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Miss Marple #2

Murder at the Vicarage

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‘Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,’ declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, ‘would be doing the world at large a favour!’ It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later – when the colonel was found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe.

Librarian's note: this entry is for the novel "Murder at the Vicarage." Collections and other Miss Marple stories are located elsewhere on Goodreads. The series includes 12 novels and 20 short stories. Entries for the short stories can be found by searching Goodreads for: "a Miss Marple Short Story."

288 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 1930

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About the author

Agatha Christie

5,291 books59.5k followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

More than seventy detective novels of British writer Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie include The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), and And Then There Were None (1939); she also wrote plays, including The Mousetrap (1952).

This best-selling author of all time wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in romance. Her books sold more than a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, people translated her works into 103 languages at least, the most for an individual author. Of the most enduring figures in crime literature, she created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She atuhored The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theater.

The youngest of three children of the Miller family. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie's room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha's greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empir

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5 stars
65,181 (36%)
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37,589 (20%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,591 reviews
Profile Image for Brina.
903 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2017
Dame Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery writers who all modern aspirants strive to emulate. I enjoy reading her cases featuring detective Hercule Poirot because he knows the outcome well before the reader. Christie's cases are multilayered and keep unraveling until a book's conclusion. Enjoying these thought provoking cases, I decided to introduce myself to her other famous sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. There is no better place to start than Murder at the Vicarage, the book that introduced Miss Marple to the world.

Leonard Clement along with his wife Griselda run the vicarage in sleepy village St Mary Mead. A hamlet that barely classifies as a town, all people know everyone else's business, and the vicar is looked to for guidance on all matters, religious or not. The case begins as Colonel Lucius Protheroe meets with Clement to discuss a pressing matter. Yet, before Clement can join Protheroe in his study, he finds the Colonel murdered there.

As in Christie's cases featuring Poirot, the police assigned to this case appear to be inept at best. All of the old women in St Mary Mead believe that they can solve the crime better than the inspectors can. No meddling spinster has much to offer Clement on this cases except for his neighbor, the witty Jane Marple. Miss Marple immediately declares that she has seven suspects, but she is pretty sure she knows whodunit. As in many modern cases featuring private eyes, the police do not appreciate Marple getting in their way, and beg her off the case. Yet, she has eyes and ears everywhere, and early on it is obvious that Miss Marple will solve the case while the police are slugging through basic evidence.

Unlike the sophisticated Poirot, Miss Marple appears as anyone's neighbor. She is a sweet older woman yet feisty and would be interesting to get to know. Whereas Poirot exercises his little gray cells, Miss Marple snoops around, her main objective to provide safety to the village that she lives in. A forerunner to today's cozy mysteries, Miss Marple appears to provide an easy reading contrast to Poirot's cases which have me thinking throughout.

A voracious mystery reader, I did enjoy Miss Marple as a change because she could be any citizen who desires to solve a mystery. As expected she does reach the case's conclusion before the police, who are at a collective wit's end. Dame Christie is still the standard bearer for all modern mystery writers, and while I prefer Hercule Poirot, I have a feeling I will be revisiting Miss Marple as well. 3.75 stars.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,920 reviews69.3k followers
March 30, 2023
Miss Marple's 1st book!


But beyond that, this is really just a fabulous example of Agatha Christie at her best.
This was my first time reading (actually listening) The Murder at the Vicarage and I was blown away by how enjoyable it was. Especially considering I've read a ton of her books and pretty much knew what to expect out of her mysteries.


I knew I didn't know who did it, but I swear I thought I knew who didn't do it!
I was (as always) dead wrong.

So the gist is that the town Vicar gets caught up in a murder mystery that happens in his home while he's out visiting a sick parishioner.
Well, if the police can't figure it out, just leave it to the nosey little old lady who lives around the corner...


Joan Hickson narrated the audiobook I listened to, and she was fabulous.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
April 23, 2022
The Murder At The Vicarage (Miss Marple #1), Agatha Christie

Original Publication Year 1930.

Abstract: Debut of Miss Jane Marple, village busybody who applies human nature to crimes. Colonel Protheroe, magistrate universally despised, was shot in his study, unheard. His wife Anne admits newly arrived artist Lawrence Redding is an old flame, and both confess to murder. The local inspector and Jane sort through to the truth.

Characters: Miss Jane Marple, Inspector Slack, Lawrence Redding, Len Clement, Griselda Clement, Colonel Protheroe, Anne Protheroe, Lettice Protheroe, Dr. Haydock, Mrs. LeStrange, Dr. Stone, Gladys Cram, Dennis Clement, Mary, a maid, Hawes.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه نوامبر سال1993میلادی

عنوان: قتل در خانه کشیش، نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: فرزانه طاهری، تهران، طرح نو، سال1372؛ چاپ دوم سال‏‫1387،‬‬ ‏در‏‫372ص،‬ ‏شابک‏‫‭9789644890895‬؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

عنوان سه: قتل در خانه کشیش، نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم مجتبی عبدالله‌ نژاد، نشر تهران، کتاب هرمس، کتابهای کارآگاه‏‫، سال1388؛ در307ص؛ شابک9789643635756؛

