Miss Marple Calms My Restless Mind

Miss Marple always solves her crimes – sitting, knitting, wearing tweet costumes. However stressed my life becomes and however deep I am caught in a reading slump, Miss Marple has a way of reaching my absent mind. The allure of coziness and comfort within the confines of murder is soothing. It feels like coming home. The reasons I return to Miss Marple at any given time: the lack of gore, the inherent nosiness, and the nostalgia.

Where is the blood – the lack of gore in Miss M.’s murders

Given the often overpowering images of news outlets (be that papers, television, or even radio) and television with there attempt to outdo each other with even more shocking and gory details of crimes, wars, and other catastrophes, the lack of blood is a nice change in pace.

Yes, I am nosy – Miss M.’s passion for poking around

Miss Marple lives out the nosiness that I do feel when a riddle or any other interesting unanswered question stops by. The great thing is: I don’t have to feel guilty because Miss M. asks all the questions that I have (and of course many more that I don’t have) and pokes about to get the answers. This is of course oversimplified and at times feeds the stereotype of elderly spinster detectives but I really love her moxie and her awareness of the perception people have of her. She always uses that to her advantage.

Everything Was Better Before – Miss M. reminisces

While Miss Marple is nostalgic towards her own past, I am nostalgic towards my own as well as the past (as stereotypical and simplified as that might be) illustrated by Christie. Due to less gore and the acceptance of the nosiness of elderly spinsters, it is a calm escape for a hectic overexposed mind caught in a world where the attention spans get shorter and the visuals more prominent and faster. The peace and quiet offered by Miss Marple are a wonderful way to return my hectic brain to a more normal speed – one that was common when I was yet young and the world just a bit slower.

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My Top 5 Most Read Authors

1. Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage
The Thirteen Problems
The Body in the Library
The Moving Finger
A Murder is Announced
They do it with Mirrors
4.50 from Paddington
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
The Caribbean Mystery
At Bertram’s Hotel
Sleeping Murder
Miss Marple’s Final Cases
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Murder on the Orient Express
Murder in Mesopotamia
Death on the Nile
After the Funeral
Cat Among the Pigeons
And Then There Were None
Nemesis
Hallowe’en Party

2. J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Askaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them
Quidditch Through the Ages
The Tales of Beedle the Bard

3. Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
Percy Jackson and the last Olympian
The Demigod Files
Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades
The Red Pyramid
The Throne of Fire

4. Trudi Canavan

The Magician’s Guild
The Novice
The High Lord
The Ambassador’s Mission
The Rogue
The Traitor Queen

5. Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Shakespeare’s Landlord
Real Murders
A Bone to Pick

My Top 5 Crime Authors

1. Agatha Christie

2. Alan Bradley

  • The Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie
  • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
  • A Red Herring Without Mustard
  • I am Half-Sick of Shadows
  • Speaking from Among the Bones
  • The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

3. Val McDermid

  • The Mermaids Singing
  • Grave Tattoo
  • Fever of the Bone
  • Beneath the Bleeding
  • The Distant Echo
  • many more

4. Rhys Bowen

  • Her Royal Spyness
  • A Royal Pain
  • Royal Flush
  • Royal Blood
  • Murphy’s Law
  • many more

5. P.D. James

Agatha Christie – Hallowe’en Party (Poirot Mystery)

Hallowe'en Party

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins UK
published 2001
pages: 336

Book (English)

Blurb:

At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce — a hostile thirteen-year-old — boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer! (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Hercule Poirot mystery
+ solid read
– lack of motive, and a little too much attempted psychology

My Opinion:

After my wonderful and perfect Miss Marple read last month, I decided to grab another Christie and picked a novel right for October: Halloween. However, I was very sure that there was nothing sinister or spooky going to happen in this book. It was just really the title.

