Customer Reviews for

The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Series)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Murder at the Vicarage

This is the first story Christie wrote that includes Miss Jane Marple. My Christie-reading career began with the Hercule Poirot series. After reading something like 6 Poirot books in a row I felt I'd give Miss Marple a try. This was a fantastic choice on my part. Miss M...
This is the first story Christie wrote that includes Miss Jane Marple. My Christie-reading career began with the Hercule Poirot series. After reading something like 6 Poirot books in a row I felt I'd give Miss Marple a try. This was a fantastic choice on my part. Miss Marple is extremely clever and cunning. I read this book in only a couple of days--because it was that fantastic and it was only 250 pages. When I first began reading I had made the mistake of thinking that Miss Marple, like Poirot, was a retired detective who was being asked favors by her friends.... But i was wrong: Miss Marple is just an old lady who observes human nature; and because of this she is able to find the murderer. This, in a sense can be better and worse than Poirot. The solution to the murder is nothing short of surprising. Christie delivers twists and turns like she does in all of her books. Nevertheless i recommend this book to all Christie fans and to those who, like me, want to deviate from the professional styles of Hercule Poirot.

posted by 210402 on May 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Love Agatha Christie novels but....

Out of all the stories I have read, or in this case listened to, this one is my least favorite. The writing is good but doesn't seem up to par to her normal but I think that maybe reading the book myself might have been better. The person they used to narrate the stor...
Out of all the stories I have read, or in this case listened to, this one is my least favorite. The writing is good but doesn't seem up to par to her normal but I think that maybe reading the book myself might have been better. The person they used to narrate the story really wasn't right for it and his way of talking was disjointed. I think that may be why it seemed so "bad". My daughter got this one and I got Nemesis, then we exchanged and she told me that this one wasn't as good as normal and she was very right. Now, Nemesis was excellent and definitely in the "best" category of the ones we have gotten on audio and listened to. Between my daughter and I we have a6 of them. I could suggest many others of hers over this novel for sure! Understand though, Agatha Christie was a superb writer and her "bad" is better than some peoples "good" writings. It is just that comparing her work to her work, this one was by far my, and my daughter's, least favorite.

posted by poodlemagic on September 5, 2009

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  • Posted September 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Classic Christie for young and old

    I just finished reading this 2 weeks ago in an e-book from our library. Written in the thirties, Christie's wry humor and wonderful vocabulary make this a great read! I enjoyed reading mysteries and challenging my vocabulary when I was young, so this is a good book for 11 to infinity. For Anglophiles, a Christie mystery is great with a cup of hot tea and a biscuit (cookie to you Yanks). I'm more familiar with Poirot, but I loved reading the first Miss Marple.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is one of my favorite books.

    The characters were good. The plot is awesome. I was even thrilled a bit and kept me guessing who the murderer was. I love the writing style. Agatha Christie have always originality. It is a bit dramatic and romantic. The ending was so surprising. I recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Miss Marple starts her "career"

    It took me a little while to "get into" this story, perhaps because of the British-isms or the older style of writing. I'm glad I persevered, though. The characters are interesting, the plot has great twists and turns, and Miss Marple is a gem. A very good read, worth your time and money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2015

    Typical Agatha Christie Style. Written in the 1920's some of th

    Typical Agatha Christie Style. Written in the 1920's some of the remarks about women are not politically correct but certainly in keeping with the time frame of the story. Plot gets a bit confusing at times due to the many characters involved. Overall, a good book. Worth reading..

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  • Posted October 3, 2013

    "...anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing th

    "...anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a service" remarked the Vicar of St. Mary Mead, Len Clement. But what he didn't anticipate at that time was the fact that this statement of his would come back to trouble him when Colonel Protheroe is found shot in his own library some hours later.

    Colonel Protheroe is a thoroughly despised man. There is not one person in the whole village who likes him. His first wife left him, his daughter hates him and his second wife is also on the verge of running away from him! He is pompous, a self imposed authority on things he has little knowledge of and a little deaf too so that his voice is always loud. Therefore his death leaves everyone restless because it seems all have a motive for wanting him dead!

    A place filled with old, nosy ladies who know the ins and outs of everyone there is Miss Marple who is the next door neighbor to the Vicar and who it seems has her own seven suspects who she thinks had perfect opportunity and motive to kill the Colonel. As she goes sleuthing, shocking secrets are revealed and what with everyone confessing to the murder, the police are left clueless and its up to Miss Marple to pick out the real murderer.

    But can she find the real murderer or will she also find herself lost in the web of deception and lies surrounding the murder?

    A classic first novel that introduces Miss Marple. I have lost count of the number of times I have read books by Agatha Christie and its no different with Murder at the Vicarage which has always intrigued and hooked me irrespective of all the times I have already read it!

    I have always loved Christie's expertise at sketching her characters and this book also showcases her skill.
    The character sketch of Miss Marple, who is compared to another busybody of the village Miss Wetherby, is very interesting and creates an instant picture of an old and frail grandmother like figure in our minds.

    'Miss Marple is a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner - Miss Wetherby is a mixture of vinegar and gush. Of the two Miss Marple is much the more dangerous.'