کشیش «لئونارد کلمنت»، راوی رویدادهای ناگواری است، که در «سنت‌ ماری مید» روی می‌دهند، و باعث مرگ یکی از اهالی روستا یعنی «کلنل پروترو» می‌شود؛ «کلنل پروترو»، در «سنت‌ ماری مید» شخص منفوری است، و حتی مرد محترمی مثل «لئونارد کلمنت» اعتراف می‌کند، که (هرکس کلنل پروترو را بکشد، به همه دنیا لطف بزرگی کرده)؛ حرف‌های درگوشی مردم آبادی، محور گفتگوی مهمانی چای، در اتاق پذیرایی خانه کشیش است؛ یکی از مهمانان هم «دوشیزه مارپل» است، ...؛ «قتل در خانه کشیش»، نخستین ماجراهای «دوشیزه مارپل»، و نخستین تصویری است که از روستای محبوب «سنت‌ ماری مید» ارائه می‌شود؛ «کریستی» در زندگینامه‌ اش نگاشته (قتل در خانه کشیش، در سال1930میلادی انتشار یافت؛ ولی یادم نمی‌آید کی، کجا یا چطور آن را نوشتم، یا اصلا چرا دست به نگارش آن زدم، یا چه عاملی باعث خلق شخصیت داستانی جدیدی مثل «دوشیزه مارپل» شد، و چرا چنین کسی را به عنوان کارآگاه انتخاب کردم)؛ روانشاد «کریستی» گفته، (دنبال آفریتش رقیبی برای «پوآرو» نبوده، و در ابتدا قصد نداشته اند داستانهای دیگری با حضور «دوشیزه مارپل» بنویسند)؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 22/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 02/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,579 followers
January 17, 2019
A solid 4.5 stars for Murder at the Vicarage, the first novel in the Miss Marple cozy mystery series, written by Agatha Christie in 1930. I've read ~ten novels by Christie and this one is near the top of the list for me. From the characters to the setting and the plot to the tone, it's an intriguing and immersive read. It started out a bit slow for me as the scene was being set, but once the murder happened, it took off in quick force. I can happily say that I had 2 potential guesses as the culprit(s), and I was correct (which doesn't always happen). I also knew there was way too much reference to 'time on clocks' for it not to be important; someone messed with the spinning needles to change the appearance of when the murder happened. But only by minutes... and you'll never guess how important it was!

For many, this will be too on-the-nose or over-simplified when it comes to the layout at approach of Miss Marple's investigation. Though she's responsible for solving it, she's not the main character. The vicar tells us the story of what happened to the deceased, and he interacts with the detectives investigating the crime. Another priest is nearly murdered, but he's not very well liked, so it's okay, right? Some think so... but not all the 'little old biddies' (how the book refers to them) are in agreement. The gossip is out of control in this book, but I adored it for what it was -- a clever plot technique to reveal clues and keep us guessing. Add in the very peculiar marriages between the different priests and their wives, and it's baffling what life was like a century ago. But I'd give nearly anything to be part of it.

What appeals to me most in these Marple novels is how she drops a few thoughts, then scatters around. She leaves mysterious notes for someone to come see her, then won't reveal everything she's thinking. She teases us. But it's as much fun as it is frustrating. She knows, but she's not 100% certain how... so she won't say it all at once until she's got every nasty little detail ferreted out.

The poor vicar suffers in this one as the murder happens in his house -- everyone is up in his business. We know it can't be him or his wife, but wow do they look suspicious. Add in the side-stories and you've got one easy read. It just makes me smile to absorb these quaint settings and stories. I think even though this is the last in my April Agatha Christie Readathon, I am going to keep reading one a month this year.
Profile Image for Adrian.
562 reviews197 followers
January 11, 2021
2021 English Mysteries - Miss Marple Group Read
Having read this less than 4 years I was surprised at how little I remembered of the book. Is it age or just the fact that in the intervening years I have read a large number of detective mystery stories. I'm plumping for the latter option. 😊
This book, the first with Miss Marple, is set entirely within St Mary Mead, in fact the vast majority is within 100 yards of The Vicarage, and guess who happens to live next door ? Yes, thats right, the redoubtable Miss Marple.
This book sees Miss Marple bring all her knowledge of humanity to bear to solve the crime, obviously with a little help from Colonel Meltchet.
I originally gave this book 4 stars , but am seriously considering upping to 5 stars. I shall ponder.

2017 Reading the Detectives - Miss Marple Group Read
What a marvellous book, I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to read Agatha Christie's books. I read this many years ago but only remembered the Joan Hickson TV adaptation, and even then I didn't guess who did it prior to the denouement. Every time Miss Marple is mentioned I just see Joan Hickson (not Geraldine McEwan, nor Angela Lansbury, nor Margaret Rutherford, nor Julia McKenzie), always Joan Hickson, I can see her hesitating and saying "oh well" in a self deprecating manner as she does in the book.
Anyway enough on actresses, the book, was excellent and has spurred me on to read more Marples.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,228 followers
March 6, 2021
Murder most proper.

Agatha Christie's Murder at the Vicarage was my first Miss Marple. Now that I've had her I can say with knowledge born of experience, she ain't half bad!

The characters are dapper dandies and old teetotaler biddies. High manners and speech abound, aside from the occasional parlor maid, flatfoot, or old age pensioner. These sort of tea cozy mysteries are just a little too quaint, even for me...and I've read all of James Herriot.

