2* (out of 5*)
‘She’s going to take it on, is she? Sporting old bean,’ he said. Then he added, ‘I suppose she knows something of what it’s all about, does she?’ ‘Apparently not,’ said Mr Broadribb.
I would have reviewed this one a while ago, right after I read the book, in fact, but I really didn’t want to be reminded about much of the book.
I have really grown to dislike Miss Marple and this book is a fine example of everything that bugs me about her character.
From her innate xenophobia:
“The fourth chair was occupied by Mr Caspar whom Miss Marple considered as not sufficiently conversant with the English language to matter.”
“Miss Marple had never quite succeeded in abandoning her Victorian view of foreigners. One never knew with foreigners. Quite absurd, of course, to feel like that – she had many friends from various foreign countries. All the same . . . ?”
to her being a judgmental old busy-body:
“One of them was very definitely the complaining type, one who would want to have seats at the front of the coach or else would make a point of having them at the back of the coach. Would wish to sit on the sunny side or could only bear to sit on the shady side. Who would want more fresh air, or less fresh air.”
and a little bit deluded – though it was weird to even read about this potential love interest:
“Poor Mr Rafiel. The ship that had passed in the night had been an interesting ship. Once you got used to his being rude, he might have been quite an agreeable man? No! She shook her head. Mr Rafiel could never have been an agreeable man. Well, she must put Mr Rafiel out of her head. Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing; Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness.”
I have not read The Caribbean Mystery, yet, but I somehow doubt there was such a thing in it as a blossoming romance between old Marple and Mr. Rafiel.
Just as I know there is a disconnect between this utterance…
“Miss Marple packed a suitcase bag, went to London, booked a room at a modest hotel – (‘Ah, Bertram’s Hotel,’ she thought in her mind, ‘what a wonderful hotel that was!”
…and the fact that Marple disapproved of Bertram’s Hotel by the end of the book (At Bertram’s Hotel) written six years before Nemesis. So, having paid a little attention, I found this book to be containing more “continuity errors” than I can put up with.
Anyway, I won’t give anything away about the somewhat far-fetched plot but Marple is not the only bone of contention with this book. As Obsidian has also summarised, there are also concerns with the book with respect to the issue of victim shaming and the trivialisation of rape.
I don’t know if the poor quality of the story is down to Dame Agatha loosing touch with readers in her later work or what, but Nemesis pretty much made the decision for me that Miss Marple is not all she’s cracked up to be.
“She looked round the church in which she was sitting. It looked so peaceful. The reality of Evil was hard to believe in. A flair for Evil – that was what Mr Rafiel had attributed to her.”
Yeah, I think I’m with Mr. Rafiel on this one.