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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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

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

The 13 Problems

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
published 2002
pages: 315

Book on Amazon

Blurb:
One Tuesday evening a group gathers at Miss Marple’s house and the conversation turns to unsolved crimes…
As each of her guests is mystified by the sinister tales they tell one another, the company is inclined to forget their elderly host. Bit there is a ruthless precision in Miss Marple’s pursuit of the killers in each tale… and a few surprises in store for ‘The Tuesday Night Club’.

In (Very) Short:

+ Miss Marple mystery
+ a great Christie read: fun and entertaining
+ 13 different stories within one book – not coherent mystery novel, yet they are connected
+ I love Agatha Christie and I love Miss Marple

My Opinion:

After I read quite a few (almost all) Miss Marple mysteries, it is a little bit of a challenge to review a Christie novel. I love them. They are nice, easy, fun reads and are still brain teasers. I always try to figure out what really happened or who was the murderer.

In this book Miss Marple’s nephew Raymond puts together a little gathering with a couple of people, who will each tell a puzzle story. The others will try to solve the puzzle. This is called ‘The Tuesday Night Club’ and are the reason for roughly the first half of the stories to be told. Then the latter part of the stories are told within a different constellation of people, this time all familiar to St. Mary Mead (Miss Marple’s home town).

Each of the stories include either murder or blackmail or an other mystery that the other members of those parties try to solve. However, only Miss Marple is able to solve all of them by drawing comparisons to her village life.
Again this was a fun and entertaining book. I especially liked that it contained several different mysteries that were each dealt with and concluded during one chapter. Thus, I could read a chapter in bed before falling asleep and I did not have the feeling like I was missing something. I felt comfortable when I put the book down.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining book containing 13 different mysteries surrounding our beloved and knitting Miss Marple.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Month May

Since the last reading months have been quite slow, this one has picked up a little bit. Though most of the books have been short, I did manage to read 5 books again.

Julica Jungehülsing – Ein Jahr in Australien: Reise in den Alltag

I started this reading month with another experience report, this time the author began her live in Australia. It was an interesting read, but it was also a little annoying. The author constantly reminded the reader how cool she is and how much of an Australian she is now. The book should have been called “A Year in Bondi Beach” because we do not get to know a lot about Australia, but more about her wonderful surfer life in Bondi Beach and how close her new apartment is to the ocean. An ok read, but not great.

 Ein Jahr in AustralienThe 13 Problems

Agatha Christie – The 13 Problems

Well, what can I say, a good old Christie makes my day. It has been quite slow at the reading front the past months, so I thought I can do nothing wrong with a Christie novel. The great thing about The 13 Problems is that this is not one continuous storyline, but rather 13 individual stories. These stories are presented among a group of people (of whom Miss Marple is part) and they all try to solve those “problems”. Basically the book is made up of 13 short stories, which is great for reading at night. I could read a chapter and go to sleep. It was an entertaining and funny read…as usual.

Rick Riordan – The Red Pyramid

I finally started another Rick Riordan series. I love the Percy Jackson series. It is one of my favorite because they are wonderfully sarcastic, funny, entertaining, thrilling, and there are Greek gods. I don’t need anything more. This time Riordan is taking us into the world of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. I used to love those myths when I was younger, so I was really exited. However, it took me a while to get into the book. Sadie and Carter Kane witness their dad releasing the ancient gods, and some of them are out to destroy the world.
Again it is a great adventure story, the mythology is wonderfully incorporated and adapted (and I still remembered quite a lot), but somehow it took some time to warm up to it. I had difficulties identifying with the characters. Unlike Percy Jackson, this time a sibling couple are at the center of the story and I just didn’t get a long with them. But as the story progresses I did grew a little fonder of them. Overall, a good and entertaining book.

The Red Pyramid Gespensterspuk in Hollywood

Kate Klise – Friedhofstraße 43: Gespensterspuk in Hollywood

This is the fifth installment of Old Cemetery Road 43 and this time the three lovable characters are going to Hollywood to become movie stars. Again, I really enjoyed this story. I loved being reunited with the characters, the story is funny and exiting, the illustrations are beautiful and I really appreciated and enjoy that the story is told through letters and newspapers. A fun and wonderful read.

Oona Crate

Shawn T. Odyssey – Oona Crate: Das Rätsel um den Schwarzen Turm

My reading month ended with another children’s book. Oona Crate is a 13-year-old girl who does not want to be a magicians apprentice anymore, but who rather becomes a private detective. When her uncle disappears, she has a chance to show her worth. Convinced that he is not dead, Oona has to find out what happened to him quickly. Before it is too late.
This story is made up like a classical whodunit story (locked room mystery with a certain number of suspects) mixed with magic, different worlds, and speaking animals. It was thoroughly entertaining and got me out of my reading slump. Funny and cute, albeit stereotypical at times.