Murder at the Vicarage has some clever misdirection. The murder is plausible, the details creditable and the solving of it all rewardingly confounding. The writing style is somewhat reminiscent of PG Wodehouse. He and Agatha were contemporaries, living through and writing within the same era, and I believe admired each other's work on some level. I tally this as a positive as I am a big Wodehouse fan. His work is light-handed, making for airy reading. The same can be said here. Mostly stress-free, highly enjoyable stuff that won't tax one's emotions too deeply.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,538 reviews9,830 followers
May 24, 2023
In 2022, William Morrow released new editions for the entire Miss Marple series. Each one features a beautiful floral design matched with stunning color combinations.

Like a Publisher's dream, I promptly bought the entire set. Then with all of these precious new softcovers in hand, I thought, when I am going to read all of these?

Since there are twelve full-length novels, I told myself, very sternly I might add, that I would read one per month for all of 2023. That sounds like a solid plan, right?

Well, it would have been, but then I put off starting the first one until March; now I am behind and the pressure is on...

I have to say though, after completing this one, I am reinvigorated in my quest to read all of Miss Marple's novels in order. This was such a fun time.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first full-length novel in the series and I was actually surprised that Miss Marple is not the MC/narrator. The Vicar, Leonard Clement, is!

I don't know why I didn't know that, but I liked it a lot. It was fun to get to know the icon, Miss Jane Marple, from an outside perspective. You get her pluses and her minuses. A more honest interpretation, you could say.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this. It was completely engaging from the start. The murdered man, one Colonel Protheroe, was a bit of curmudgeon. He was a Judge and definitely had more enemies than friends. Even the Vicar had a cross word for him a time or two.

After Protheroe is murdered at the Vicarage, the entire village of St. Mary Mead seems to become involved in the investigation.

As you can imagine, no other citizen has more to offer in the solving of said crime than our Miss Marple. That woman misses nothing, usually because she's spying on everyone from the comfort of her garden.

It was interesting for me to consider how the tropes involved in this story are all fairly well-known tropes today, but at this time, it wasn't quite like that. It sort of all began with Christie, you know?

Her work has influenced so many creators over the years and her formulaic writing style is the epitome of a classic mystery. I love it. I found this to be so comfortable and fun, it was like a warm drink on an eerie night.

I am definitely continuing on with the series straight away. Next up is The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery, which will be a reread for me.

It's actually one of my favorite Christie's that I have read, so I am really excited to revisit it with my stunning new edition!!
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,621 followers
April 16, 2018
هل تعرف تلك الجارة الكبيرة في السن، التي تعيش وحدها فلديها الكثير من الوقت فتتسلي بأن تري (تراقب) كل جيرانها، تعرف كل شئ عن الجميع وتحركاتهم

هكذا قررت أجاثا كريستي تقديم أول بطلة نسائية لسلاسل التحقيقات البوليسية..ميس ماربل

هي ليست "محققة" كهيراكول بوارو او شيرلوك...فقط هي الجارة العانس الفضولية دقيقة الملاحظة بقرية سانت ماري ميد

وكما ذكر بالرواية، فإن موهبة كتلك تضاهي، بل تفوق خبرة أي محقق في إنجلترا
او علي الاقل هي كذلك في روايتها الأولي، جريمة في بيت الكاهن

كاهن القرية نفسه في البداية كان يتمني أن يقتل أحدهم الكولونيل ليسدي العالم خدمة
وياللعجب، في اليوم التالي يجده صريعا في مكتب بيت الكاهن نفسه حيث كان ينتظره ليراجع معه حسابات الكنيسة حيث يشك في تلاعب باموالها

الضابط المكلف بالتحقيق متعجرف، والسيدات في البلدة لا تدور احاديث النميمة بينهن سوي عن شائعات وحقائق العلاقات العاطفية التي تدور بين اهل القرية الصغيرة
اما السيدة ماربل ، التي تعرف كل شئ ، فهي لديها علي الاقل 7 مشتبه بهم في قتل الكولونيل

وبين جلسات النميمة ، والسيدة ماربل التي تبدو أنها فضولية مزعجة...وحيرة الكاهن والذي يعتبر راوي الاحداث ستشك في الكثير ... حتي الراوي نفسه، بل القرية جمعاء التي لم تكن تطيق الكولونيل
ومن يدري....كلها حبكات مختلفة عجيبة لاجاثا والتي ستبهرك دوما

قد تكون الأنسة ماربل دورها ليس الأكبر هنا في حكاية لكن بالتأكيد ملاحظاتها هي الاهم
هي اول رواية لها من اصل 12 رواية رغم نشر قصة قصيرة لها سابقا اضيفت لاحقا كفصل من فصول رواية لاحقة

استوحتها الجميلة أجاثا كريستي من عمتها و ايضا جدتها..وهي نموذج ستجد مثيلته الكثير وليس في القري الإنجليزية الصغيرة فحسب بل في اي مكان بالعالم

واتذكر انها دوما كانت تتحدث عن الحاسة السادسة للنساء بالاخص برواية مقتل السيد روجر اركويد فقد قدمت ذلك النوع من الشخصيات في دور شخصية اخت الراوي
“النساء تلاحظ لاشعوريا ألاف التفاصيل الدقيقة، دون علمهن بفعلتهن تلك. عقلهن الباطن يُجمّع تلك الأشياء الصغيرة معا- وتكون النتيجة هي الحدس 'الحاسة السادسة'.”

