For the first time in 45 years, Agatha Christie’s beloved character Miss Marple returns to the page for a globe-trotting tour of crime and detection. This wonderful collection is written by all of the newest greats: Naomi Alderman, Leigh Bardugo, Alyssa Cole, Lucy Foley, Elly Griffiths, Natalie Haynes, Jean Kwok, Val McDermid, Karen M. McManus, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Mosse, and Ruth Ware join Agatha Christie to create a new compendium of Miss Marple’s adventures.
Agatha Christie is quite literally the best-selling novelist of all time (outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare). She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, 19 of which feature Miss Jane Marple as the MC. She is one of Christie’s best-known characters. Because she has such a strong personality and style, it is difficult to replicate her character in a way that stays true to Agatha Christie.
Unfortunately for me, I did not love it as a collection. I really wanted to like it. I tried for a few weeks to read this and set it aside each time, hoping it would get better, and it never did. I really wanted to DNF it, but because I like some of the authors I decided to push through, and luckily libro.fm came through with a September ALC, so I was able to finish it on audio. I think that the authors had a hard time duplicating her character at best, and disrespectfully bungled her character at worst. Though there were a couple of standout stories that I did enjoy: Jean Kwok’s The Jade Emperess, Naomi Alderman’s The Open Mind, and Natalie Haynes’ The Unravelling were among my favorites.
Because each author has their own idea of Miss Marple, IMO, they did not align with the real Miss Marple, or with Agatha Christies writing. There was too much variety for me to believe it was the same character, and each author’s creative liberties clashed too much to be a cohesive collection. The essence of Miss Marple herself became muddled, as if there were too many cooks in the kitchen. This is the limitation with short story collections, and sadly it just wasn’t for me.
While some of the stories may have been “fine”, all this collection of stories did was prove that Miss Marple could only be written by Agatha Christie.
Thank you to William Morrow – HarperCollins for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.