A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple #9), Agatha Christie. New York, Morrow, 2022 (originally published in 1964).
Summary: A Caribbean holiday after an illness is just what the doctor ordered for Miss Marple, who helps solve a string of murders at a resort.
Miss Marple is recovering from an illness and her nephew Raymond sends her on a Caribbean holiday. Little did he realize how rejuvenating it would be as Miss Marple employs her polite nosiness and the insistence that only an elderly spinster can exercise, to solve a string of murders.
It all begins with Major Palgrave’s interminable and repeating stories. He begins to tell her one of a repeat murderer who had remained unapprehended. He was on the point of showing her a picture when he looks up, puts his wallet away and hastily changes the subject. When he is found dead of an apparent stroke the next morning, Miss Marple has her suspicions. It had been noised about that he had high blood pressure and a bottle of medications was found among his effects.
Except in the course of talking with different members of the party staying at the resort, run by a young couple, the Kendals, Victoria, a housemaid, claims not to have previously seen the medicine. That evening, she’s found dead of knife wounds by Molly Kendal, who has been acting more and more erratic, experiencing lapses of memory and agitation, and had been seen carrying a kitchen knife. Tim attributes her agitation to a family history She’s understandably quite upset, having found the murdered girl and even wondering if, in a fit of madness, whether she is the murderer. She is comforted by Miss Marple, who has her doubts.
Miss Marple’s fears are growing. There are other strange events going on, including finding rich old Mr. Raffiel’s assistant Jackson looking through his papers, and later through Molly Kendal’s cosmetics. People aren’t what they seem. The Hillingdon’s, a seeming perfect couple are sleeping separately, while he is caught up in an affair with “Lucky” Dyson, wife of nature lover Greg Dyson Meanwhile, Miss Marple’s suspicions about Palgrave’s death result in his exhumation and a finding that he was poisoned.
There is one more murder yet to occur and one narrowly prevented. It’s a case of a murderer who overlooks a couple of gossipy old women, Miss Marple and Miss Prescott, Canon Prescott’s sister, and the handicapped Mr. Raffiel. Appearing frail, among the “uglies,” they mobilize action at the right time to save a life and capture a murderer!
How can one not love Miss Marple! And how can one not be amazed at Agatha Christie who spins the perfect Caribbean holiday murder mystery, forty-four years after her first mystery in 1920. In this one, she was still at the top of her game as was her main character, a quietly gossipy busybody who knits her way to another crime solved!
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