وقررت هنا أجاثا بعد الحرب تقديم ذلك النوع من الشخصيات كبطلة اساسية للروايات كمحققة غير رسمية تماما، في شكل جديد للروايات البوليسية والجريمة من ملكة الجريمة نفسها

هنا ملاحظة الانسة ماربل لجيرانها دوما لها تبريرها ولا يمكن ان تقول عنها فضولية او حشرية بشكل مباشر....فهي دوما تعتني بحديقتها الجميلة ، ولديها منظار مقرب لان هوايتها هي مراقبة الطيور...وكلها امور بريئة تماما كما تري

من الاسباب الطريفة التي قرات عنها انها قدمت شخصية دفاعا عن النساء من تلك الفئة العمرية ، حيث انه قبل تلك الرواية اثار غضبها انه عندما تم تمثيل شخصية اخت الراوي برواية مقتل روجر اركويد تم الاستعانة بدور فتاة شابة بدلا من السيدة العانس...مما جعلها تريد ترسيخ تلك الشخصية في ادبها بدلا من ان يقوم مخرج او منتج تغيير مثل تلك الشخصية

“الشباب الصغير يظنون الكبار حمقي... لكن الكبار يعرفون ان الشباب الصغير حمقي.”

حسنا، هكذا قالت ماربل السيدة التي يبدو انها تعرف الكثير عن الطبيعة البشرية كما تعرف كل احوال اهل قريتها الصغيرة، والفضل يرجع، للبستنة ومراقبة الطيور علي ما اظن

والي قراءات اخري للانسة ماربل...وللسيدة ملكة الجريمة، اجاثا كريستي

محمد العربي
من 21 يناير 2018
الي 23 يناير 2018
Profile Image for PorshaJo.
453 reviews659 followers
January 24, 2019
Fiddledesticks! How could you not enjoy a book where the word fiddledesticks is used. I'm a fan of Agatha Christie. I read her a lot when I was much, much younger. But I don't remember most of the books I read. So every now and then I plan to pick up one of her books and indulge. And what a better place to start that the first in the Miss Marple series.

Murder at the Vicarage tells the story of well, a murder in the vicarage. St Mary Mead is a sleep town where not much happens. However, the ladies of the town know everyone's business and it's routinely gossiped about. Leonard Clement is the vicar and his wife Griselda, well, let's just say she's not much of the lady of the vicarage house. She doesn't cook, doesn't clean, drives her husband mad, but she loves Len and he truly loves her despite the big age gap of the two. Anyway, Len returns to vicarage one night after being called away to find none other than Colonel Protheroe, dead. Murdered. I doubt many of the townsfolk are upset by this news as Colonel Protheroe was not well liked and was quite mean. But seems there are quite a number of people who might have wanted him dead. So murder...enter some bumbling police who provide great entertainment but no chance of solving this crime. But luckily, there is Miss Marple, with her keen eye, well, that comes along with being a nosy busy body. Miss Marple is quite sharp and along with the vicar, she works to solve this crime.

What a wonderful story. I grabbed the audio and the narrator, Richard E. Grant, did an awesome job. I loved his narration and can still hear the voice of the vicar in my head. I liked the characters of Len Clement and his wife Griselda. I'm happy these two appear again in later Miss Marple books. But I had to knock it just a bit (hence 4 stars). It was so predictable, I guessed early on what happened. Though, it did not take away my enjoyment of this read. Also, there were a lot of characters to keep track of. And if I'm going to be totally honest....I prefer Poirot over Marple. But an entertaining read and great audio narration. I look forward to my next Christie book and more narrations by Mr. Grant. A quick, fun read for any Agatha Christie fan.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,012 reviews1,332 followers
March 30, 2021
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“The young people think the old people are fools — but the old people know the young people are fools.”

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors and her books are a comfort read for me when I want to distance myself away from my usual fantasy reads. Up to this point, I have been a bigger fan of Poirot and Miss Marple books were okay! This is my third book in the Miss Marple series that I read and is actually the book that introduces her!

There is a certain formula in the books I read by Agatha and I think it was missing here! I think the main problem here is that Marple is supposed to be the hero of the story but she is absent for the most of it, she is not a detective, the main character narrating the story is also not a detective which makes the whole thing a bit disjointed and sounds less professional than Poirot books!

“There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of uncertain age with plenty of time on her hands.”

Usually characters are explored more thoroughly in the books I read, now I don’t know where does this fall between all her published books but I think Agatha was still developing as a writer then. This was published in 1930 and I think every time I read her books, it feels like going through a time machine and discovering a whole new (or old?) world!

The plot itself is not very special, it is a typical case of a whodunit where things initially looks like one thing and then grow to involve everyone and closes with us finding the real culprit! To be fair, I still got the rush I get whenever the last chapters reveal everything but in this particular book I think it was not enough to make up for the whole book!

“I often wonder why the whole world is so prone to generalise. Generalisations are seldom if ever true and are usually utterly inaccurate.”

