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by Multiple authors
William Morrow, September 2022
304 pages
ISBN: 0063136058

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Twelve powerhouse writers provide us with new Miss Marple stories in this anthology that is a must-read for any Agatha Christie fan.

Each story here is equally wonderful, with well-crafted homages to one of crime fiction's most enduring characters. The collection opens with "Evil in Small Places," by Lucy Foley. A choir mistress is murdered in her home, while outside in the town a pagan celebration goes wild. The crowd is carrying life-size, papier-mâché figures with oversized heads and bulging eyes, and they jostle Miss Marple and her friend. But in the end, the real evil is closer to home.

In some of the stories, Miss Marple has left her cozy village of St. Mary Mead, encountering crime—or some sort of mystery—elsewhere. In "Miss Marple Takes Manhattan," by Alyssa Cole, she is in New York City with her nephew, Raymond West, and his wife, Joan (who figure in many of the stories). Raymond is in Manhattan because one of his novels is being adapted for the stage, but there's strife among the cast, and an attack that Miss Marple quickly solves. In "Jade Empress," by Jean Kwok, Miss Marple is on a cruise ship to Hong Kong to visit Raymond, who is producing a play there, when her waltzing partner is later found dead. When the man's daughter is arrested, Miss Marple steps in to find the real killer.

Elly Griffiths, author of several series, has a turn with Miss Marple outside her usual locale. In "Murder at the Villa Rosa," her nephew has treated her to a stay on the Amalfi coast of Italy. The story is told not through the point of view of Miss Marple, but that of writer Felix Jeffries, who is on a retreat to write his next book. But strange happenings disturb Jeffries. Finally, however, it is Miss Marple who solves the mysterious goings-on.

The last story in the book is a poignant one by fantasy writer Leigh Bardugo, "The Disappearance." A young man, on the eve of his wedding, disappears from St. Mary Mead. By all accounts, he was devoted to his fiancée and wouldn't have run off. Miss Marple, feeling much older, and more sentimental, solves the mystery, but there's a neat twist on the last page.

The rest of the collection includes names a crime fiction fan will undoubtedly know (or should come to know): Naomi Alderman, Natalie Haynes, Val McDermid, Karen M. McManus, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Mosse, and Ruth Ware.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, August 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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