Title: The Tuesday Club Murders or The 13 Problems (Miss Marple #2)
Author: Agatha Christie
Setting: England 1930s or so
Format: physical book
Plot: Author Raymond West is staying with his aunt in the country. One evening at a dinner with friends, he proposes that they each relate a mystery, then see who can come up with the best solution to the story. To his surprise, sweet little Aunt Jane wins every time.
Reaction: I love Miss Marple. I always pictured her as a sweet, white-haired lady with “a mind like a steel trap,” as a police acquaintance says. Now that I’ve seen the mysteries with Joan Hickson in the role, I can’t imagine anyone else. She’s deceptively mild, but oh, what a wicked tongue she has when she wants to. Miss Marple was always very much a gentlewoman, but not always a gentle woman.
While I prefer the longer books like The Body in the Library, the nice thing about the short stories is that you can pick them up when you just have a few minutes to read and then put it down again without worrying about remembering where you were in the story next time. I’ve been working on rereading this one for a couple of months, and I never felt any rush to finish, just a bit of happiness every time I picked it up.
My favorite story is the one told by glamorous actress Jane Hillyer of a burglary. If you haven’t read Miss Marple before, I think I’d recommend starting with the first one, Murder at the Vicarage.
You’re having a tea party for 5 guests. You may invite anyone from any book. Who would you invite and why? What would you serve? What do you do?
My guests. I’m going to make this an all female party, because it’s my meme and I can, so let’s get that out of the way. My picks would be
- Elizabeth Bennett. She’s witty, intelligent, and I’m dying to ask her about life in Regency era England. As well as gossip about our husbands. (Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen)
- Jane Marple. Also intelligent, and such a great source of gossip. It would be lovely to really hear an expert on human behavior. (Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie)
- Scheherazade. She could entertain us with some amazing stories and I’d love to hear whether the sultan was worth all that in the end. (Arabian Nights)
- Molly Weasley. She’s a mom, like me, and we’d both welcome a chance to talk about our kids. And she’s an unbelievable badass as well. (Harry Potter series by J K Rowling)
- Meg Langslow. She’s not so funny all by herself, but as the calm within the storm, her tales would be hysterical. (Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews)
Menu. Right, any party I attend would be better with chocolate, so let me start there. We’d have a chocolate fondue, tea or coffee for my guests and more chocolate for me. Maybe Molly Weasley would surprise us with some magical desserts and Scheherazade could bring Turkish Delight.
Activity. Maybe a few old-fashioned parlor games? I think Miss Marple or Elizabeth Bennett would be the winners there. Then we could just sit around and tell stories and eat the chocolate.
Right, so that’s my list. What about you? Who would you invite and why?
The new residents at Sittaford House planned a little evening party with neighbors. Even the snowstorm didn’t discourage them. But when a little harmless table turning became something more sinister, everyone became a little nervous. Was Captain Trevelyan really dead? His friend Major Burnaby set off on a 6 mile hike to find out.
The police decide that there was nothing supernatural about the death – it was murder, and they know who did it. But the fiance of the accused is sure of his innocence and sets off to find the real killer.
I really liked this one. It’s set in the moors and there’s this great sense of isolation, which is intensified by the presence of a prison nearby. When one of the inmates escapes, the police have to decide how he fits into the crime.
This is one of the few Agatha Christie books that doesn’t feature either Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. I didn’t miss them, but if you didn’t know that, you might keep waiting for them to show up. Recommended, but more fun on a cold and windy night.
Title: The Woman on the Orient Express
Author: Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Format: Kindle Unlimited lets you listen and read, so audio & ebook
Setting: Traveling through Europe to Mesopotamia, 1928
Story: Agatha Christie is running away. Again. Her unfaithful husband has finally pushed a divorce through and is remarrying. Agatha decides a trip is just the thing, but she’s still pretty miserable. She decides to travel incognito, and meets two women on her trip, Kathleen and Nancy. Everyone is hiding something, and it will end (eventually) with someone dead.
I liked this story. I picked it up mainly because I am such a fan of Agatha Christie, and Murder on the Orient Express is one of my favorites. Plus, it was such a romantic journey in its time – bridging two separate worlds, going somewhere completely new. This was based in fact, but still fiction. Christie did take the Orient Express to Baghdad and she did go out to an archaeological dig there. Some of the people, including Max, are based on real people. But I don’t want to reveal too much.
I would recommend this one mainly for fans of Agatha Christie. It moved slowly sometimes and I think the ending was a little disappointing, but it was still fun.