Marple:Twelve New Stories
Happy Friday! I hope wherever you are you have had a good week and are looking forward to a fun weekend. We are up early for a brunch and a party on Sunday and will spend Saturday watching the Triathlon in Hamburg. I'm also in the mood for a bit of book re-organising which has been caused by the book I am about to review.
As readers, we strongly develop opinions about our favourite characters and picture their faces in our mind as clearly as our own friends and family. Movie casting can influence this, but usually we can picture them clearly. Our version of a favourite character will be different from someone who has read exactly the same book.
And so we come to a book about 12 perceptions of a very beloved character. In my mind, I see my Miss Marple as Joan Hickson who portrayed her in the wonderful BBC series of the late 1980's/early 1990's. She captures Miss Marple's fluttering and steely blue gimlet eye beautifully.
Here for the first time, 12 internationally acclaimed, bestselling writers, all of them dedicated Agatha Christie and Marple aficionados, have breathed new life into Christie's much loved detective.
Whoever you are, wherever you live, we all have our own 'village' and Miss Marple knows only too well what wickedness can lie under the most innocuous surface.
Reacquaint yourself with one of Christie's finest creations as 12 of the world's best writers weave brand new stories that take you from St mary Mead to New York, the South Downs to Hong Kong, the Italian Riviera to Cape Cod.
What a great idea! Celebrate one of literature's most famous amateur sleuths bringing in a host of some of today's most exciting authors to each put their spin on the life of Miss Marple. And it makes for very interesting reading too.
As readers we have our own 'versions' of our favourite characters. We can picture them in our minds, pick out the clothes they would be wearing and anticipate their responses. If, heaven forbid, a film version comes out and it does not tally with our version, there is often an outcry. Think of the 6 ft 8 Jack Reacher played by the...er....slightly smaller Tom Cruise. I remember feeling up in arms when the wonderful Hugh Grant was NOT cast as Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter films. So how would I fare with one of my favourite literary characters. OK actually as it turns out.
The book features stories by luminaries such as Lucy Foley, Elly Griffiths and Kate Mosse. And Miss Marple certainly gets around a bit - visiting America, Hong Kong and Italy.
There are many nice nods to the original books. Miss Marple's nephew Raymond frequently makes an appearance usually to facilitate Aunt Jane's travels in some way. Dolly Bantry makes a return appearance and there is another murder at the vicarage.
I will be honest, there were a couple of stories where I did find myself thinking 'Miss Marple would never do that'. It was interesting to read another take on the character. And how living in the times we do, more modern than the previous novels subtly leave their imprint within the stories.
For many of the entries there are some great highlights - Ellie Griffiths, Jean Kwok and Naomi Alderman being the stand out stories for me.
This is a fascinating read and highlights how unique each reader is, how we employ our own subjectivity in the reading of a character and how passionate we feel about the treatment of this person.
So yes, this is a great introduction to Miss Marple, but please read the originals as well. All in all, a good celebration of an Agatha Christie great.