March Book Haul

I did not plan to buy any. I never do. But they honestly just called my name. 🙂

march haul

Annelie Wendeberg – The Devil’s Grin

In Victorian London’s cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murder remains undiscovered until a cholera victim floating in the city’s drinking water supply. Dr. Anton Kronberg, England’s best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg’s secret – a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine – a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper’s deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.

I was at a reading of The Devil’s Grin and I really wanted to know how it continues. It’s a crime story and it is set in Sherlockian England, so I couldn’t resist and I have read it already.

Mary Janice Davidson – Sleeping with the Fishes

Fred is a mermaid. But stop right there. Whatever image you’re thinking of right now, forget it. Fred is not blonde. She’s not buxom. And she’s definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn’t help matters that her hair is ocean-colored.
Being a mermaid does help Fred when she works at the New England Aquarium.But, needless to say, it’s there that she gets involved in something fishy. Weird levels of toxins been found in the local water. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her mer-person ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You’d think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things, Think again…

I stumbled over this book and I got it for a bargain. The cover caught my eye. I am not sure I actually like it, but I have never read anything about mermaids (except for The Little Mermaid and that was a long time ago). So, why not include another supernatural creature.

Walt Disney Comic Collection

This collection contains 10 Disney Comic Books. I don’t think this is essentially the correct term and genre, but since I don’t know any better, I am just gonna call it that. I have been eyeing it for a while and I finally couldn’t resist. I love them. They are so beautiful and precious and wonderful.

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

One Tuesday evening a group gathers at Miss Marple’s house and the conversation turns to unsolved crimes…
As each of her guests is mystified by the sinister tales they tell one another, the company is inclined to forget their elderly host. But there is a ruthless precision in Miss Marple’s pursuit of the killers in each tale…and a few surprises in store for ‘The Tuesday Night Club’.

Another Christie. What more can I say. I have to keep my Agatha Christie Reading Challenge in mind and so I really was „forced“ to buy one. 🙂

Alan Bradley – Speaking from Among the Bones

Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of Saint Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face inexplicably masked. Who held such a gruesome vendetta against him? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there’s no such thing as an open-and-shut case.

Flavia de Luce, my (currently) second favorite sleuth in the book world. This is the 5th book in the series. I doubt she has aged a day and the people in her village just die like flies. I am really looking forward to this. Bradley has never disappointed me so far.

August Book Haul

I really try not to buy any books… I really do…

But well here we are again…

Heide Solveig Göttner – Der Herr der Dunkelheit

Blurb:

Das Schicksal der Welt liegt in der Hand einer jungen Frau. Amra, die Dienerin des Totengottes, setzt dm Kampf gegen die Mächte fort, die die Insel der Stürme in den Abgrund reißen wollen. Auf der Flucht vor den grausamen Ziegenkriegern sind Amra und ihre Gefährten im Norder der Insel gestrandet. Dort geraten sie in einen Hinterhalt, und der düstere Gott bringt Lillia, das magische Kind, in seine Gewalt. Als er sie auf das Schiff der Toten verschleppt, scheint alles verloren. Doch der Schwertkämpfer Gorun setzt sein Leben aufs Spiel, um Lillia aus den Klauen der Herrn der Dunkelheit zu befreien…

It’s a fantasy novel that I stumbled upon and that I bought because it was cheap. It sounds interesting and deals with Gods, warriors and dark things. I honestly have no idea what this is about. But there is no harm in trying to figure it out, is there?

CIMG0431 CIMG0393

Andrea Schacht – Der Dunkle Spiegel

Blurb:

„Man sagt, dass der Spiegel nicht nur das Antlitz des Menschen zeigt, sondern dass er auch seine Seele festhält. Ein dunkler Spiegel bedeutet, dass die Seele verloren ist – er bedeutet den Tod.“

Köln im Jahr des Herrn 1376. Sind die selbstbewussten Frauen des Beginen-Konvents am Eigelstein etwas Ketzerinnen und Giftmischerinnen? Die junge Begine Almut Bossart, Witwe eines Baumeisters, macht sich kühn an die Aufklärung des Giftmordes im Haus eines Weinhändlers. Doch nicht nur die Neugier treibt sie – es steht zu befürchten, dass die Inquisition sie selbst für die Tat verfolgen wird…

A crime story set in 14th century Germany. I am always a little reluctant to read historical novels but since this is a crime story, I am somewhat on the safe side. I hope. The book sounds really interesting and in addition deals with the issue of Inquisition. This should make a good mix.

