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by Agatha Christie
HarperCollins, November 2003
Unabridged audiobook pages
ISBN: 0007175698

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this classic we see Miss Marple aging. She's reduced to the indignity of needing a full-time live-in nurse who drives the poor woman mad with her constant hovering and patronizing solicitude. Christie portrays the frustrations and embarrassments of aging in a bravura turn in the first third of the book. Miss Marple is still sharp as a tack, however, and while her body may be betraying her, her common sense and psychological insight definitely does not.

St. Mary's Mead is buzzing with excitement at the arrival of the glamorous movie star Marina Gregg in their midst. When Gregg throws a house party for charity and invites the townspeople, they all come, dressed in their best, ready to convey their fond memories of her performances.

One of these women, Heather Badcock, has not only seen all of Gregg's movies, she's also even met her. She goes on and on about the lengths she went to to leave her sick bed just for the chance to glimpse the actress. Shortly after her conversation with the actress, Heather drops dead of poisoning. Because of a complicated mixing up of their glasses, everyone assumes that Marina Gregg was the poisoner's intended victim.

While the police race around investigating the crime, Miss Marple uses her considerable powers of erudition and gossip collection to come to the real truth about the murder. It's amazing to hear the story recounted time and again by the participants while Jane teases out the fine discrepancies to weave together an objective version of the crime.

Joan Hickson narrates this wonderful unabridged version of one of Christie's best stories. For me, Joan Hickson is and always will be the real Miss Marple. She alone reaches the rare combination of slightly addled affect and incisive, precise logic. Her performance here is flawless.

If you're a Christie fan, you need to own this audiobook. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of immersing yourself in the Miss Marple stories, you're in for a real treat.

Reviewed by Carroll Johnson, May 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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