Saturday, June 20, 2020

Murder, She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple (mini-review)

Murder, She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple (2019) by Tony Medawar (ed)

I have a great affection and weakness for quote books. I love reading little snippets from books, movies, or just from famous people. I collect quotes myself--jotting down phrases and paragraphs that grab my attention as I read. I also love Agatha Christie's mysteries. So what could be better than a little quote book entirely devoted to the words of Miss Jane Marple, spinster sleuth extraordinaire? Nothing...except maybe also having a companion book devoted to the words of Hercule Poirot (which I do).

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time this evening reading Miss Marple's thoughts on everything from Men & Women to Crime & Detection to Human Nature & Life. This is a lovely little volume that I am glad to add to my quote book collection. I wasn't quite as enamored with her essay at the end of the book ("Does a Woman's Instinct Make Her a Good Detective"). Dame Agatha seems to think women are less methodical and less likely to enjoy the thrill of the hunt than men. Well...maybe some women, but not all women...or even most women as she implies. Christie seems to have subscribed to several gender stereotypes of her day *at the time the essay was written. 

 ★★★  for the book overall. If it had been quotes only, I'd most likely have given it five.

*amended 6/22/20


Kate said...

I had a similar reaction to the final essay, but as I suggested in my own review of this title, I think the date it was written might be important. She wrote that article in 1928, prior to her Miss Marple stories, so her comments on intuition etc. are very much contradicted by the ones she makes in the Murder at the Vicarage.
I did wonder if the sentiments espoused in the essay were ones she genuinely held and if they changed over time. The female characters in her subsequent novels seem to show women in a range of occupations and lifestyles.

Bev Hankins said...

Kate: very true. I should probably change my review to say "Christie seems to have subscribed to several gender stereotypes of her day at the time the essay was written."

Kate said...

It is a very tricky one to gauge and academics over the years have placed her at various points on the traditional/radical line when it comes to women. It is the sort of point you really wish you could question Christie on, just to have the mystery solved once and for all.