Review: Murder at the Vicarage

Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1)Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was nothing at all like I expected. I’m not entire sure what I expected, having never read anything by Agatha Christie. Mostly I expected it to be stuffy and I expected it to suck. It was written so long ago, I was sure all the tropes would be stale. But I actually enjoyed myself quite a bit with thie book I’d gotten for free during a Barnes and Noble free book Friday many years ago.

First of all, although this is from the Miss Marple series of books, Ms. Marple is not the main character. Not only that, she’s not a lead noir detective. The story takes place in a sleepy English town full of old lady busy-bodies and a few members of the younger generation. Ms. Marple is one of those old ladies, she just happened to be sharp as a tack and good at solving mysteries. At the time this book was published, the reader might not have had a clue (depending on what was on the outside or jacket flap. Instead, the main character is the vicar of this town. It was fun being inside his POV as he is witty and you get to see the sarcastic thoughts he can’t voice on account of being the vicar.

It was full of lots of entertaining side characters, particularly the vicar’s wife. Overall, it was a pretty modern-sounding book. There were just a few little phrase changes that dated the book. Things like “making love” meaning flirting rather than having sex. And some of the things the men said about women – while there might be some who still think that way, are pretty darn outdated. The only trope that has become overused with time (but might have been new when this book was published) is that of a mystery in which nearly everyone has acted suspiciously and so you’re constantly being tossed back and forth at who could possibly have been at fault. While life is rarely ever tidy, this is bang-slap on the other end of the spectrum.

If you’re looking for a pretty quick mystery read, fully of witty characters, I think this would be right up your alley.

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