Monday, January 16, 2012

Merely Mystery Reading Challenge - A Carribbean Mystery

I know, I know, I've been focusing a lot on my reading challenges and chick-lit. In my defense, most of my books are lent to me by others, so I don't really have a wide choice. Still, my brain is starting to cry out for some non-fiction. But enough of that, today, I want to talk/write about A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie, since I'm going to continue my (already finished) challenge.

A Caribbean Mystery is one of the Miss Marple mysteries. Although Agatha Christie herself preferred Miss Marple to Poirot, I, like many of her readers, prefer Monsieur Poirot. Why? I have no idea. I certainly started reading his mysteries first, and I think it's also because he amuses me more than Miss Marple. But then again, I've only read, what, two books involving her.

Basically, the plot involves Miss Marple coming across as suspicious death, which starts to escalate. After reading this book, I'm actually really interested in reading the other books involving her. Miss Marple is on smart lady. Her weapon of choice is her conversational talents and that is something she has in spades. While there aren't any direct interrogations, the winding, conversational style is charming.

Well, there isn't much to say about this book. It's fairly short and a really quick read. And of course, being written by Agatha Christie, classifies as a cozy. But in an ironical fashion, the book also talks about the very things a cozy is supposed to avoid. Miss Marple muses on how the she is expected to be ignorant about things, because her nephew considers her old. But she remembers show even in small villages, the underside of life can be seen, and some are things that even the most modern authors haven't written about (or thought off). And it's ironic how she, as a first-rate detective, is considered to be doubly sheltered because she is a. a woman and b. from the older class. It seems that Christie was having a little subtle laugh at the societal norms of her time. And here are two quotes to sum up what I've been saying:

" 'I don't really feel that I've got sufficient experience to judge. I'm afraid I've led a rather sheltered life'.
'And so you should, dear lady, so you should,' cried Major Palgrave gallantly."

"Though really rural life was far from idyllic. People like Raymond were so ignorant. In the course of her duties at the country parish, Jane Marple had acquired quite a comprehensive knowledge of the facts of rural life. She had no urge to talk about them, far less to write about them - but she knew them. Plenty of sex, natural and unnatural. Rape, incest, perversion of all kinds. (Some kinds, indeed, that even the clever young men from Oxford who wrote books didn't seem to have heard about."

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