Summary: Another good book by Chritstie which is the introduction of Miss Marple, the book seemed choppy at many points and I did not connect to the characters as much as I wanted but overall, it was still a satisfying read!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,057 followers
August 12, 2020
I am amazed I have not read this before. Or maybe I have but it was so long ago I have forgotten. Anyway it was really good, as good if not better than any of the other Miss Marple stories I have read.

It was certainly an interesting look at Jane Marple as she appeared for the first time and really as a lesser character. The main character and story teller was the Vicar, an apparently honest and caring man if a little too serious and unemotional at times. None of which prevented him being in the running as a suspect. Christie managed to make me suspect almost everyone except the eventual culprits.

No one was fooling Miss Marple though, but she kept her suspicions very close to her chest and did not declare them until every fact had fallen into place. She was a pleasure to watch as she let people assume she was a foolish old woman while actually pegging everyone's characters and behaviours very accurately. Very little gets past her!

I love the rural English setting of these novels and the fact that they are so well written. A very pleasant way to spend a few reading hours.
Profile Image for Tim.
476 reviews616 followers
July 20, 2020
So, I finished this one and I've come to a conclusion... I'm not a Miss Marple fan. Yes, yes, I know, I'm one of those basic Christie fans that she couldn't stand that delights every time Poirot says something witty/arrogant, and looks at all her other characters with a "that's very nice... could you write more Poirot now?" stance. Sure, I would have been polite enough not to say that... but the thought would have occurred (that said my favorite Christie novel is Crooked House which does not feature any of her recurring characters).

No, let me get this out of the way, the book wasn't bad. It was entertaining enough and while I was pretty sure I knew who did it (I was right), I couldn't figure out how it was done. That said, I just couldn't really get into it. It took me over a week to read (and Christie's books usually take me about two to three days) and the only character aspect I really enjoyed was the vicar and his wife's interactions.

This was just one of those books that I finished because I kind of felt like I had to and in the end it wasn't a bad read, it's not really one I can endorse... which is a bit sad. It's also the same way about A Murder Is Announced (the only other Marple book I've read, though I did not review it).

There was one really good thing about this book though. It may have had the absolute best quote I've read in one of Christie's novels. While I like her as an author, I don't particularly find her quotable, but this is certainly an exception:

“I was thinking,” I said, “that when my time comes, I should be sorry if the only plea I had to offer was that of justice. Because it might mean that only justice would be meted out to me...”

Very nice.

3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,448 reviews1,403 followers
October 20, 2022
First full-length novel of Miss Marple done. And it’s a mixed bag of opinions!

Story Synopsis:
There is a ‘murder at the vicarage’. Everyone is trying to figure out who did it. *shrug!*

Just so you know, this is the first full-length novel in which Miss Marple makes her appearance. However, her character was introduced to the world not through this novel but through a short story named "The Tuesday Night Club", which is a part of the The Thirteen Problems anthology. Now that I have read both, I feel you can begin with either of them, as both don't do a great job of *introducing* Miss Marple other than through indirect references. The information is obviously more detailed here as it is longer.

On the positive side:
😍 I did get to know a lot about Miss Marple the character. I think I will like her, as long as she gets a greater role in the remaining books.

😍 The narrator is a man, so but obviously, he knows nothing and all the women around him are up-to-date on village gossip. I found that hilarious!

😍 It contains some humorous remarks and lovely quotes.

On the ‘I-don’t-know-what-to-think-about-this’ side:
😑 The content is quite judgemental about women and their various negative tendencies. If this were by a male writer, I would have been ready with brickbats and cudgels. But coming from a woman writer, I am trying to figure out if she was being pedantic or sarcastic.

😑 The story starts nicely with a murder (on second thought, maybe ‘nicely’ isn’t the right word!) but the resolution goes in an unexpected direction. I liked the resolution but some of the red herrings were too farfetched.

On the negative side:
😕 The first person narration by the vicar does nothing for the story. He is boring!

😕 There’s hardly any detective work by Miss Marple for most of the story, which is more of a narration of events by the parson. She gets the highlight mainly towards the end of the book.

😕 How do so many people know the exact time something happened?!?!

😕 Typical info-dumping at the end, as in every mystery. (Sorry, mystery lovers, I have yet to become a fan of this modus operandi.)

3 stars.

Fingers crossed for the next - A Murder Is Announced.

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Profile Image for Susan.
2,643 reviews598 followers
December 20, 2016
This first Miss Marple mystery is deceptively gentle, with much of the story narrated by the mild mannered vicar. When he returns to the vicarage to find the body of Colonel Protheroe shot in his study, the vicar becomes involved in the murder investigation, aided by his neighbour Miss Marple. There is a wonderful list of suspects, motives and false trails along the way, until Jane Marple untangles the threads and makes everything clear.

Not only is this a masterfully plotted story, but it introduces us to St Mary Mead and a cast of characters who will become familiar friends in later books. There are surly housemaids, ne'er do well poachers, gossipy old ladies and crotchety old men in abundance. As Miss Marple is keen to point out, you can see all of life quite well in a small village and nobody understands the undercurrents of life quite like she does. Wonderful fun, well written and utterly delightful, if you have never tried this series, this first book is a great place to start.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
491 reviews644 followers
March 13, 2023
Agatha ha vuelto a jugar conmigo y me vio todita la cara de tonto. Y eso no me fastidia, claramente me fascina.

