Marple: Twelve New Mysteries
by Agatha Christie, Alyssa Cole, Dreda Mitchell, Elly Griffiths, Jean Kwok, Karen McManus, Kate Mosse, Leigh Bardugo, Lucy Foley, Naomi Alderman, Natalie Haynes, Ruth Ware, Val McDermid
Publication Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Anthologies, Mystery, Short Story
Fits Halloween Bingo Squares: Amateur Sleuth, Arsenic and Old Lace
This collection of a dozen original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Agatha Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.
Just a little write-up on the overall book, my comments on the individual stories are behind the page break.
The one thing I cannot say is that I was disappointed by this book. I had no expectation that this book would be a good read, and I was proved right, so my expectations were absolutely met. Overall, this book has, in my opinion, little reason to exist other than as an obvious cash-grab by the publishers.
Maybe it would have helped to have been provided some introduction as to why the authors were chosen for this collection, or even a few words by the authors themselves about how they approached the commission. Maybe this would have just made this a longer book.
I gave it 1*. While there are a handful of ok/good stories (including one great Marple story), I felt duped by the publishers who I felt just wanted to make a fast buck here.
The 1* is to say “Down with that sort of thing!”. Had the publishers been serious about quality control, we would have seen better offerings of stories and none of this Sayers plagiarism or turning a beloved established villager into a killer thing. I’m still seething about that one. I happen to like that character a lot and feel that story is just a huge injustice, nay defamation! of her character, especially when I think of “new readers” (not necessarily young ones) potentially being introduced to the Christie-verse by way of this collection.
I also feel that the inclusion of these sub-standard stories, kinda reflect badly on the authors who did actually put some effort into writing a proper Marple story.
I just cannot recommend this book. If I had to I could recommend about 33% of the book, which is way too little.
#1 – Evil in Small Places by Lucy Foley – 1*
# 2 -The Second Murder at the Vicarage by Val McDermid – 4*
# 3 – Miss MarpleTakes Manhattan by Alyssa Cole – 0*
# 4 – The Unravelling by Natalie Haynes – 3.5*
# 5 – Miss Marple’s Christmas by Ruth Ware – 1*
# 6 – The Open Mind by Naomi Alderman – 0*
# 7 – The Jade Empress by Jean Kwok – 3*
# 8 – A Deadly Wedding Day by Dreda Say Mitchell – 3*
# 9 – Murder at the Villa Rosa by Elly Griffiths – 4*
# 10 – The Murdering Sort by Karen M. McManus – 0*
# 11 – The Mystery of the Acid Soil by Kate Mosse – 5*
# 12 – The Disappearance by Leigh Bardugo – 0*
However, as far as buddy reads go, this was a great one. I seriously doubt that I would even have made it through the collection had it not been for my fellow readers, Lillelara and MR, and for everyone else who added to the discussion.
Comments on previously read stories are behind the page break.