Miss Marple

Miss Marple

Agatha Christie reading a newspaper Agatha Christie first started writing Miss Marple books in the 1930's and the last one was published in the 1970's, Sleeping Murder had been locked in a bank vault to survive the blitz and for what ever reasons didn't then get published until after her death. In all Agatha Christie books have racked up over a billion sales between them, making Agatha Christie the most read murder mystery author of all time.
There are only 12 full length novels of Miss Marple but countless short stories that you can now find in various short story collections including in the book Miss Marple and Mystery: The Complete Short Stories which has other non-Marple stories in it also.
After finishing this page why not take our mini Miss Marple Quiz and see how well you do.
Here are the 12 full length books by date of publication :-

The Murder at the Vicarage

With seven suspects and two confessions and a despised victim, Miss Marple has her work cut out to discover the real killer.
Colonel Protheroe is found shot in the head at the Vicar’s study and with the Vicar also commenting he would of happily killed the man he is one of the suspects as well as being the narrator of this story.
In this book, Miss Marple is a gossip and not an especially nice woman. The other villagers while liking her are often tired by her nosy nature and how she seems to expect the worst of everyone. In later books she becomes a much kinder person.

The Body in the Library

An unknown corpse found in Colonel Arthur Bantry's library, Dolly Bantry's reaction on seeing the body of a beautiful, but very dead, blonde in her library is to immediately call for her friend Jane Marple. The police identify the girl as Ruby Keene, a dance hostess. She was reported missing by elderly invalid Conway Jefferson who, fond of Ruby, planned to adopt her - much against his family's wishes. When the body of another dead girl turns up, Miss Marple, with her incredible eye for spotting the clues that others overlook.
The investigation leads to the Majestic Hotel in nearby Danemouth, where an odd assortment of guests seem to have something to hide. But shrewd Miss Marple needs all her experience to unravel the mystery – before the killer strikes again!

The Moving Finger

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets – a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir.
But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note said ‘I can’t go on’. Scotland Yard sends an investigator, who comes to the conclusion that the letter-writer/murderer is a middle-aged woman who must be one of the prominent citizens of Lymstock. Progress is slow until the vicar's wife calls up an expert of her own, Miss Marple.
Only Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Was this the work of a poison-pen? Or of a poisoner?

A Murder is Announced

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Miss Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘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 a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out...

They Do It With Mirrors

Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in a Victorian mansion which doubles as a rehabilitation centre for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when a youth fires a revolver at the administrator, Lewis Serrocold. Neither is injured. But a mysterious visitor, Mr Gulbrandsen, is less fortunate – shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.
Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and vows to discover the real reason for Mr Gulbrandsen's visit.

A Pocket Full of Rye

A handful of grain is found in the pocket of a murdered businessman…
Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his ‘counting house’ when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals.
Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Jane Marple’s suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme…
The next to be murdered is a maid named Gladys with whom Miss Marple was acquainted. She knew Gladys to be romantic and gullible. The other maid, Ellen, was hanging out the washing when she found Glady's body all mangled up in the clothes line with a peg on her nose.
It seems someone is murdering to the theme of Sing A Song Of Sixpence...

4.50 from Paddington or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!

Margaret Rutherford Murder She Said Elspeth McGillicuddy is not a woman usually given to hallucinations. But when she witnesses what appears to be a woman being strangled on a train and no one else sees it, no one reports it and no corpse is found she turns to her old friend Jane Marple to help solve the puzzle.
Miss Marple asks her highly efficient and intelligent young acquaintance Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to infiltrate the Crackenthorpe family, who seem to be at the heart of the mystery, and help unmask a murderer.
The story is centered around the Crackenthorpe family who live at Rutherford Hall.

The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side

There is great interest in the quiet little village of St Mary Mead when the residents learn that Marina Gregg, the famous actress, has bought Gossington Hall. And when she throws the Hall open for a fête no-one is more excited than homely Heather Badcock who met the actress years before. But Heather’s visit to Gossington Hall ends in her sudden death. Why would anyone want to kill this unassuming woman? It falls to Inspector Craddock to enlist the help of his aunt, the astute Jane Marple, to solve this perplexing case.
One minute, silly Heather Badcock had been gabbling on at her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. But for whom was the deadly poison really intended?
Marina's frozen expression suggested she had witnessed something horrific. But, while others searched for material evidence, Miss Marple conducted a very different investigation – into human nature.

