What’s it about?
The first Miss Marple mystery, one which tests all her powers of observation and deduction. “Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,”declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, “would be doing the world at large a favor!” It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later—when the Colonel is found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe.
Having only read one other Miss Marple I thought it high time I start at the beginning of the series and crack on and being only a short book of around 200 pages it didn’t take long to get through.
This cosy murder mystery investigation is more led by the Vicar than the police who really are made to be a bunch of bumbling incompetent idiots. Of course, they need Miss Marple to step in and state the obvious so the real culprit can be revealed. Although, Miss Marple isn’t actually the centre of attention so much in this book, it’s almost as if Christie was testing the water with her.
Even though I’d seen the TV dramatisation I couldn’t remember who’d dunnit so still had that element of surprise, given that there’s plenty of suspects and red herrings as you’d expect. Fans of murder mysteries should enjoy this book as will Christie fans, although I think that her later Marple books will be an improvement on this one.