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Marple : twelve new stories
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Library Journal Review
Twelve female authors from several countries put their own spin on short stories featuring Agatha Christie's amateur sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. Crime fiction readers will recognize big names such as Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, Val McDermid, and Elly Griffiths. While some stories feature traditional settings such as Ware's "Miss Marple's Christmas" and McDermid's "The Second Murder at the Vicarage," others set the elderly spinster in unexpected territory. Jean Kwok's "The Jade Empress" has her on a cruise ship on the way to Hong Kong, and Alyssa Cole takes her to New York City in "Miss Marple Takes Manhattan." In all the stories, Miss Marple solves cases based on her observations of life and people in the village of St. Mary Mead. VERDICT Readers will be eager to try this anthology as a dozen celebrated crime fiction authors try their hand at writing traditional short stories featuring Christie's amateur sleuth. As in any collection, some stories stand out, but they all capture the character of the shrewd, always underestimated Miss Marple.--Lesa Holstine
Publishers Weekly Review
In this disappointing anthology of authorized pastiches featuring Agatha Christie's Jane Marple, some contributors fail to play fair with readers by not sharing the clues the elderly amateur sleuth relies on, and almost none of the tales effectively display her gifts at understanding human nature. Standing head-and-shoulders above the rest is Lucy Foley's "Evil in Small Places," set in the small town of Meon Maltravers, where Miss Marple is visiting an old school friend. Her suspicion that such places may harbor "more terrible things" than in England's metropolises is borne out the night the community commemorates "the immolation of seventeen Protestant martyrs," when one person is found fatally stabbed, clutching an ominous threatening note. Lesser efforts include Alyssa Cole's gimmicky "Miss Marple Takes Manhattan" and Elly Griffith's "Murder at the Villa Rosa," in which Miss Marple describes Professor Moriarty as a murderer who was a brilliant loner, a characterization at odds with Conan Doyle's. Nothing in this volume matches Sophie Hannah's success in her novels featuring Christie's other iconic sleuth, Hercule Poirot. (Sept.)
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