Book Review: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

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I am hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon on my blog in April 2018 where we are reading one of her books each week. The fourth book up, Murder at the Vicarage, is the first book in the Miss Marple cozy mystery series she’s written. I’ve read many in this series, but you can read them out of order. It’s more about books using the same characters but not really connected other than a few fun memories and mentions. This was selected as my book to re-read as part of this challenge.

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A solid 4.5 stars for Murder at the Vicarage, the first novel in the Miss Marple cozy mystery series, written by Agatha Christie in 1930. I’ve read ~ten novels by Christie and this one is near the top of the list for me. From the characters to the setting and the plot to the tone, it’s an intriguing and immersive read. It started out a bit slow for me as the scene was being set, but once the murder happened, it took off in quick force. I can happily say that I had 2 potential guesses as the culprit(s), and I was correct (which doesn’t always happen). I also knew there was way too much reference to ‘time on clocks’ for it not to be important; someone messed with the spinning needles to change the appearance of when the murder happened. But only by minutes… and you’ll never guess how important it was!

For many, this will be too on-the-nose or over-simplified when it comes to the layout at approach of Miss Marple’s investigation. Though she’s responsible for solving it, she’s not the main character. The vicar tells us the story of what happened to the deceased, and he interacts with the detectives investigating the crime. Another priest is murdered, but he’s not very well liked, so it’s okay, right? Some think so… but not all the ‘little old biddies’ (how the book refers to them) are in agreement. The gossip is out of control in this book, but I adored it for what it was — a clever plot technique to reveal clues and keep us guessing. Add in the very peculiar marriages between the different priests and their wives, and it’s baffling what life was like a century ago. But I’d give nearly anything to be part of it.

What appeals to me most in these Marple novels is how she drops a few thoughts, then scatters around. She leaves mysterious notes for someone to come see her, then won’t reveal everything she’s thinking. She teases us. But it’s as much fun as it is frustrating. She knows, but she’s not 100% certain how… so she won’t say it all at once until she’s got every nasty little detail ferreted out.

The poor vicar suffers in this one as the murder happens in his house — everyone is up in his business. We know it can’t be him or his wife, but wow do they look suspicious. Add in the side-stories and you’ve got one easy read. It just makes me smile to absorb these quaint settings and stories. I think even though this is the last in my April Agatha Christie Readathon, I am going to keep reading one a month this year.

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Background on the Agatha Christie Readathon

I’m an avid mystery reader and one of my favorite authors is Agatha Christie. I shared a post on this wonderful writer several months ago and have a dedicated page to her on my blog. Click on both links to see what I’ve read or said in the past. I’m holding an Agatha Christie Readathon in April. For more information, click the link and see the background and guidelines below. Essentially, we will read 1 book for each week in April 2018, then post our reviews.  You can join in and read with us — either 1, 2, 3 or all 4 weeks! The goal is to revisit an old favorite, connect with new bloggers, and share the love we have for this fantastic author. Voting in the pools was held from 3/1 thru 3/14, and the results are in for which books we will read in April:

  • The Secret Adversary (Other) – Read By 4/6, Post Review on 4/7 (Week 1)
  • Peril at End House (Poirot) – Read By 4/13, Post Review on 4/14 (Week 2)
  • The Body in the Library (Re-Read) – Read By 4/20, Post Review on 4/21 (Week 3)
  • Murder at the Vicarage (Marple) – Read By 4/27, Post Review on 4/28 (Week 4)

If you’re interested, please respond below in the comments with which weeks or books you want to read. I will create a separate page for each one and list all the sites where you can find the reviews. You will post the review on your site, and I’ll link it from that page so everyone can see them!

Please share with your followers so we have even more participation. Thanks!

