If you’ve read any of my prior Christie reviews, you will know that I absolutely love Poirot but feel ambivalent towards Miss Marple. Her stories do not resonate with me and I find them significantly less enjoyable.
A Murder is Announced isn’t a bad book but there really is nothing special about it. Miss Marple titters around talking about human nature and how so and so in the village did X so it must mean that the killer did Y. They really are all that same formula. And, don’t think I’m being dismissive of a female led series. It simply is what it is. Christie calls Miss Marple an old woman and generalizes that all old women in these villages are the same.
Having said that, some of the mysteries are better than others. Unfortunately, in this case, I figured out a good portion of the big reveal pretty early on. That’s always a disappointment because I expect Christie to trick me. Here it was pretty clear what would be a “big shock” for the denouement.
Lastly, just as a note…I cannot determine if Christie herself hated anyone who wasn’t English or if she just wrote many characters who were xenophobic. I have a tendency to give her the benefit of the doubt since Poirot was Belgian and experienced discrimination for being a foreigner. I always felt that Christie intended for us to be sympathetic towards him. But, sometimes, I’m not quite sure. There are so many negative references to foreigners (well, honestly, anyone different whether it be nationality, race or social status). Books should reflect the times in which they are set and I’m not a fan of revisionist history. So, if this is accurate for ‘society in England’ at this time so be it. It is, however, rather jarring to read with today’s sensibilities.