Today Marshmallow reviews Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, a book that collects together all twenty short stories Agatha Christie wrote featuring her favorite detective, Miss Marple; the original dates of the stories range from 1932 to 1961. Sprinkles, who has been a life-long Christie fan, is asking questions and taking notes.
Sprinkles: Marshmallow, you know that I was so happy to find this collection of Miss Marple stories! But I was especially excited to have you read them, too. So what did you think?
Marshmallow: At first I found them very confusing.
S: How come?
M: I found the language a bit challenging at first. But reading the stories the second time, I got a lot more, and I really enjoyed them.
S: I guess the language is not contemporary. Christie wrote some of these almost a hundred years ago.
M: Yes. There were a lot of things I did not know about. For example you and I needed to look up the “hundreds and thousands” and the trifle that was one of the main plot points in the story “The Tuesday Night Club”.
S: Yes, apparently we do not know every traditional English dish and the usual ingredients for them.
M: And then there was “banting”. Apparently it means to diet by not eating things with carbs in them. And it is named after a scientist, Sir Frederick Grant Banting, who was one of the people who discovered insulin.
S: Yes, one learns a lot by reading!
M: Yes, of course.
S: So overall, what did you think of Miss Marple? Can you tell us a bit about who she is and what kind of a person she is?
M: She is an older lady, who seems like a nice and kind and easily distracted person, but she is extremely smart and insightful. So the first few stories in the book are told in the setting of a dinner party, where people are sharing mysteries and challenging others to figure them out. In almost all of them, everyone else is stumped, and Miss Marple outwits everyone, figuring things out.
S: And in the one that she claims she could not figure out the mystery, she actually did, but she had a reason not to divulge her reasoning. Right?
S: So I have been a fan of Agatha Christie stories since I was a young bunny around your age. This is your very first exposure to Christie. What do you think about her writing style?
M: Other than the fact that her language took me a little while to get used to, I think she is a clever storyteller. The plots are very good. The mysteries are hard to figure out on one’s own, but when they are explained at the end, they all make sense, and you see that the author had sprinkled in the right clues all along.
S: Agreed. When compared with your favorite detective, Nancy Drew, how does Miss Marple measure up?
M: I am still quite loyal to Nancy Drew, and I don’t want to hurt her feelings. But Miss Marple is sharp, and she can figure things out pretty quickly.
S: Then again, you did not read a full novel with Miss Marple, so maybe in the novels she is more like Nancy, and the story opens up slowly and more gradually.
M: Yes, it is true that all Nancy Drew books I read were long-form novels. In a short story, things have to happen quicker.
S: You do not review short story collections much for our blog.
M: True. I do not read too many short story collections. I have read and reviewed Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani and The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan, which were short story collections, but it seems that most stuff I read is in novel form.
S: You know Agatha Christie wrote a ton of novels, right?
M: Yep. Wikipedia says that she wrote 66 detective novels.
S: That is a lot!
M: Yes, I agree. So did you read all of them, Sprinkles?
S: I read all her books that my school library had, but no, I did not read all. I also do not remember any of them. I should reread them at some point. Would you join me? Did this book make you curious to read some of her novels?
M: Yep. I did watch the movie version of The Murder on the Orient Express, though I do not remember much. So maybe we should read that first.
S: Yes, that is a classic! Okay, let us do that. Alright, this is probably a good time to end this review. How would you rate Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie?
M: I’d rate it 100%, though it did take me a second read!
S: Sounds good to me. What do you want to tell our readers next?
M: Stay tuned for more amazing book reviews from the book bunnies!