«No existe en Inglaterra detective alguno tan sagaz como una solterona de edad indefinida, sin nada que hacer durante todo el día.»

Es un libro con un caso tan distinto a los de Poirot y por eso me encantó ya que juega mucho más con el humor situacional. Tiene una narrativa desenfadada y con muchísima ironía, comedia e intervenciones brillantes. Y la revelación del crimen, que ciertamente ya ha pasado una igual anteriormente aún así se convierte en uno de los casos de que más me sorprendió.

Me encantó miss Marple a pesar del poco protagonismo también Griselda y Mary, quienes tenían unos comentarios demasiado chistosos. Y el otro trío de chismosas es igual de interesante. El inspector encargado del caso es feroz, antipático e imponente y no se deja ayudar a menos que él lo permita o lo ordene pero al final recibe un poco de su medicina. Y el protagonista (el vicario), no retrasa, sino que añade al hilo conductor más sentido ya que él trata con todo el pueblo y muchos recurren a él.

Es que a mi parecer este libro lo tiene todo: robos, infidelidad, pistas que buscan inculpar a otros, muchos sospechosos y el crimen. Luego vienen extrañas llamadas y acoso por medio de cartas y llamadas. Es buenísimo, a mí me entretuvo de comienzo a fin. Todo estuvo en su lugar.
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
797 reviews586 followers
February 7, 2017
I pondered (and pondered!) my rating but have decided to go enjoyment and how good this was for the first in a series - The Divine Christie had me completely fooled!

There are faults - too many characters (some very similar) and the characterisation of Miss M is very uneven - she is a right old bat at the start, but by the halfway point she is the amateur sleuth I love. The trademark fluffiness hides great powers of observation and deduction.

Like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) by Agatha Christie there is a lot more humour in this novel than most of her later ones. And an awareness of social issues. Ms Christie puts these words in one of her character's mouths;

“We think with horror now of the days when we burnt witches. I believe the day will come when we will shudder to think that we ever hanged criminals.”

Read with the Reading the Detectives group and most highly recommended!
Profile Image for Fabian {Councillor}.
231 reviews477 followers
June 20, 2016
Who doesn't know the famous Miss Marple and her investigation talents? When it comes to well-known detectives in classic literature, along with Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot she will belong to those who are mentioned first. I can almost imagine the gossipy, annoying and very inquisitive lady snooping around the village, and it's easy to understand why a smart character like her earned such a recognition beneath crime and mystery novels. "Murder at the Vicarage" is called the first book in the Miss Marple series, yet she only appears in a handful of scenes, irregularly interspersed in the course of this novel.

In the first place, Agatha Christie writes about a colonel's death and the small town's vicar who tries to discover the murderer's identity. Most of the characters will at some point of the novel be suspected of being the wanted murderer, but the reader should expect the final reveal to be somehow unpredictable. I thought I had figured out who the killer was halfway through the novel, but the outcome was ... I could not have been more wrong. And it would indeed be surprising if anyone else was as smart as Miss Marple in the quest of figuring out the identity of the culprit. However, this also caused another one of this book's weak spots: Although it is only 270 pages long, it dragged on for the second half, as nearly no new information were added and the investigators were more or less left groping in the dark.

Agatha Christie writes about very different characters trying to live in a small town where nothing ever happens - until this highly disliked man is murdered at the vicarage. As the novel is written from the first-person-perspective of the vicar, Leonard Clement, the reader has to rely on his observations, which made it even harder to guess the outcome of the murder mystery. After all, the author managed to write complicated and confusing murder mysteries with nearly no loose ends, however, something else fell by the wayside: the characters. With nearly no character development or interesting relationships present, it is hardly possible to get invested into the plot itself, and with Miss Marple being only a side character, the most interesting part of the novel was ignored for most of the time.

My first Miss Marple novel, my second Agatha Christie novel, and still no fan of her works. I guess I'll be staying faithful to Sherlock Holmes!
Profile Image for Piyangie.
519 reviews416 followers
January 16, 2022
It was difficult to rate this book. I wanted to do more justice to Agatha Christie and her brilliant mind, but my conscience nags at me; it tells me that in honesty I was not drawn into the story as I normally do when I read her novels. So here I'm divided and trying to justice to her and me both.

It was overall a good plot though not a novel one. The setting is a small village in England where life is slow and stagnant. In such a small village, it is not surprising that everybody knows everybody's business. Gossip mongers and story creators are all too common in such a closed community. In this setting, Agatha Christie brings in some interesting set of characters - old spinsters, widows, eccentric, spirited, and manipulative men and women. As always, her characters are a vibrant lot.

This is the first time that we are introduced to Christie's celebrated lady detective - the old Miss Jane Marple. Miss Marple who has made it her hobby to observe human nature rarely misses out on the important happenings in St. Mary Mead. She is sharp-witted and shrewd, and although she is no professional, it is no easy matter to delude her.

