Murder at the Vicarage: Everybody hated Colonel Protheroe, even the local vicar, so nobody was particularly sorry when he was murdered. The widow, Mrs. Anne Protheroe, confesses to the crime. Her lover, Lawrence Redding, also claims responsibility for the Colonel’s death. This mystery introduces the much loved spinster Miss Marple, whose skills are needed to determine whether these two are truly responsible for this murder.
Despite Miss Marple being the main focus of the story, though, the book is written from the perspective of the Vicar. This unusual angle permits Agatha Christie to explore the philosophical and ethical angles of the situation. Was this merely a murder mystery or more? I’m inclined to look at this as a deeper look into our culture, leading the reader to think a little more about issues than she would normally be inclined to during a piece of entertaining fiction.
Her signature style includes extensive character development and long, long stretches of conversation between the characters. Some readers might consider this pace slow, but personally, I think it permits the reader to lie back and watch scenes unfold in incredible detail. Does anybody remember Encyclopedia brown from grade school?
I can recall that feeling of reading all of the little details and struggling to put it together to solve the mystery. Agatha Christie is the adult version… and I guarantee that if you take the time to listen and pay attention, you’ll feel it too.
Perhaps the characters aren’t running around shooting, but sometimes a little less adrenaline is a GOOD thing. It wasn’t just the topics that stretched my brain, though. Agatha’s elaborate descriptions never failed to paint beautiful, detailed scenes in my mind. One of the advantages, in my opinion, of the audio book, is that you have the luxury of closing your eyes and basking in the vividly described scenes.
The characters came to life before me. Who needs television or movies with such a precise command of the English language? Perhaps from the perspective of a modern reader, some of her writing is cliche and predictable. It’s important to remember that she is the original that the later authors emulated, not the other way around.
Settle back with a drink in a dark room, close your eyes and let Agatha’s mysteries whisk you away to a visit to slower paced era. You won’t regret it. Agatha Christie is pretty much synonymous with mystery, as far as I’m concerned. Even though she, Arthur Conan Doyle, and other masters wrote books during the early part of the 20th century, they set the standards to which mysteries are still being compared today.
This book was her first, but despite being an inexperienced author, the book was still suspenseful and exciting. Every step of the way were surprises and false leads, leading to suspicion of everybody from the victim’s daughter to the vicar.
James Saxon narrates perfectly with great charm