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Agatha Christie detectives: Miss Marple



Agatha Christie

(1890 - 1976)

"Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that's no reason not to give it."

Between the years, 1927–1931, Agatha Christie introduced Miss Jane Marple, an elderly spinster in the quaint English village of St. Mary Mead, who solved all manner of mysteries with intense concentration and intuition. Miss Marple exemplifies the cozy form of mystery fiction. Tall, slender, and forever curious Miss Jane Marple lives in the Village of St Mary Mead. In the twelve novels and twenty short stories in which she engages in sleuthing she demonstrates a keen insight into human behavior, particularly that which deviates from the norm. The image here is of Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

At all times, Miss Marple "remains the English gentlewoman as she goes about solving crimes that often baffle the police, particularly those who operate in the environs of St. Mary Mead.

In the book, The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple, by Anne Hart there is Agatha Christie's own description of her most beloved detective: "Miss Marple is the sort of old lady who would have been rather like some of my grandmother's Ealing cronies -- old ladies whom I have met in so many villages where I have gone to stay as a girl.

Miss Marple is not in any way a picture of my grandmother; she is far more fussy and spinsterish than my grandmother ever is. But one thing she did have in common with her -- though a cheerful person, she always expected the worst of everyone and everything, and is, with almost frightening accuracy, usually proved right."

As reported in her obituary, "When offered the role of Miss Marple, Joan Hickson hesitated - not only because she risked the resentment of fans faithful to her predecessors, but also because she doubted that she had the right build. Despite her age she supposed herself insufficiently frail in manner.

When she had decided, though, to 'have a bash', and to act the part 'my way', she was heartened by her daughter's chance discovery of a forgotten letter from Agatha Christie 40 years' earlier. It said: 'I hope you will play Miss Marple one day.' The letter had been sent after the detective writer had seen Joan Hickson acting the part of a spinster in another Agatha Christie whodunnit, Appointment with Death (Piccadilly, 1945)."