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This is the fourth book in the Miss Marple series – although I think it is a bit of a stretch to call it a Miss Marple mystery, as Marple herself only appears towards the end of the story and utters a few words of wisdom. However, the book itself is still an interesting and intriguing read.

Jerry and his sister Joanna arrive in the village of Lymstock for a visit while Jerry recovers from an undisclosed accident. Fairly soon they, along with several other villagers, receive an unpleasant anonymous letter. When Mrs Symmington, the recipient of another such letter, commits suicide, the whole village starts to suspect one another…

As always with Agatha Christie, I enjoyed the book and was pleasantly surprised by the ending – I won’t give away any spoilers, but I thought I had sussed the mystery only to be surprised when the truth was revealed. This is what I love about Agatha Christie books – she is always able to surprise me, but she is fair in the way she does it. Not for her is there a sudden antagonist who has not appeared before in the book. Not for her is there a unforeseeable twist – the reader is given ample opportunity to work it out if they only look hard enough, but she is such a clever writer that she usually ends up outwitting her audience.

In any event, and as mentioned before, this is almost a stand-alone mystery – the appearance of Miss Marple is so brief that she is in fact an unnecessary addition to the plot (this is probably why I prefer Poirot, who is such a central character in the novels), but it is no less enjoyable for all that. There are some entirely unbelievable parts – for example, the police officer investigating the crime is more than happy to share his findings with Jerry, despite Jerry being nothing more than a visitor to the village – but for the sake of moving the story along, I am happy to ignore such things.

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, this one will not disappoint.

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