I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Villagers expect a fun game after a Gazette announcement of murder, but when lights flash off, shots ring out, and a masked burglar falls dead, the Inspector and vicar's wife Bunch call in expert Miss Jane Marple. Was Swiss hotel clerk Rudi framed? Miss Letitia Blackstone houses scatty Dora, cousins Julia and Patrick, gardener widow Phillipa, and paranoid cook Mitzi.
I read this book to match the “Terror in a Small Town” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo Card.
I had vague recollections of how this one ended from watching the TV show back in the day. But I didn’t remember all the details, so there were still some surprises in store for me.
It was also a thing of beauty to watch the set-up by Dame Agatha, the misdirections, the superfluous details, and the real clues, all beautifully set into the story.
Small towns are an excellent backdrop for a mystery of this kind, as everyone thinks that they know their neighbours. As Christie points out in this novel, we only know the details which others supply and have few chances to check on their veracity. City dwellers have no illusions of knowing everyone around them, thus making the small village, like Chipping Cleghorn, an ideal setting for an intricate mystery of this kind. Especially since people are people, no matter what size of community they live in—everyone will have motives and opportunity!
What begins as an enticingly mysterious ad in the paper ends with a dissection of a deception. Very, very entertaining.