Having read books of the Poirot series, it was surprising for me to be introduced to a strikingly different detective (if I may use that word for Miss Marple). Whereas Poirot is an uncommonly brilliant detective, Miss Maple is more ordinary and reachable. In contrast to the strict professionalism demonstrated in Poirot, here is an ordinary old lady with her powers of observation and a decent deductive mind who solves a murder mystery which the local police fail to solve. What is interesting here is that she doesn't do anything actively to gather evidence; she only acts upon the evidence that was gathered and thrown her way by others.

At the onset, the story held my interest. I generally enjoyed the presentation of the incidents and characters in a tightly woven plotline. There is a fair amount of suspense from the point of murder that takes place at the Vicarage. Incident characters and events served as red herrings so the reader wouldn't guess the criminal before being revealed. All was good until I got to the end. With many twists and turns, the truth when revealed was quite the ordinary. I guessed it way before and was quite firm on my conviction until the author quite deliberately created confusion. That's what I call cheating. :)

It was odd how suddenly Miss Marple shines. When all the avenues of finding the murderer are exhausted, she comes forward and sums up methodically how the crime was planned and committed as if she had been in confidence with the criminals and being party to the crime. I found this brilliant summing up a little too good to be true. To begin with, the story is told by the Vicar. For most of the part, he plays the armature detective alongside the police inspectors. They gather evidence and all are passed to Miss Marple through the Vicar. Even medical evidence fails but Miss Marple saves the day. I'm sorry but that didn't quite agree with me.

Nevertheless, I cannot say I didn't enjoy the story. That is something you can't say when it comes to an Agatha Christie murder mystery. But to speak the truth, this work didn't rise to my expectation. I wasn't entirely drawn in. I think I was at the beginning, but slowly and especially toward the end, I lost my enthusiasm. The ending was a slap in my face and I still can feel the pain. It is sad to say this, but in truth, I was somewhat disappointed.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
April 24, 2019

The first Miss Marple mystery. The usual red herrings and mechanical Christie plot. This early Miss Marple is more acerbic and less endearing.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,511 reviews
February 15, 2020
Murder at the Vicarage is the first Miss Marple book to be written and published. Within the sleepy small village of St Mary Mead murder arrives when Colonel Protheroe, a much disliked prominent member of society is found dead in the study of Vicar, Reverend Clement’s study. Told through a first person narrative of Rev Clement, we observe and bumble along with the vicar the progress of the investigation to discovery of the murderer(s) through the deductions of Miss Marple.

A slow but delightful story in which we view how Miss Marple’s superior powers of deductive reasoning is initially overlooked by the police, but not the reader as the vicar often draws our attention to his knowledge of Miss Marple’s sleuthing abilities. This affords the reader some superiority over the police as we have some insider information to not judge a person (old woman) by their appearance.

Within the story I particular enjoyed the way today’s readers able to draw parallels between our society and human behaviour and that witnessed and described by Miss Marple in Post War Britain. I also enjoyed the subtle comedy which winds throughout the story in Rev Clement’s storytelling. Overall reading this book had a been lovely way to spend to couple of days.
Profile Image for Jay Schutt.
251 reviews82 followers
August 23, 2020
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott
Of Agatha Christie - "The champion deceiver of our time." - New York Times
"A right clever one, this." - Jay Schutt
Profile Image for Jadranka.
234 reviews127 followers
February 5, 2017

"Ubistvo u parohijskom dvoru" je prva knjiga još jednog veoma popularnog serijala Agate Kristi o detektivu amateru - gospođici Marpl. Lično, više mi prijaju dogodovštine gospođice Marpl od avantura mesje Poaroa. Daleko od toga da mi se ne sviđa šarmantni Poaro, ali gospođica Marpl me je kupila nekako "na prvu loptu".
Gospođica Marpl je jedna sredovečna, radoznala dama koja me u mnogo čemu podseća na jednu moju komšinicu, a pre svega po tome što uvek zna šta se dešava "u tuđem dvorištu". Međutim, ta moja komšinica za razliku od glavne Agatine junakinje, nije ni približno toliko pametna, a nedostaje joj i poprilično njenog šarma :)
Sve u svemu, lako štivo koje se brzo čita, sa povremenim neočekivanim obrtima i zanimljivom atmosferom.
Profile Image for JimZ.
1,022 reviews461 followers
August 28, 2021
Oddly enough (for me it is odd) I liked this mystery novel. Odd because it was quite long which I normally don’t like….and at times it dragged but overall it held my interest. And the narrator was the vicar, and he was a nice chap with a sense of humor. If it had been old Miss Marple being the narrator, I am not sure I would have liked it as much. The Vicar had a funny wife (Griselda)…it was clear he loved her, but she was a loose cannon at times. Anyway, somebody murdered Colonel Protheroe, and for the ~280 pages before the reveal, I had no idea who had killed him. Actually, I had my ideas but I was wrong-o.

I have been told that “A Murder Is Announced’ is a good read by a GR friend, so that will be my next Agatha Christie reading foray. 😊

I found this to be humorous…Mary is the curmudgeonly cook employed by the vicar and his wife:
• ‘…During all this, Mary had been extracting eyes from potatoes with such energy that they had been flying around the kitchen like hailstones. At this moment one hit me in the eye and caused a momentary pause in the conversation.’ 😅

Anyhoo it was nice to just settle down with this book with the expectation in the beginning of the book that since a murder had just occurred, nothing terribly bad would happen after that, and so it was a nice quiet gentle read. Nothing to ruffle my feathers. Sometimes we all need that kind of read. Nothing earth shattering…just something to pleasantly while away the time. 3.5 stars for me. 😊

Profile Image for Santy.
77 reviews73 followers
December 2, 2020
>>> 3.5 ☆

Primer vistazo a Miss Marple

"Lo que necesitan es un poco de inmoralidad en sus vidas. Entonces no estarían tan ocupados buscándola en las de otras personas."

