Let’s have a quick look at my thoughts on the brand new Miss Marple short story collection.
Plot: This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
Overall, I gave this collection a 3.5 out of 5. This was the average rating after I put all my individual story ratings together. I felt all the authors did a great job with Miss Marple’s characterisation and had a great sense of place, time and location. For some authors, I loved their premises but I felt that they didn’t quite execute the story as well as I would have personally liked or their stories were too predictable.
Murder at the Villa Rosa – Elly Griffiths (2 stars)
This follows an author who goes on a holiday to focus on his writing. This story was the case of loving the idea and the beginning a lot but I felt that the ending fell a bit flat. Also, Miss Marple was not really the focus of this story nor was she really needed which was a shame since the collection is supposed to be about Marple herself.
The Second Murder at the Vicarage – Val McDermid (2.5 stars)
Pretty straight forward plot with this one. I will be honest I can’t remember too much about this one. I felt McDermid did a great job with Miss Marple’s character and the initial mystery was interesting but again the ending just came out of no-where for me. I didn’t think it was set up enough for my liking.
Evil in Small Places – Lucy Foley (3 stars)
This mystery focuses on the death of a choir teacher. This was a good mystery. It wasn’t my favourite but I felt that the characters were set up well, the mystery was interesting and I liked the ending. Solid short story.
The Murdering Sort – Karen M McManus (3 stars)
This story was definitely more of a YA short story compared to the adult-focused short stories that filled the rest of the collection. Despite the fact that I know McManus has written mostly YA I was expecting an adult short story rather than a YA one. That being said, I enjoyed her story. It had major Knives Out vibes which I loved. Unfortunately, the ending was predictable which is why I didn’t rate it any higher.
Miss Marple Takes Manhattan – Alyssa Cole (3.5 stars)
I really enjoyed this story. I thought the characters were really good and I thought the ending was interesting. But the ending was a double-edged sword. I loved the reveal Miss Marple made but there were no real repercussions to what happened. Everything was revealed and then essentially everyone went on their way and that bit fell flat for me.
The Disappearance – Leigh Bardugo (3.5 stars)
The last time I read one of Bardugo’s books I believe it was last year and I read Shadow and Bone. I did not enjoy it at all. I was super intrigued, this time around, to see Bardugo in a different genre and with one of her most recent works. I enjoyed this a lot more. Her writing has improved exponentially. I found the story to be really interesting and I enjoyed all the reveals. I would say some of Miss Marple’s evidence that led her to make certain important revelations was either really tiny that it became a tad unbelievable or literally out of nowhere.
The Unravelling – Natalie Haynes (4 stars)
This is where we start seeing things properly pick up. I really enjoyed this short story. I loved the exploration of the effects of the World Wars, I thought the characters were set up well and I found the ending to be really satisfying.
Miss Marple’s Christmas – Ruth Ware (4 stars)
Literally the same as above. Great characterisation, a great plot, super satisfying ending. I felt the more open-ended conclusion of the story was done really well. I also loved the Christmas setting. This book was the reason I decided to read this collection in July.
The Open Mind – Naomi Alderman (4 stars)
The fact that this book was on its way to being 5 stars but lost on the ending was crazy to me. Great characters, and a plot that literally kept me guessing with an ending that literally shocked me. I will be honest in saying I still have not sure if I loved the shocking ending or not. I felt that there were some really interesting topics being discussed in this story that I would have loved to have seen develop more if this story was longer. The only reason it wasn’t 5 stars is I am still unsure of my thoughts on the ending.
The Mystery of the Acid Soil – Kate Mosse (4 stars)
Now this story here… This story was probably the story that got closest to feeling like a Christie novel to me. I loved the village setting, I felt the characters were set up and explored very well considering the restraint of page number, I really enjoyed the reveals and I felt I was sucked into an episode of BBC’s Marple herself.
The Jade Empress – Jean Kwok (5 stars)
Now we get to my two 5-star short stories. This story, oh my god was so good! I mean half of the story was set on a ship and I love any story set on a ship or a train. Instant a fan. I felt that the characters were written really well and all the important clues and evidence were set up so well. The reveal, while I did see coming, was written so well and made perfect sense without seeming either too predictable but also not entirely out there. I loved Miss Marple in this story as well.
A Deadly Wedding Game – Dreda Say Mitchell (5 stars)
Probably my favourite murder mystery short story to date! Great setting, great characters (I loved the addition of Miss Bella she was an amazing character working with Miss Marple) interesting topics discussed and an ending which genuinely shocked me. I did not see this coming whatsoever. I need to read more of this author’s work!
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