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Below is the structure and guidelines of the April Agatha Christie Readathon:

  • In April 2018, we will read 4 books written by Agatha Christie.
  • We will follow a schedule (6 days to read, 1 day to post review):
    • We read the first book from Sun 4/1 thru Fri 4/6, then post reviews on Sat 4/7. It will be from a non-series book I haven’t read.
    • We read the second book from Sun 4/8 thru Fri 4/13, then post reviews on Sat 4/14. It will be a book from the Hercule Poirot series.
    • We read the third book from Sun 4/15 thru Fri 4/20, then post reviews on Sat 4/21. It will be a book I’ve already read but I will re-read another time.
    • We read the fourth book from Sun 4/22 thru Fri 4/27, then post reviews on Sat 4/28. It will be a book from the Miss Marple series.
  • You can read only one week, a few weeks, or all four weeks — your choice.
  • Reviews/Posts can be any format, but you will link back to my main page where I will then list all the blogs or websites who are participating so that everyone can find your reviews.

hristie

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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34 thoughts on “Book Review: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

    Phantom Paper said:
    April 28, 2018 at 5:23 AM

    Great review! I don’t think I’ve read this one. What are you planning for your next readathon?

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 28, 2018 at 7:57 AM

      I think I may do a children’s book once in July. I’m out of the country for most of May, so there will be less blogging time. I’ll prepare in June and then host in July. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

        Phantom Paper said:
        April 28, 2018 at 2:11 PM

        Oh, yes, I remember you mentioning that a while ago. Enjoy your down time!!

        Liked by 1 person

    kathyscottage said:
    April 28, 2018 at 7:22 AM

    Another great mystery. This one is one of my favorites! I didn’t solve it when I read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 28, 2018 at 7:58 AM

      It had so many options… I went back and forth, but that clock was just too important! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    raynotbradbury said:
    April 28, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    I wanna be Agatha Christie and Proust in One. Ahhh, dreams 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    April 28, 2018 at 12:29 PM

    Yeah, I’m reading but late again. Too many things going on. I’m also trying to finish my book for the sketchbook project that I have to send in by Monday. – Yikes! I must say that I am missing your daily posts though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 28, 2018 at 2:56 PM

      No worries on the review. I understand. I have been trying to finish the first few new posts but I’m lazy! Thanks. Glad you’re doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

    You’re making me so nostalgic for this series Jay.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    theorangutanlibrarian said:
    April 28, 2018 at 3:47 PM

    Great review! I’m definitely planning on reading this one at some point, so I’m really glad it was good!

    Liked by 1 person

    lisarey1990 said:
    April 28, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Wonderful review. This has been an excellent readathon to be a part of. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    The Cozy Pages said:
    April 28, 2018 at 9:33 PM

    Nailed it. Lol. I agree with you on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Lolly's Library said:
    April 28, 2018 at 10:00 PM

    Ohhhhhhhh, I want to do the Agatha Christie marathon now and read books by her that I have not read! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    […] is actually the first Agatha Christie book that I’ve read.  Thanks very much to Jay’s Agatha Christie readathon this month to finally getting me to read one.  It should come as no surprise that I enjoyed it […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Heidi M. Simone said:
    April 29, 2018 at 8:32 AM

    Glad you enjoyed this one! I, unfortunately, did not make the Saturday deadline (obviously). I tried, but we had errands, planning, and I had a tummy ache yesterday. 😦 I am almost done, so I’ll end up posting my review within the next couple of days, but I wanted to let you know that I did try. Thank you so much for hosting this readathon, it was fun and I’m glad that I was able to participate!

    I agree – poor vicar! I was hoping for more Miss Marple, and also found it frustrating how she pops in and out with just uncertain thoughts.

    It’s great that you’ve committed yourself to read an Agatha Christie book per month! I’m not sure if I feel the same way with her works, but I can definitely see the merit in her books.

    Thanks, again!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 29, 2018 at 5:41 PM

      No worries! I totally understand. Will respond more this week. Offline for today seeing a few shows.

      Like

    Charlotte said:
    April 29, 2018 at 7:12 PM

    Never heard of this book before but 4,5* is definitely a solid rating. I wanna check out Agatha Christie, maybe i’ll start with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 29, 2018 at 9:17 PM

      Good one.. if you want to start with Christie, try Murder on the Orient Express or And Then There Were None, as the first books

      Like

    misifusa said:
    April 30, 2018 at 4:58 PM

    I loved reading this book years ago! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    robbiesinspiration said:
    May 1, 2018 at 4:26 AM

    This was one of my favourite Miss Marple Agatha Christie’s too, Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

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