Murder announced in newspaper. Old-fashioned Hold-up.

The Blurb:

A murder is announced in a small-town newspaper advertisement—and Miss Marple must unravel the fiendish puzzle when a crime does indeed occur.

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are agog with curiosity when the Gazette advertises “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.”

A childish practical joke? Or spiteful hoax? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, the locals arrive at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out and a gun is fired. When they come back on, a gruesome scene is revealed. An impossible crime? Only Miss Marple can unravel it.

The Review

I was inclined to read this book because I am a big fan of not-so-gory whodunnits and pretty much anything Agatha Christie. I have only ever read one Miss Marple before, which I enjoyed, The Mirror Cracked From Side To Side.

This book is a stand alone story. The cover was very symbolic containing the beginnings of the mystery – a murder being announced in the newspaper.

The plot was a little slow, I thought. At the beginning we got a low-down of each character and their day before reading reading the newspaper, which announced that they were invited to Little Paddocks and that a murder would take place. As I read on the characters began to stack up and it was difficult, initially, to remember who everyone was.

The plot took a surprising turn when a hold-up by a masked man with a revolver scared the cast of characters at Little Paddocks and shots were fired at Miss Blacklock, the hostess of the party. When the lights came on it was revealed that the masked man who was supposedly doing the shooting had been shot. This sent a mystery into the making.

The story went on to show the findings of Inspector Craddock and Miss Marple as they examined the mystery and interviewed all who were there at the party. Near to the end of the book the plot took another dramatic turn (which I will not disclose for spoiler purposes 😉) The murderer was revealed – which both shocked me but made perfect sense. Again with all other Agatha Christies’ – why didn’t I see that before?! It was so obvious!

The characters were quite stereotypical which I was pleased about as it became increasingly easier to remember who each one was. Eg. Colonel Easterbrook the confident know-it-all ex-army colonel. However, the sheer number of characters was hard to get your head around.

The style of writing was typical of Christie as it contained simple prose with limited description, but what is included always has something to do with the murder and must be noted.

For all people who are new to reading Christie whatever she writes is intentional – for example, if she writes when describing a room, “there were dead flowers on the table” this will have something to do with the mystery.

I rated this book 4/5 stars because it was exciting and the twist at the end was unpredictable. I also liked the fore-shadowing and subtle hints toward the mystery early on in the novel – if only I had noticed them earlier! The only let down was that I thought it was a little slow going halfway through the book and Miss Marple played a less-than-central role.

I would recommend this whodunnit to any Agatha Christie fans or anyone eager for a cryptic mystery. I would give an age limit of 15 and over as there is intense violence and a bit of a messed up psychotic motive. All in all a good book with an amazing ending.

Content Warning: intense violence, death and murder. Murderer could be perceived as psychotic.

Release date: June 1950

Favorite Quotes:

Use that fluff of yours you call a brain.

Miss Hinchcliffe to Miss Murgatroyd

It’s what’s in yourself that makes you happy or unhappy.

Miss Marple

Sir!

Sergent Fletcher, it’s all in the intonation!

The top quote is just funny. Miss Marple’s quote is something we should all take on as true happiness is not dependent on circumstances but our outlook on life. “Sir!” is in this list as Fletcher’s intonation was able to use a one syllable word to mean a variety of different meanings.

Favorite Character:

Inspector Craddock – he was diligent and a little slow on the uptake but made a brilliant co-protagonist. Miss Marple was also good with her sharp wit, but did not feature as much.

What’s In A Name?

The title is very symbolic as a murder is announced in the newspaper and is seen as the beginning of the plot of the novel. It is also ironic because a murder wouldn’t usually be announced.

QFTR:

  • Did you see that coming?
  • Was the motive strong enough in your opinion?
  • Who’s your fav, Poirot or Marple?

2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Murder is Announced

  1. I agree with you there were a lot of characters which made remembering them all very difficult. I didn’t see the end coming either but looking back I can remember some mentions that would hint to the ending. In my opinion I prefer Poirot with his ‘little grey cells’.

    Liked by 1 person

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