate some point, when Mr Treves takes an invitation for dinner at Gull's Point, the setting for the murder. All gathered at Gull's Point have a connection there from the past and the present, through marriage and family.

Once the murder has been committed, the appearance of Superintendent Battle leads us to follow him as the clues are discovered and the anomalies that he cannot put his finger on lead us all towards `zero hour' - when we discover with the other guests and residents of Gull's Point the real perpetrator of the crime and the motive.

Not having read any other Agatha Christie's with Superintendent Battle in, I sensed I was missing some of his back story but this was a mere oversight on my point. I will endeavour to rectify this.

In comparison to the television version, the character Mr MacWhirter has been taken out to enable to slot in Miss Marple's role. This character was an odd diversion within the book, another story completely alien. However as the story progressed, MacWhirter had his own motive for being in the area, his presence is then justified. The TV adaptation stuck true to the characters of Kay Strange, Mary Aldin and Ted Latimer and with some poetic licence there were some slight adjustments to the endings, but in the main I found it was fairly true to the book as it could be when slotting in another one of Christie's infamous detectives, Miss Marple. The book uses the insider knowledge of Hercule Poirot as a reference marker.

If I had read the book first then watched the programme I may have found it was an insult to what is a very good book. Nonetheless I enjoyed both 'versions' but for me the book (and any book) will always outshine any TV/Film adaptation of it.
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