Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Murder at the Vicarage

Information

GoodreadsMurder at the Vicarage
Series: Miss Marple #2
Age Category: Adult
Source: Library
Published: 1930

Summary

It’s no secret that the whole village seems to hate Colonel Protheroe. Still, no one expected him to turn up dead–and certainly not in the vicar’s study! The police start to work on solving the murder, but neighborhood busybody Miss Marple seems to have a keener understanding of human nature, and just might be the first to crack the case.

Star Divider

Review

The first full-length novel in which Agatha Christie’s famous Miss Marple appears is a real treat.  The vicar proves a delightful narrator, half astute observer of his own foibles and those of the people around him, and half hapless victim of a crime he cannot comprehend.  Though later Miss Marple mysteries arguably possess more twists and turns, I love Murder at the Vicarage for the way it is told.  The vicar–and everyone else–want to play at amateur sleuths.  But it turns out that nosy Miss Marple is the real detective!

There is something uniquely satisfying in watching an overlooked character triumph over not only the professionals, but also over every character who underestimates them. The villagers of St. Mary Mead dismiss Miss Marple as both an old maid and as an unworldly woman who can have neither the knowledge nor the experience to understand crime.  Miss Marple proves time and again, however, that she understands human nature–and not just of the people she has been able to observe for most of her life.  Her trademark is being able to draw parallels between village life and the rest of humanity–it turns out that people are much the same everywhere!  Outsiders might look down on St. Mary Mead, but Miss Marple understands that even a village has its passions, its loves, and betrayals, perhaps just on a smaller scale.

Murder at the Vicarage, however, feels fresh because it is told, not from Miss Marple’s perspective, but from that of the vicar. He seems a kind fellow, intellectual in his own way, but a bit bumbling when it comes to solving crime. He also seems half-afraid of women, as if he is not quite sure what to do with them, so he leaves them to be entertained by his charming young wife Griselda. Miss Marple, shrewd and keen, is quite out of his league! But one must give the vicar credit. He recognizes Miss Marple’s gifts and certainly would love to see her outwit the arrogant policeman assigned to the case. His little witty observations about the people of St. Mary Mead are quite the gift to the read, if perhaps not entirely holy.

Murder at the Vicarage is a wonderful foray into the world of Miss Marple! And just the first of many Miss Marple mysteries I intend to enjoy!

4 stars

15 thoughts on “Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

    • Krysta says:

      That’s so annoying they’re not available at your library! I really have enjoyed them so far. But I suppose you could always start just with one or two of the more popular ones and go from there. That’s how I started with Christie! I think I read Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None as some of my first since they’re well-known.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Zoë (zbestbooks.blogspot.com) says:

    I love Agatha Christie books, but haven’t read this one yet! I did visit Agatha Christie’s holiday house which is not far from where I live and a National Trust property. I got to see her bedroom and clothes etc, it was a beautiful day out, if a little creepy at times because they played a recording of her voice in her room! Recommend if you’re ever in England!

    This definitely made me want to read this one!!

    Zoë
    (zbestbooks.blogspot.com)

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    • Krysta says:

      I’ve only read a few of her books over the years, but I’m trying now to be serious about getting through at least the Miss Marple mysteries! I’ve really loved them so far. It would be so, so cool to see her holiday house and everything! I didn’t realize you could do that, so I must put it on my bucket list!

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      • Zoë (zbestbooks.blogspot.com) says:

        I just read whichever books I find of hers in book boxes/little free libraries around where I live. There are always so many! Hope you get to tick it off one day, well worth it! I think a literary roadtrip around the UK is the answer. I have also been to the Jane Austen Museum which is not too far from me, but my biggest literary bucket list item is definitely to visit the Bronte Parsonage. Unfortunately it is very far away from where I live!

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        • Krysta says:

          That makes sense! All the books say on the back that she’s up there with Shakespeare and the Bible in terms of publishing count, so I imagine there are many of her books floating about!

          I would LOVE to do a literary road trip! That sounds like so much fun! I haven’t looked into getting to the Bronte Parsonage, but I suppose I always imagined from their books that the place is somewhat isolated, lol. I wonder how much has grown up around it and how much the town has stayed the same for tourists….

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          • Zoë (zbestbooks.blogspot.com) says:

            Oh wow! I also think that a lot of people don’t reread them because they know what happens?!

            The Bronte Parsonage is up in Yorkshire and I live in the South West of England so it’s a fair way! Yes, very isolated but beautiful moors and the scenery must be stunning – probably similar to the moors near me! I have wondered about whether it’s even worth visiting because of how much it has potentially changed or become a tourist attraction….I do really want to go though just to see the artefacts and I guess to imagine them there and feel closer to them, is that weird?!?!

            Anyway, yes a literary road trip does sound like such a wonderful thing to do!

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            • Krysta says:

              I guess so? For me, if there are other interesting things happening in the mystery, I will reread them. I’ve read Chesterton’s first Father Brown collection at least three times and usually reread Sherlock Holmes. If the characterization is good or the prose is engaging or the mystery is clever, I’ll read it even if I know the ending. Though I don’t know how common this is. I was talking to someone about how we’d both seen the new movie adaptation of Death on the Nile and I’d gotten the audiobook because I enjoyed it, and they definitely just blurted out, “But you already know the ending!!” Haha.

              Yes, I can totally see going somewhere to be close to an author or historical figure! I don’t know why, but seeing where they lived and what they owned can be such a powerful experience, like you are getting a little glimpse of what made them… them!

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              • Zoe (zbestbooks.blogspot.com) says:

                That makes sense, it’s also interesting to have a new take on a story every time you read it. I am yet to reread an Agatha Christie book though. I actually used to reread all the time but I seem to do it less and less now for some reason!

                Yes, visiting author’s houses or birthplaces is such a beautiful experience, and it’s exactly that, finding out a part of what made them and finding some of the settings for their books, or at least the inspirations!

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Katie | Doing Dewey (@DoingDewey) says:

    The Poirot TV shows recently got me through a tough time and its made me really want to revisit Agatha Christie’s books. They’re so charming and cozy! I enjoyed revisiting this one vicariously through your review, especially because Miss Marple being underestimated is also one of my favorite parts of these stories.

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    • Krysta says:

      I think I’m going to have to read the Poirot books when I’ve finished Miss Marple! I’m listening to Kenneth Branagh’s audiobook of Death on the Nile right now and Poirot is so charming! I don’t know why, but pop culture always made me think Poirot was fussy and conceited and no fun to read. But the way Branagh reads him, he may be somewhat fussy and conceited, but he also seems really nice! Like you’d want to have a chat with him over coffee or tea.

      Like

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