1. The Murder at the Vicarage, 09/20/2011 * * * *
The first Miss Marple mystery, one which tests all her powers of observation and deduction.
"Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe," declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, "would be doing the world at large a favor!"
It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later—when the Colonel is found shot dead in the clergyman's study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe.
I loved it!
Period. Plain and simple. I loved it! I've read several Miss Marple Mysteries in the past, but just randomly - never in order, and never this first one. The mystery is viewed through the eyes of the parson as the only viewpoint character. Miss Marple, who happens to live next door to the vicarage, observes many things, and eventually put all the unusual things together to solve the crime, but graciously allowing the bumbling inspector to take the credit.
One of the things that I found charming about the story is the way everyone just wandered in and out of the vicarage at will, constantly entering the parson's study by "stepping through the window," which I found rather odd at first. Eventually I decided this must actually be some sort of French door, although the mental image of little old ladies and teenagers climbing over a three foot window sill stuck in my head through the end of the book!
All in all a fabulous read, enjoyable, and even though I once again failed to determine who the killer was before Miss Marple did (how does she do that!?) I still loved it, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series in order. 4/5 stars.