The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
I do love me a good Agatha Christie! Reading an Agatha Christie is like sitting in your most favourite armchair wearing your comfiest slippers with a nice cuppa. They are just so comforting. I'm definitely a Miss Marple girl! Poirot is great, but Miss Marple remains my favourite, particularly after the brilliant BBC dramatizations starring Joan Hickson in the 1980's. In this novel, Miss Marple does not appear until the last few chapters, but the writing is sublime and her presence is felt throughout the novel.
Former Air-Force pilot, Jerry Burton is recommended by his doctor to convalesce in the sleepiest and most dull town possible. Jerry and his sister Joanne therefore move to Lymstock expecting a quiet convalescence. When they arrive they discover that someone has been sending poison pen letters to the residents of this sleepy town. Joanne, then, receives one herself alleging that she and Jerry are not brother and sister, but in fact lovers!
Worse is to follow when Mrs Symington commits suicide by ingesting cyanide after receiving a letter caliming that her husband is not the father of one of their 2 children. The Police quickly become involved.
Jerry quickly takes the grown up daughter of Mrs Symington under her wing. Megan has always been thought of as a 'simple' troubled young girl. But is her unusual behaviour hiding a secret?
As always, Christie packs the novel full of fascinating and at times grim characters. All of whom fall under suspicion at one time or another. Elsie Holland, the governess of Mrs Symington's children, who is looking to be the next Mrs Symington. Aimee Griffith, who has been in love with Mr Symington for years, forceful and opinionated. How far would she go? There is also the unusual Maud Dane Calthop, the wife of the Vicar, who keeps her eye on the residents of Lymstock and eventually when the police are unable to solve the case calls in someone who 'knows people'. You've guessed it! That person is Miss Marple.
A further murder is committed when Partridge, the Burton's housekeeper receives a call from the Symington's maid Agnes, asking to meet as she needs some advice about a troubling problem. When Agnes fails to turn up for the meeting, Jerry becomes rapidly concerned and shortly after, her body is discovered. Did she know something? Did she know the author of the poison pen letters?
Agatha Christie looking back on her writing, said there was nothing about this novel that she would change. Even with Miss Marple only appearing towards the end, her presence is keenly felt. I really enjoyed this novel and amazingly guessed who the murderer was, which let me tell you never happens!
So as I nestle in my armchair, in my comfiest slippers what cake am I going to enjoy with this book. This novel needs something classic and timeless rather like the novel itself. I would pair this with a coffee and walnut cake served with tea in a vintage cup and saucer.