A Miss Marple medley

I'm a bit of a fan of Agatha Christie's short stories. In general I don't think they're as good as her novels, but many of them are early trials for what will develop into a novel, and some are much less formulaic than many of her novels, and show a different side of Christie.

Her short story collection Miss Marple's final cases, published in the UK in 1978 contains 6 Miss Marple mysteries + 2 other stories, many previously unpublished in the UK. They cover a wide timespan with some being written in Christie's hayday of the 1930s, with others coming from the '50s and '60s. Although none of the stories are particularly stunning they're an interesting collection. The 1930's tale The case of the caretaker is an early stab at what will become Endless Night, which wasn't written until the 1960s.

The other Miss Marple tales : Sanctuary, Strange jest, Tape-measure murder, The case of the perfect maid and Miss Marple tells a story are all great tales - if not particularly brilliant. I very much enjoyed the two non-Marple tales though which were most unusual.

The dressmaker's doll is a truly creepy tale worthy of any light horror anthology, and all the creepier for its understatedness, while I'm sure that In a glass darkly was the inspiration for one of the central tales (The haunted mirror) in one of my favourite horror movies Dead of Night. Both stories are very un-Christie like and are completely brilliant.

For a light read and to see a rather more unusual side to Agatha Christie these tales are highly recommended.


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