Honoring the Heroine: Miss Marple May

It’s Miss Marple May!!!!! That’s right, I have decided to spend a whole month discussing different incarnations of the most famous female detective in literature. Though not so much in the general media. When it comes to adaptations, it’s a really short list I had to look through. In fact the only category I had some difficulties to decide which adaptation I would discuss was when it came to TV-adaptations.

But before we discuss to the adaptations, let’s talk about the book version of Miss Jane Marple. Agatha Christie created her, because she wanted to give old maids a voice. So she wrote about an old and frail old lady with a very sharp mind. In 12 novels and 20 short stories she is portrayed as the typical old spinster. Her only living relative is her nephew Raymond West. Miss Marple is wealthy enough that she never had to work, but she has to be careful with her resources.

Unlike other detectives, she is not particularly adventurous, in fact her favourite pastime is knitting. In a lot of stories, she doesn’t even leave the house, instead she listens to what her visitors tell her and then draws her conclusions, which are often based on something she experienced in life.

Now, to be honest, this method is the main reason why to me Miss Marple stories are a little bit hit and miss. You never know if you get a well researched logical conclusion based on facts or one of the kind “I experienced something like this in the past, so it has to be the solution this time around, too”, making leaps which makes you wonder if someone told Miss Marple the solution of the case beforehand. It’s the biggest problem of any detective story that the author knows the solution and therefore might reveal too much too early or not enough to make the conclusion believable. Miss Marple stories are often a little bit off-balance, sometimes painfully obvious, sometimes too convoluted (but, like all Agatha Christie stories, always well researched when it comes to poison and similar).  3980bd17bdb9dd33fe490caaa3315bf2

Nevertheless, Miss Marple is one of the most iconic figures of literature, with a very long shadow. She reminds us that old does not necessarily mean silly, and frail not harmless. So let’s celebrate her this months. Starting by you telling me what your favourite Miss Marple stories are.


Quote: “Everybody is very much alike, really. But fortunately, perhaps, they don’t realise it.”

3 thoughts on “Honoring the Heroine: Miss Marple May

  1. I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan and just finished reading all the ‘Miss Marple’ novels of hers. I have to say that I really am not a fan of hers; rather I’m a huge fan of Hercule Poirot whom I consider to be my favorite fictional detective (yes, above Sherlock Holmes).

    Nevertheless, Miss Marple is quite an interesting character and not really a detective in the traditional sense, but more someone who “knows people” and “knows about people”.

    I’ve almost finished watching all of the episodes from ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot’. Once I finish that, I plan to watch the BBC ‘Miss Marple’ series from the ’80s as well as the ‘Agatha Christie’s Marple’ series.

    My favorite Miss Marple novel is ‘A Murder is Announced’. And my least favorite is ‘Nemesis’. What are yours?

    A few years ago, they announced that they were making a Miss Marple reboot film in which Miss Marple is a young, 30-something year old woman played by Jennifer Garner. What are your thoughts on that?

    • A Young Miss Marple is an idiotic idea…after all her “life experience” and seemingly harmlessness are the core of her character.
      I don’t really have a favourite story, but I absolutely loathe The Body in the Library. The solution to that case makes no sense whatsoever imho.
      Agatha Christie herself said that she sometimes regretted making Miss Marple an old woman because it forced her to give the best cases to Poirot.

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