A Caribbean Mystery

( 19 )

Overview

As Miss Marple sat basking in the Caribbean sunshine, she felt mildly discontented with life. True, the warmth eased her rheumatism, but here in paradise nothing ever happened.

Eventually, her interest was aroused by an old soldier's yarn about a murderer he had known. Infuriatingly, just as he was about to show her a snapshot of this acquaintance, the Major was suddenly interrupted. A diversion that was to prove fatal.

...
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Overview

As Miss Marple sat basking in the Caribbean sunshine, she felt mildly discontented with life. True, the warmth eased her rheumatism, but here in paradise nothing ever happened.

Eventually, her interest was aroused by an old soldier's yarn about a murderer he had known. Infuriatingly, just as he was about to show her a snapshot of this acquaintance, the Major was suddenly interrupted. A diversion that was to prove fatal.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
No one does it better than Agatha Christie.
New Statesman and Nation
Agatha Christie is beyond criticism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062265791
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in one hundred foreign countries. She is the author of eighty novels and short-story collections, nineteen plays, and six novels under the name Mary Westmacott. She died in 1976.

Biography

Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language, and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and a short story collection, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Agatha Christie died in 1976.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Westmacott (used for her romantic fiction)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 15, 1890
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 12, 1976

Read an Excerpt

Major Palgrave
tells a Story


"Take all this business about Kenya," said Major Palgrave. "Lots of chaps gabbing away who know nothing about the place! Now I spent fourteen years of my life there. Some of the best years of my life, too--"

Old Miss Marple inclined her head.

It was a gentle gesture of courtesy. While Major Palgrave proceeded with the somewhat uninteresting recollections of a lifetime, Miss Marple peacefully pursued her own thoughts. It was a routine with which she was well acquainted. The locale varied. In the past, it had been predominantly India. Majors, colonels, lieutenant-generals--and a familiar series of words: Simla. Bearers. Tigers. Chota Havi--Tiffin. Khitmagars, and so on. With Major Palgrave the terms were slightly different. Safari. Kikuyu. Elephants. Swahili. But the pattern was essentially the same. An elderly man who needed a listener so that he could, in memory, relive days in which he had been happy. Days when his back had been straight, his eyesight keen, his hearing acute. Some of these talkers had been handsome soldierly old boys, some again had been regrettably unattractive; and Major Palgrave, purple of face, with a glass eye, and the general appearance of a stuffed frog, belonged in the latter category

Miss Marple had bestowed on all of them the same gentle charity. She had sat attentively, inclining her head from time to time in gentle agreement, thinking her own thoughts and enjoying what there was to enjoy, in this case the deep blue of a Caribbean Sea.

So kind of dear Raymond, she was thinking gratefully, so really and truly kind.... Why he should take so much troubleabout his old aunt, she really did not know. Conscience, perhaps; family feeling? Or possibly he was truly fond. of her . . .

She thought, on the whole, that he was fond of her-he always had been--in a slightly exasperated and contemp. tuous way! Always trying to bring her, up to date. Sending her books to read. Modem novels. So difficult-all about such unpleasant people, doing such very odd things and not, apparently, even enjoying them. "Sex" as a word had not been much mentioned in Miss Marple's young days, but there had been plenty of it--not talked about so muchbut enjoyed far more than nowadays, or so it seemed to her. Though, usually labelled Sin, she couldn't help feeling that that was preferable to what it seemed, to be nowaday--a kind of, Duty.

Her glance strayed for a moment to the book on her lap lying open at page twenty-three, which was as far as shehad got (and indeed as far as she felt like getting!).

"Do you mean that you've had no sexual experience at ALL?" demanded the young man incredulously. "At nineteen! But you must. It's vital."

The girl hung her head unhappily, her straight greasy hair fell forward over her face.

"I know," she muttered, "I know."

He looked at her, stained old jersey, the bare feet, the dirty toenails, the smell of rancid fat ... He wondered why he found her so maddeningly attractive.

Miss Marple wondered, too! And really! to have sex experience urged on you exactly as though it was an iron tonic! Poor young things...

"My dear Aunt Jane, why must you bury your head in the sand like a very delightful ostrich? All bound up in this idyllic rural life of yours. REAL LIFE--that's what matters."

Thus Raymond--and his Aunt Jane had looked properly abashed and said "Yes," she was, afraid she was rather old-fashioned.

Though really rural life was far from idyllic. People likeRaymond were so ignorant. In, the course of her dutiesin a country parish, Jane Marple had acquired quite acomprehensive knowledge of thefacts of rural life. She hadno urge to talk about them, far less to write about them-but she knew them. Plenty of sex, natural and unnatural.Rape, incest, perversions of all kinds. (Some kinds, indeed,that even the clever young men from Oxford who wrotebooks didn't seem to have heard about.)

Miss Marple came back to the Caribbean and took up the thread of what Major Palgrave was saying....

"A very unusual experience," she said encouragingly., "Most interesting."

"I could tell you a lot more. Some of the things, of course, not fit for a lady's ears--"

With the ease of long practice, Miss Marple dropped her eyelids in a fluttery fashion, and Major Palgrave continued his bowdlerized version of tribal customs while Miss Marple resumed her thoughts of her affectionate nephew.

Raymond West was a very successful novelist and made a large income, and he conscientiously and kindly did all he, could to alleviate the life of his elderly aunt. The preceding winter she had had a bad go of pneumonia, and medical opinion had advised sunshine. In lordly fashion Raymond had suggested a trip to the West Indies. Miss Marple had demurred--at the expense, the distance, the difficulties of travel, and at abandoning her house in St. Mary Mead. Raymond had dealt with everything. A friend who was writing a book wanted a quiet place in the country. "He'll look after the house all right. He's very house-proud. He's a queer. I mean--"

He had paused, slightly embarrassed-but surely even dear old Aunt Jane must have heard of queers.

He went on to deal with the next points. Travel was nothing nowadays. She would go by air-another friend, Diana Horrocks, was going out to Trinidad and would see Aunt Jane was all right as far as there, and at St. Honore she would stay at the Golden Palm Hotel, which was run by the Sandersons. Nicest couple in the world. They'd see she was all right. He'd write to them straightaway.

As it happened the Sandersons had returned to England. But their successors, the Kendals, had been very nice and friendly and had assured Raymond that he need have no qualms about his aunt. . . .

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2001

    Love This Book!

    This book is one of my favorites! The twisted plot gives it a hard to find murderer and fun reading. I would definatly recommend this book for anyone who likes a hard to solve mystery! My favorite character by far in any of Agatha Christie's books is Jane Marple, because she never fails to find the murderer, even though she is old. If you begin to read this book and find it boring, don't give up on it! It will get better very soon!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    Very Witty!

    This book was witty, but not quite as witty and clever as Agatha Christie's 'Hercule Poirot' series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2000

    Out Of Her Element

    Miss Marple is sent to the West Indies by her nephew Raymond West who hopes the sunshine will help her rheumatism and speed her recovery from a touch of pneumonia. While there, she stays at the Golden Palm Hotel. In a conversation with retired Major Palgrave she hears a story about a murderer who may be nearby. The discussion is interrupted and before Miss Marple can learn more the Major is murdered. She sets out to solve the mystery utilizing her best weapon which is conversation.Away from St. Mary Meade or similar environments , however, Miss Marple is out of her element and without her usual friends and contacts to discuss the case.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    EXOTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love the Carribbean! Fantastic setting for a murder mystery . Could'nt think of anything better!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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