A Murder is Announced
A Miss Marple Mystery
By Agatha Christie Ulverscroft Large Print, 2010
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 2, 2010
Is there such a thing as a bad Agatha Christie mystery? Not to my knowledge. What there is however, are varying degrees of excellence. And, Christie masterpiece, A Murder is Announced is defiantly one of her best works. In this charming Miss Marple mystery, Christie starts the story on a slightly unusual footing. Rather than the murder just occurring, in A Murder is Announced, the murder is, well, announced. The mystery begins with various residents of Chipping Cleghorn reading an advertisement in the personal column of the Gazette that reads, "A murder is announced, and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m." Many of the paper's readers understandably took this 'invitation' as a hoax. Many more however, viewed it as a real invitation, but one to a murder-mystery party. The type of party where the guests are tasked with discovering 'who done it' over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. When they stumble upon a rapidly cooling corpse, they quickly come to realize that the invitation is all too real - as is is the murder.
As the smell of death wafts through the area, the interest of Miss Jane Marple, who just happens to be in the neighborhood, is tweaked. A consummate sleuth, Miss Marple is quickly on the case, ferreting out the murderer, and his, or her, motive. Skillfully, Christie weaves an intriguing mystery that seems to get more tangled the deeper that Miss Marple gets into it. One by one, Miss Marple investigates all the suspects, the victim, and everyone else she comes across as she blindly tries to unravel this multifaceted mystery. Not the least of which is, just who is the victim?
Without doubt, Christie will keep you guessing until the very last second - despite the plethora of clues that she leaves lying around. The answer to the question, who did indeed commit the crime will startle you. As will the murder's motivation, both for the crime itself and murder's reasons for inviting the residents of Chipping Cleghorn to the scene of the crime.
Unlike most of her stories, which are primarily concerned with the solving of the crime, A Murder is Announced also takes on the aura of a psychological drama as Christie, via Miss Marple, delves into the lives of the village's residents. This foray into the past not only uncovers many long hidden secrets, but it also serves as a backdrop against which she poses the various residents, letting the reader see how their lives, and the village, have changed over time, and how the murder, and it's surrounding events, affects each resident's life in a unique way. And, how the specter of suspicion can cause long time friends and acquaintances to quickly turn against one another.
A real page-turner, I'd highly recommend that you don't start this complex and riveting story until such a time when you have the leisure to read it from beginning to end in one sitting!
A Murder is Announced can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.
Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.
The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie.
A young woman has been strangled. Her body is found on the floor of Colonel Bantry's library, but nobody knows who the girl is - or who killed her. That is, except for Miss Marple, who has an idea of who the killer is. To verify her thesis, she sets a trap to catch the killer...
At Bertram's Hotel, by Agatha Christie.
Murder, theft, abduction, and even a train robbery are featured in this fast paced Miss Marple mystery.