Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Murder She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple

Murder She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple is a stocking-filler published, in extremely good time for Christmas, by HarperCollins. It follows a similar little book of Hercule Poirot quotes, Little Grey Cells, which landed on the shelves a couple of years back. The earlier book was put together by editor David Brawn; the new one is the work of Tony Medawar.

Like the Poirot book, this one includes an interesting bonus feature, namely a short essay by Agatha Christie herself: "Does a Woman's Instinct Make Her a Good Detective?" This piece dates from 1928, and was originally published in The Star newspaper to coincide with final publication of the first set of Miss Marple short stories (there is also a bibliography of the Marple short stories, most of which appeared between 1927 and 1931, as well as an intro to the book by Tony Medawar).

The quotes are grouped into eight sections: the art of conversation, men and women, crime and detection, the young, murder, Marple on Marple, human nature, and life. Here is one of my favourites, from the very first Agatha Christie novel that I read, The Murder at the Vicarage:

"Observing human nature for as long as I have done, one gets to expect not very much from it."

Cynical, of course, but in the past there have been times in my life (especially during my days as a partner in a law firm) when I have, despite my instincts to the contrary, felt much the same!

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