Home / Author / Miss Marple and the Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie| Book Review

Miss Marple and the Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie| Book Review

First published in 1932, “Miss Marple & the Thirteen Problems” is the collection of short stories, each containing one unsolved mysterious crime. It was through these stories that Miss Marple made her appearance in the world of crime thrillers. Agatha Christie had created the character of this pink and white pretty old lady who had lived all her life in the most sheltered and Victorian way in a small country village. But throughout this seemingly uneventful life, she made it her business to study human nature and had developed an incredible sense of understanding of the human mind and the depths of its depravity.

Quoting Agatha Christie herself about the character: “I enjoyed writing the Miss Marple stories very much, conceived a great affection for my fluffy old lady, and hoped that she might be a success. She was. She has appeared in several books and also in a play- and actually rivals Hercule Poirot in popularity.” In this collection, Miss Marple appears at her best, as sitting in a cosy living room, she keeps providing correct solutions of one after another mysteries which are absolutely different from one another.

The first story starts with establishment of “The Tuesday Night Club” consisting of Raymond West (a writer), Joyce Lempriere (an actress), Sir Henry clithering (ex-policeman), Dr Pender (a clergyman) and Mr Pretherick, the solicitor. Each of the club member is to tell about one unsolved mystery of which the solution is known only to him and rest of the party will guess the answer to the riddle. Following is the list of the stories:

Sr. No. : Title
1 : The Tuesday Night Club
2 : The Idol House of Astarte
3 : Ingots of Gold
4 : The Blood-Stained Pavement
5 : Motive v. Opportunity
6 : The Thumb Mark of St Peter

The first story as told by Sir Henry Clithering is about the death of a wife by food poisoning, the second story is told by Dr Pender about a queer place involving a temple of a pagan goddess and a murder committed seemingly with no weapon, the third story is told by Raymond West about finding lost treasure from sunken ship and gold smuggling, the fourth story is told by Joyce about the murder of a woman and the supposed omen of it witnessed by her, the fifth story is told by Mr Petherick about a dying man’s will and the last story is told by Ms Marple herself about the mysterious death of a young man.

The above stories were so much liked by the people that following stories were written on demand to continue the series.

7 : The Blue Geranium
8 : The Companion
9 : The Four Suspects
10 : A Christmas Tragedy
11 : The Herb of Death
12 : The Affair at the Bungalow
13 : Death by Drowning

So, the seventh story is told by Colonel Bantry and is about the death of a woman under influence of supposedly super natural elements. The eighth story is about two English ladies and the death of one of them as witnessed and told by Dr Lloyd. The ninth story is again told by Sir Henry and is about the mysterious death of an ex-intelligence man from Germany. The tenth story is told by Miss Marple about the death of a young wife that she tried to prevent. The eleventh story is told by Mrs Bantry about the death of a young girl by food poisoning. The twelfth story is told by Jane Helier about a mysterious burglary and kidnapping. And the last story is about the death of a pregnant village girl and an innocent suspect whom Miss Marple saves.

Each of the story contains a gripping mystery and each of solution appear ingeniously simple when presnted. This collection is a brilliant example that Agatha Christie’s ability to create mysterious environment is as effective in short story format as it is in the long novels. Enjoy reading…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *