Once again, I’m sharing an old review today, this time from 2017. In that year, I did a Miss Marple challenge with group on Goodreads, when we read all the Marple books chronologically. At that point, I hadn’t read the book before but it made it into my Marple favourites list! Again, I haven’t changed anything in my review.
This one takes us back to St Mary Mead but what a different St Mary Mead it is. No long the quiet, quaint country village, many changes have taken place. The old country homes sold, a new “development” with new inhabitants, a department store, and even a film studio close by. The older residents of St Mary Mead―Miss Marple among them―try to come to terms with and adapt to the changes, thankful for what is left of the old life. But Miss Marple soon realises, however much things might change, human beings and human nature remain pretty much the same. Her skills and knowledge are once again put to the test when Mrs Badcock, literally falls down dead at Gossington Hall (the former residence of the Bantrys where the “body in the library” was found”. But Heather Badcock was a nice though talkative woman to whom no one could have intended any harm. It soon turns out that the intended victim may have been the actress Marina Gregg who with her husband Jason Rudd, now live at Gossington Hall. The case once again finds its way to Craddock, now Chief Inspector, who reports straight to “headquarters” as he calls it―Aunt Jane’s home. With him undertaking the more active parts of the investigation, and with help from her current domestic, Cherry Baker, Miss Marple tries to put together what really happened, at the same time trying to contend with Miss Knight, a nurse/companion placed in her home by her nephew Raymond West who insists on treating poor Miss Marple as an “old dear” who mustn’t have any excitement.
This was a Marple book I hadn’t read before but I had seen an adaptation (with Elizabeth Taylor) long ago so did remember whodunit. But still, the puzzle is once again complicated though an element of it is similar to what one has seen in AC’s books (at least two others, with Miss Marple in one of them). Despite this, she would have (had I not remembered the answer) thrown me off-track quite successfully. There are unexpected coincidences and more deaths along the way (I did find myself thinking of Midsomer Murders and how there seemed bodies aplenty there, always). But nothing can mislead Miss Marple for long, for though she may be older and frailer, her mind is as sharp as ever. This was an enjoyable read for me both for the puzzle itself as well as the social commentary that it includes. Four and a half stars.
Have you read this one? How did you like it? Looking forward to your thoughts!