Goodreads: A Caribbean Mystery
Series: Miss Marple #10
Age Category: Adult
While vacationing in St Honoré, Miss Marple learns of the death of a fellow guest. The authorities assume it was Major Palgrave’s health that gave out, but was Palgrave actually ill? What was it he was saying to her just the night before? Miss Marple tests her wits once again as she tries to uncover who wanted the Major dead, and why.
A Caribbean Mystery adds a bit of novelty to the Miss Marple series by moving the amateur detective from her home turf of the village of St. Mary Mead to a tropical island. However, human nature, according to Miss Marple, is much the same everywhere. So when a guest at her hotel dies overnight, Miss Marple’s mind begins working. The authorities believe the death was natural, but Miss Marple believe something is wrong. Watching Miss Marple baffle the local police force is always rewarding, though, in this case, the culprit is unusually obvious from the start, making A Caribbean Mystery a bit more lackluster than other books in the series.
The fun of reading a Miss Marple mystery is, of course, that everyone overlooks Miss Marple because she is an elderly woman and they thus believe that 1) she is none too bright and 2) her gentle mind could never conceive of such shocking things as murder. The joke, of course, is that Miss Marple’s age is precisely what gives her the edge she needs. She has experience. She knows people. And she knows how the world works. Yes, some things change, and Miss Marple might lament the passing of old traditions, but human nature remains the same. And Miss Marple’s mind is as keen as ever.
Unfortunately, in A Caribbean Mystery I did not particularly feel like I needed Miss Marple’s keen mind. Though it feels gratifying to solve a mystery, often the best mysteries are the ones I could not figure out, but that seem inevitable once the solution is revealed. In this book, however, I knew who the murderer was right away. The rest of the book was just Miss Marple trying to figure it out, and I was baffled that she seemed so much less certain than herself than usual. One recurring theme through the series is that Miss Marple is pretty sure who it is, but wants further proof or to catch them in the act. Here, she does not seem to fully consider the true culprit until it is almost too late. Considering the nature of the crime she is trying to prevent, that seems odd because her options are more limited than usual.
Even so, a Miss Marple mystery always remains a pleasant read. I enjoy matching wits with Christie and watching Miss Marple confound the authorities time and again. I eagerly await Miss Marple’s next case.