    This is the only book that has her sketched in a bad light. She is disliked by Griselda who describes her as "..the worst cat in the village..And she always knows every single thing that happens- and draws the worst inferences from it." Even the Vicar's nephew, Dennis calls her the "terrible Miss Marple".
    In all her other novels she is always sketched as the very tame and perfectly harmless old spinster who is so old that often people thinking her a little gaga share their secrets never once suspecting that behind her facade of fragility is a mind most sharp and alert!

    I also loved the character of Griselda, the Vicaress, who is introduced in a very engaging manner by the Vicar.
    "My wife's name is Griselda- a highly suitable name for a parson's wife. But there the suitability ends. She is not in the least meek."

    The narration is from the point of view of the Vicar and it adds a fresh perspective of a common spectator to the already very interesting plot. Though not the best Miss Marple case yet this is a very challenging case which exercises all the reader's investigative prowess.

    But I think the most appealing aspect of this book which lures me again and again to read it is the humor in it. There is Griselda who is extra protective of her maid Mary, despite her being a terrible cook, because as long as she’s a bad cook nobody else will want to hire her! 
    Then there are the old gossipy women who know everything about everyone and news through them spreads faster than even an eye blink!

    As the Vicar aptly puts it
    "It is a mystery to me how any one gets any nourishment in this place. They must eat their meals standing up by the window so as to be sure of not missing anything."

    and "Miss Marple always sees everything. Gardening is as good as a smokescreen, and the habit of observing birds through powerful glasses can always be turned to account."

    A typical Christie mystery where any and everyone is a suspect and when the real culprit comes to light at the end its always someone who was as far down in our list of possible murderers as expecting snow to fall in the summers! :)

    I give Murder at the Vicarage 4.2 out of 5 and recommend that you read and meet the enigmatic Miss Marple as she solves her first case. :)

    "Miss Marple is not the type of elderly lady who  makes mistakes. She has got an uncanny knack of being always right."

    This review is also available on blog Njkinny's World of Books.. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Completely threw me off!

    I have never been so clueless reading a mystery as I was reading this! How nice to be kept on my toes all the way to the end!

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    I had never read anything by Agatha Christie until this book. I

    I had never read anything by Agatha Christie until this book. I had heard of the “Miss Marple” mysteries, and I assumed that these stories would be narrated by Miss Marple herself. I surprised to find that the story is narrated instead by the vicar of St. Mary Mead. I felt the same way reading this book as I feel watching reruns of “Keeping up Appearances” or “Are You Being Served Again?” on BBC America. There is so much of the charm of the British village where everyone goes to the same church, neighbors know everybody’s business, and the smallest deviation in the daily routine is fuel for the local gossips for weeks. I wanted to snuggle up under a blanket with a cup of tea and watch Miss Marple figure out who murdered who and why.

    The premise of the book is that the vicar, Mr. Clement, returns home one evening to find Colonel Protheroe (a cranky old man that nobody thought much of) has been shot in the vicarage study. Mistakes and misunderstandings ensue, all carefully watched by Miss Marple, as Clement tries to help the local police unmask the murderer. Christie has a very dry sense of humor, and I found myself smiling frequently as I read Miss Marple’s observations of Peculiar Things. I thought the pace of the book was great. You suspect almost every character of murdering Protheroe at one point or another, and Christie tosses up clues or red herrings at the end of almost every chapter. I will certainly more of these mysteries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2012

    Good story line

    Very typical for this author. A fun book to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Good Mystery

    Agatha Christie is a wonderful author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Just fun!

    Who doesn't love a Agatha Christie story?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    A Decent Story

    This was a phenominal detective story. Admittedly it was rather slow in the beginning as it tried to grasp its footing, but once it got going it was amazing. Ms Marple is a quirky and fun character. I just wish I had gotten to know her through her ppint of view. Four stars is fair.

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Captures the setting perfectly

    Speaking as the pastor of a small church in a small town where everyone (especially the little old ladies) knows everything about everyone else, I must say that Agatha Christie perfectly captured this setting in Murder at the Vicarage. This mystery was very well-written. She doesn't muck about setting the scene for half the book before anything actually happens, and though I guessed a couple of the twists/surprises well in advance, it wasn't enough to give away "whodunnit." The only reason I give it four stars instead of five is that I feel that just about anything in the mystery genre has a rather low re-read value...good thing Dame Agatha has so many more books out there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    These are like eating chocolates,

    Im just rereadind the miss marples, they are so fun

    If you like these, you will like another small town series, best friends mysteries
    The first one is
    bad to the last drop
    Happy reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Kept me guessing until the end....

    A little long in getting to the end and long for Marple's role to take shape, but worth the investment.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    If you haven't ever read an Agatha Christie novel, this would be one to check out!

    I had grown up hearing about "Agatha Christie novels" and was excited to finally read one. I was not necessarily let down as the novel and characters were interesting, however, the novel does move slowly and is pretty predictible as far as detective novels go.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Would recommend

    This book kept me on my toes. The character development was great, which is something usually lacking in this genre.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Enjoyable!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2011

    A Classic

    Agatha Christie at her best. Makes you want to read more of her writings.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    Clever! Great read!

    Good book for those who like mysteries!

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Great classic

    Great Agatha Christie classic. Has a surprise ending you didn't expect.

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