Book Review: Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie is called as the ‘Queen of Mystery Writers’ and rightly so. My admiration for Agatha grows with every new book of hers that I read. I enjoyed reading this intriguing mystery and my introduction to the one and only, Miss Jane Marple.

As the title suggests, ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ tells the story of well, a murder in the vicarage. Leonard Clement and his much younger wife Griselda run the vicarage in sleepy village St Mary Mead where not much happens. All people know everyone’s business and it’s routinely gossiped about. Clement is much respected and people look up to him for guidance on all matters. Clement returns to vicarage one night to find none other than Colonel Lucius Protheroe murdered in his study. Colonel Protheroe was not well liked and there are quite a number of people who have one reason or the other to want him dead. The police seem to be heading nowhere with the investigation but luckily, there is Miss Marple who has eyes and ears everywhere. Miss Marple, with her keen eye and sharp wit, finally helps the Vicar and the police to solve this crime.

The novel started out a bit slow (perhaps in accordance with the quaint, sleepy village it is set in) but it picks up pace once the murder happened. From the plot to the setting to the characters, it’s an intriguing and gripping read. This is a masterfully plotted story with a diverse set of characters- surly housemaids, never do well poachers, the elite, gossipy old ladies, crabby old men in abundance. Agatha Christie has brought characters to life by filling them with quirks and speech patterns. From the nosy Miss Maple, to the gentle Vicar, the snobbish Inspector Slack, the superficial Lettice – Christie paints a vivid portrait of English country life. It is a great, immersive read with lots of unexpected twists and turns which will keep you guessing till the end.

This is my first Miss Marple novel, my third Agatha Christie novel and I am sure that I am going to read many, many more. On the whole, ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ is well-written and utterly delightful in its own way. An entertaining and fun read- If you have never tried Miss Marple series, this first book from the series is a great place to start.

Title: Murder at the Vicarage

Author: Agatha Christie

Series: Miss Marple #1

Page count: 256 (first edition, hardcover)

Genre: Detective fiction

Publisher: Collins Crime Club

Originally published: October 1930

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