A young girl was murdered at a Halloween party after she claimed she witnessed a murder before. Mrs Oliver, who was at the party and who happened to be a crime novelist, is also friends with Hercule Poirot and asks him for help. So, of course he makes his way to the small town where he reunites with another old friend and former police officer Spence. And off he goes.

Well, this was not necessarily one of Christie’s best novels. I don’t remember a lot (which in itself is not a good sign): Poirot was going around asking questions, nobody had a good or real motive to murder the child, everybody starting talking psychology and mental illness, that the some people are just bad and can’t stop themselves and since everybody did this – whether specifically asked or not – it was rather annoying.

Altogether it seemed a little forced and not as fluent and effortless as many of her other novels.
Poirot was his usually charming and stubborn self. Yet still not enough to keep my continued attention.

Bottom Line:

A solid book, but not her best work.

Rating:

rating 3

Agatha Christie – Nemesis

nemesis

paperback
publisher: HarperCollins
published 2008 (first published 1971)
pages: 386

Book (English)

Blurb:

A message from a dead acquaintance prompts a bus tour to an unknown crime…In utter disbelief Miss Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel – an acquaintance she had met briefly on her travels. Recognising in Miss Marple a natural flair for justice, Mr Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Miss Marple mystery
+ fast paced, fun, entertaining
+ Miss M. was part of the story from the beginning
+ an interesting idea of letting her solve some unspecific crime with little to no clues

My Opinion:

This was an absolute highlight. I loved this novel. It was great, entertaining, exiting, thrilling… it was Miss Marple.

After an acquaintance of Miss Marple has died, she is left with a rather puzzling request: to look into an incident that might or might not have caused some injustice. If she solves this „case“ she will inherit quite a sum of money. She is left with almost no clues until she learns that she has been booked on a tour of British famous houses and gardens. From there on the case slowly starts to unravel.

I thought the idea was really intriguing and I was wondering how Miss Marple would be able to solve such a puzzle with almost no clues whatsoever. I know it seemed a little far-fetched that Miss M. would be able to get to the bottom of whatever, but she did. The story line unfolded beautifully and I was able to follow. It did not seem to forced, the writing was great and Miss Marple an absolute dream. I enjoyed her banter and dialogue with the other characters and I loved that she was actually part of the story from the beginning. (Unlike Bertram’s Hotel were she was missing for some time.)

I was trying to piece everything together myself and although I did not understand everything right away and would not have guessed some connections, I was pretty good at discovering the actual culprit. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but in the end I was right. Good guess I suppose (well and I have read quite a few Christie novels by now that I think I might get the hang of things).

Bottom Line:

All in all, a great, entertaining read with an ever-present Miss Marple.

Rating:

rating 5

My Reading Month October

My reading month was pretty good and I am quite happy. I probably not gonna match my final goal of 65 books this year, but still very happy about this month.

Josephine Angelini – Dreamless

I started this month with the second installment of the Starcrossed trilogy, which was enjoyable and entertaining. Helen descends into the Underworld every night and after many hours, days, and weeks of despair, she finally meets someone living and willing to help her – of course he does not look bad either… I thoroughly enjoyed the book which had a lot more going than guys and Underworld hopping, but I don’t want to spoil too much since it is the second book in the series.

Dreamless

Ryan Attard – The Pandora Chronicles

My first review copy was a Sci Fi – adventure – mystery novel. It had pirates, archeologists, aliens, in it and it was set in different times.
It was a solid and enjoyable read with lots of action with an Indiana Jones feel to it.

Gayle Ramage – The Trouble with Pixie

This short story was actually quite fun. I decided to read it because it is set in Edinburgh. If that is your choice for reading this … there is not a lot of Edinburgh in it. But the pixie hunt was hilarious. Don’t read it when in a serious mood.