No puedo evitar sorprenderme ante la astucia de las resoluciones de los crímenes, siendo este mi quinto libro de Christie, ya estoy más que acostumbrado a estas explicaciones desprevenidas. Especialmente en este libro, mi desconcierto fue mayor que en sus previas obras, me resigné en pensar en culpables y simplemente me dejé impresionar.

Y es que a Agatha le encantan las provocaciones. Literalmente, a lo largo del libro, tiró múltiples anzuelos que no hacen más que generar sospechas erróneas. Si no sospechaste de cada uno de los personajes, ¿realmente leíste Agatha Christie?

Me quedé con más ganas de Marple. En este libro, si bien es fundamental para la resolución, se encuentra en segundo plano. Su personaje me gusta mucho, creo que es un acierto utilizar al estereotipo de adulto mayor chismoso para ejercer el rol de detective. Además de aportar humor.

La novela, en general, es sólida, pero no es lo mejor que leí de la autora y estoy seguro de que puede ofrecer aún más. El desarrollo se me hizo un poco denso y, en muchos casos, llegué a confundirme entre tantos personajes y datos.

Por lo que a mi respecta, procedo a buscar novelas de Marple para añadir a la lista. Aún estoy lejos de cansarme, diría que nunca lo estaré, pero siendo la naturaleza humana como es...
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
590 reviews249 followers
November 21, 2022
All appearances point to St. Mary Mead being the usual English small town. It has its share of colorful inhabitants, but for the most part it's a rather peaceful place.

There's the vicar, who, as the local sounding board, can indulge his newly discovered amateur sleuthing hobby. He is frequently accosted by several of the old cats, as the local busybodies are lovingly dubbed by the younger generation. And of course, we cannot forget Colonel Protheroe: most respected magistrate, as well as most despised person in town.

It is in fact the latter's murder, that rouses the town from its peaceful slumber, setting loose a sudden and unexpected chain of events.

Fictional map of St Mary Mead

Even though I was a big fan of Dame Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series in high school, I have somehow never got around to reading any of her books featuring Miss Marple. So what better time to tackle them, than a lengthy Christmas break? I mean, who doesn't like a dash of crime with their afternoon tea?

Afternoon tea and scones

Unlike the Hercule Poirot series, where the famous detective is generally sought out to help investigate the murder, Miss Marple is hardly ever requested for a consult. As a matter of fact, she is generally lumped together with the 'old cats', although the vicar does admit that she at least has a sense of humor.

I loved getting reacquainted with the author's typical mysteries, where I never guess the perpetrator, although I enjoy pondering the problem. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover an excellent sense of humor to go with her numerous memorable one liners.

There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of uncertain age with plenty of time on her hands.

“Was bad language used?” asked Colonel Melchett.
“It depends on what you call bad language.”
“Could you understand it?” I asked.
“Of course I could understand it.”
“Then it couldn’t have been bad language,” I said.
Mrs. Price Ridley looked at me suspiciously.
“A refined lady,” I explained, “is naturally unacquainted with bad language.”

“What are you doing this afternoon, Griselda?”
“My duty,” said Griselda. “My duty as the Vicaress. Tea and scandal at four thirty.”

Score: 3.4/5

Objectively speaking, there was nothing special in the story, but it was incredibly entertaining. I can't wait to read the following books in the series.

Review of The Thirteen Problems
Review of The Body in the Library
Review of The Moving Finger
Review of A Murder is Announced
Profile Image for carlos carroll.
145 reviews278 followers
June 9, 2020
Este es un buen libro para comenzar a leer a Agatha Christie. Está narrado en primera persona por el vicario, el cual hace un buen papel. La trama es ligera, no son muchos personajes; y cada uno de ellos está bien definido. El final es sorprendente; debo decir que sospeché de esa persona en un comienzo, pero luego todas mis pistas iba a otro lado, y es algo que me impactó porque yo ya no sospechaba de tal personaje. Éste fue el primero con el cual comencé a leer a Agatha Christie, y me impulsó a conocer más de sus obras. ¡Súper recomendado!
Profile Image for Leo.
4,311 reviews389 followers
January 16, 2022
It's difficult for me to decide which character I like best Miss Marple or Poirot, I just love them both for different reasons! I was surprised that I hadn't read the first book featuring Miss Marple and was sure I was going to love it. I did end up liking it but not as much as other stories with her.
Profile Image for Wilma.
106 reviews50 followers
August 4, 2016
I love British detectives!! Alhoewel gedateerd...ik heb genoten van de typische Engelse sfeer in deze detective van Agatha Christie met natuurlijk Miss Marple...lekker kneuterig, ongecompliceerd!!
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 1 book2,822 followers
August 9, 2020
Thoroughly enjoyable, clever and great fun - I love Agatha Christie's work so much.
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