Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Thoughts: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
Sleeping Murder is the first Miss Marple mystery I ever read, and it turns out that this is actually the last Miss Marple mystery Agatha Christie ever wrote. So, if I accidentally encountered some spoilers about the previous books, I have no one to blame but myself.
With that said, we shall bravely move on.
The book is about Gwenda Reed, the wife of Miss Marple’s nephew. When she sees a house in the quaint, seaside town of Dillmouth, it immediately feels like home.
After settling into the house, the young bride is surprised by the knowledge she has about a house—like the wallpaper within a cupboard that has been locked for almost twenty years. Soon, the creepy feeling of déjà vu becomes more sinister, and Miss Marple must step in to lead “the young people” away from danger.
Practically every chapter is told from the point-of-view of a different character—Miss Marple’s, Gwenda’s, or some character whose significance we don’t understand yet. The funny thing is, we know what all the other characters are thinking, except for Miss Marple.
Yes, I said that some chapters are told from her point-of-view, but we can only hear her talking and see what she’s doing. We can never really know what’s going in that head of hers, and I’m not sure whether Agatha Christie was cheating or not by doing this.
And, boy, do these characters love discussing suspects and possible ways to catch them. There are pages and pages where the characters just sit around discussing this or that person, listing down the reasons why he or she would be a great murderer. I hated that, and I think would’ve preferred it if the characters stopped talking and got off their butts to do more snooping.
By the middle of the book, I already had a suspect in mind, but I was glad to say I never saw the real murderer coming (with his figurative knife). The plot started out at a sluggish pace, but, by the last twenty pages or so, I couldn’t put the book down. I HAD TO KNOW WHO KILLED— Oops, not spoiling this book for you. Not even a little. I can see Agatha Christie books becoming an addiction, something you devour like Chiclets.
Reading this book was like a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong. I love the classics, but, after Dubliners and Heart of Darkness, this book was exactly what I needed. There’s probably a pearl of wisdom hidden in the pages of Sleeping Murder, but I didn’t think too hard about that. Trying to figure out who DID IT was enough for me.
Rating: 3/5 I’m not starting a Miss Marple Fan Club or anything like that, but, hey, who doesn’t like a good mystery?