Mit Miss Marple aufs Land

Blurb:

Die englische Idylle mit Pfarrhaus, Pub, Tearoom, Cottage-Garten und Dorfladen ist, wenn man den Queens of Crime von Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, Caroline Graham, Jean G. Goodhind, Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, Val McDermid, Ann Granger, Elizabeth George, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh bis Daphne du Maurier glauben darf, immer wieder in Gefahr. Doch zum Glück gibt es so couragierte Damen wie Miss Marple oder mit trockenem Humor ausgestattete Ermittler wie Inspector Barnaby, die beim Tee im Herrenhaus oder beim Cricket auf dem Land die entscheidenden Indizien zur Lösung des Falles finden. Luise Berg-Ehlers hat sich auf ihrer Reise durch englische Dörfer und Universitätsstädte auf die Spur großartiger Krimischriftstellerinnen begeben, die – anders als ihre literarischen Opfer- unsterblich wurden.

This beauty was a present from my mother and it was in my mail box on a day that was just one of those „bad“ days. It sure made me happy. I saw this book in book store a while ago and thought that I should definitely get this at one point. The author of this book traveled through English villages to investigate the settings used by classic crime fiction writers and through them unravel the immense attraction of the stories by Christie, Goodhind, Sayers, McDermid, Janes, Rendell and many more.

I am really looking forward to this.

CIMG0492

Agatha Christie – After the funeral

Blurb:

When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say: It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it… But he has been murdered, wasn’t he?

In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery…

You can’t do anything wrong with an Agatha Christie novel. It’s been quite a while since I read my last Hercule Poirot so I am actually looking forward to getting reacquainted with him.

Sarah J Maas – Crown of Midnight

Blurb:

Crowned By Evil.

Bound By Duty.

Divided By Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the Kind of Ardalan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood – but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, puts those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of the kingdom…

I loved the first book Throne of Glass. It was a great read, interesting, exiting, funny. So I honestly couldn’t wait for it to be published. Now that it is on my TBR pile, I hope I get read it quite soon. And the first installment just hit the German market, so I hope it will be a success.

CIMG0495

Charlaine Harris – Aimee Teagarden Mysteries (1-8)7

Blurb:

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES: An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden’s adventures! Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers – until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree! Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it’s still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden – Roe – grew up there, and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature. (Amazon)

Charlaine Harris – Lily Bard Mysteries (1-5)

Blurb:

Lily Bard a cleaning Lady with a secret past starts over in the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas. The hobby martial arts fighter helps solve criminal cases (more or less voluntarily).

Charlaine Harris – Grave Sight

Blurb:

I have what you might call a strange job: I find dead people. I can sense the final location of a person who’s passed and share their very last moment. The way I see it, I’m providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but I’m used to most people treating me like a blood-sucking leech…

Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are experts at getting in,getting paid, and then getting out of town fast, because the people who hire Harper have funny habit of not really wanting to know what she has to tell them. At first, the little Ozarks town of Sarne seems like no exception. A teenage has gone missing, and Harper knows almost immediately that this girl is dead. But the secrets of her death, and the secrets of the town, are deep enough that even Harper’s special ability can’t uncover them. With hostility welling up all around them, she and Tolliver would like nothing better than to be on their way. But then another woman is murdered. And the killer’s not finished yet…

I got all of Charlaine Harris books above as a bargain. I honestly did not know what I was getting into because I have only read her Sookie novels (and only 4 so far). But since I enjoyed them very much, I like crime stories, and either the title or the protagonist are somewhat connected to books, I am sure I will enjoy them. At least I have all of them.

 

Agatha Christie – Miss Marple’s Final Cases

 CIMG0465

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins
published 2002 (first published 1979)
pages: 240

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

Miss Marple always makes a point of ‘taking and interest’ in other people’s affairs, though nothing engages her curiosity quite as much as sudden death, scandal, blackmail or murder.

A wounded man in a church, buried treasure, a fatal riding accident, a corpse and tape-measure, a girl framed for theft, a suspect with a dagger … all cases to be relished by the astonishing Miss Jane Marple.

This collection includes as a bonus the Miss Marple story Greenshaw’s Folly and two additional mysteries: The Dressmaker’s Doll and In a Glass Darkly.

In (Very) Short:

+ collection of short stories
+ short, sweet, and entertaining read
+ two extra mystery stories in addition to Miss Marple’s cases
+ typical Christie

My Opinion:

I would like to read all Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries at on point and in only three books I will have finished with Christie’s Marple mysteries.

In The Final Cases are a collection of short stories centering around the amateur sleuth Jane Marple. In addition to those stories two non-Marple mysteries were published in this collection.

Again Christie’s short stories are an entertaining, short-lived and sweat read but I personally prefer the novels. Her presence was often just short and the stories seem rather pressed into the small amount of space inherent to a short story.

But again the stories itself are good. The novels are just my personal preference.

Bottom Line:

A light and easy read, her short stories are great for late night reads and are quick fix for my whodunit crime story addiction.

Rating:

rating 3