Hiawyn Oram – Rumblewicks Tagebuch: Hilfe meine Hexe sucht Freundinnen

I just love Rumblewick’s Diaries. The series is funny, cute, and entertaining. The story is narrated by the cat Rumblewick who gets into trouble in the witch world because his witch just does not want to be so witchy. Really cute.

rumblewicks diary 3

Nancy Butler – Pride and Prejudice (The Graphic Novel)

My first graphic novel was more of an experiment and since I haven’t read any others, I don’t feel to knowledgeable and comfortable to write a review. I feel like I need to read more graphic novels first. Anyway. I love Pride and Prejudice and of course I enjoyed it. The story was taken directly from the book. You couldn’t do anything wrong there and just as Nancy Butler said in the introduction: You don’t mess with Jane.

Pride and Prejudice

Felix Anschütz et al. – Entschuldigung, sind sie die Wurst?

This is a collection of conversations and situations that people have overheard while listening to other people. The original idea come from New York, where people would send in such stories to overheardinnewyork.com. Now, this is the German version and it was hilarious, strange, weird and occasionally crazy. A great read for in between since the stories are very short. Good fun.

Entschuldigung sind sie die Wurst

Agatha Christie – Hallowe’en Party

After my Marple mystery last month I decided to go with a fall theme and pick up a Poirot mystery. It was a good read, but not the best. I barely remember what really happened in the book. A young girl was murdered after she claimed she witnessed a murder some time ago herself. So Poirot started to investigate. It lacked motive and possible suspects, it dealt with so many past mysteries/murders and of course everything was connected in the end. Good, but not great.

Hallowe'en Party

September Book Haul

So, although I tried not to buy any books the last month, again it did not work and since I am not reading a lot lately, my TBR pile is constantly increasing. Anyway. Here is my little splurge of the month.

Robin Wasserman – Skinned

A year ago Lia Kahn died. A few days later she woke up … with a new mechanical body, unfeeling and inhuman. She has a new family, ‘mechs’ like her, who didn’t judge her for what she could no longer be, and a new life, one that would last forever. At least it was supposed to…
But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie, and everyone she loved and cared about has been stolen away. Someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all, and Lia must risk everything to save herself and the people she can’t live without. But not before she faces one final, shocking truth … a truth that forces her to make a decision she can never reverse.

I stumbled across this book in the library. Well, the German translation of the book and when I found the English original on eBay I had to have it. It sound intriguing and a little Sci Fi and since I am in the mood for Sci Fi lately, I had to have it.

Robin Wasserman – Wired

This is the third and final installment of the Skinned trilogy (which has now been renamed and republished – though the old covers are so much prettier). Well, I got the first one and they offered the third, so I picked it up assuming that I would like the first part. No, blurb because I don’t want to spoil and be spoiled. (I didn’t read it myself either).

September Haul

Anna Carey – Eve

“Where will I go?” I asked, my voice trembling. The forest spilled out before me, its hillsides lit only by the perfect, glowing moon. This was it. Where I came from, where I was going. My past, my future.
“If you continue straight two miles you’ll come to a road.” Her thin lips moved slowly as she spoke. “Find the signs marked eighty and go west, toward the setting sun. Stay near the road but not on it.”
I wanted to as Teacher more, but just then the beam of the guard’s flashlight rounded the corner of the dormitory building. Teacher Florence pushed me forward. “Go, now!” she urged. “Go!”
And as fast as the door opened, it closed behind me, leaving me alone in the cold, starless night.

Another dystopian creepy something. A virus has wiped out most of earth’s population. Orphaned girls are trained at a school for this new world, but the day before graduation Eve discovers the real purpose of the school and the horrific fate that awaits them. So, she runs away.
Why not. It sounds interesting and it was a bargain, so I just decided to get this one.

Agatha Christie – Hallowe’en Party

At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce – a hostile thirteen-year-old – boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her, she storms of home. But within hours her body is found,still in the house drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.
That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or double-murderer …

What can I say. I finished my last Christie and I just need to have one at hand really. So, I decided to go with the spooky theme of fall and Halloween and got me a Poirot mystery. I will see if this one is as good as the last one, because Nemesis was just bloody brilliant.