A Caribbean Mystery

As Miss Marple sat basking in the Caribbean sunshine she felt mildly discontented with life. True, the warmth eased her rheumatism, but here in paradise nothing ever 'happened'.
Eventually, her interest was aroused by an old soldier’s yarn told by Major Palgrave who asked her if she would like to see a photograph of a murderer. There once was a man who had a wife who tried to hang herself, but failed. Then she tried again later, and succeeded in killing herself, he then had a wife that tried to gas herself...
Infuriatingly, just as he was about to show her the astonishing photograph, the Major’s attention wandered. He never did finished the story as the next day he was found dead in his room of a possible heart attack.

At Bertram's Hotel

An old-fashioned London Hotel is not quite as reputable as it makes out… When Miss Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she’s looking for at Bertram’s Hotel: traditional decor, impeccable service and an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer.
Yet, not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong day.
One of the guests is the oft-married Lady Bess Sedgwick, who seems to be very friendly with racing driver Ladislaus Malinowski. Bess’s estranged daughter Elvira is also staying at Bertram’s and it seems that she too knows Ladislaus rather well. Where does the rather vague Canon Pennyfather fit in with these glamorous people and why was he abducted? With her customary wisdom; Jane Marple pulls together the strands of this strange puzzle.


Summoned by the soliciters of financier Rafiel after the old man's death, Miss Marple is asked to investigate a bizarre and unidentified crime of which Rafiel has warned them of from the grave.
In utter disbelief Miss Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel -- an acquaintance she had met briefly on her travels. Recognising in Miss Marple a natural flair for justice, Mr Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed.
Miss Marple's first clue is a tour of famous houses and gardens of Great Britain, arranged for her by Mr. Rafiel prior to his death. She is accompanied on the trip by fourteen other people, were they invited by the dead Mr. Rafiel too...

Sleeping Murder

Soon after Gwenda moved into her new home, odd things started to happen. Despite her best efforts to modernise the house, she only succeeded in dredging up its past. Worse, she felt an irrational sense of terror every time she climbed the stairs…
In fear, Gwenda turned to Miss Marple to exorcise her ghosts. Between them, they were to solve a ‘perfect’ crime committed many years before.
Gwenda has an episode at the local theatre and Miss Marple starts to string together the clues from the house and the theatre and their connections to Gwenda.

Miss Marple Films and TV Series

Margaret Rutherford Movies as Miss Marple

Margaret Rutherford made a total of four Miss Marple movies during the 1960's and while you could not say that her representation of Miss Marple's character was true to the books, these films were a delight for Margaret Rutherford fans to watch.

Murder She Said

This movie is based on the book 4.50 from Paddington or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! The main differences are that it is Margaret Rutherford that goes to work undercover at the hall instead of her friend and of course Margaret Rutherford's sidekick is the delightful 'Mr Stringer' her real life husband and there is no Mrs. McGillicuddy and therefore it is Miss Marple herself that sees the murder on the train.

Murder at the Gallop

This film is based on the Hercule Poirot novel After the Funeral. The old and wealthy Mr. Enderby dies of a heart attack but the ever suspicious Miss Marple has her doubts. Who or what gave him a heart attack? Enderby's poor relatives gather at the The Gallop, a combined boarding-house and riding school. Miss Marple also gets there to find out if any of them had any particular reasons to see him dead.
Robert Morley fans will love this movie.

Murder Most Foul

This one is based on the Poirot novel Mrs McGinty's Dead. When Miss Marple joins a theatrical company after a blackmailer is murdered, several members of the troupe are also dispatched by this mysterious killer. This is a classic British comedy movie and definitely does not portray the Agatha Christie version of Miss Marple but fans of Classic British Comedy and Margaret Rutherford will find this as well as the other three films a delight to watch.

Murder Ahoy!

This film is not based on any Agatha Christie work but is a pure delight to watch.
HMS Battledore is a training ship for teenage boys with criminal tendencies, who are supposedly being set on the straight and narrow path – when, in fact, one of the members of the crew is training them for careers in housebreaking.
Miss Marple witnesses the sudden death of a fellow trustee of the HMS Battledore and manages to spend the night on the ship to the crews annoyance in the hope of solving the murder mystery and Margaret Rutherford's acting along with the rest of the cast which includes fine performances by Lionel Jeffries and Joan Benham to mention just a few.
Below I have added an Amazon search for her movies so you can see trailers of these fine movies.

Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

Joan Hickson's TV series is often thought of as the best portrayal of Miss Marple on screen, the BBC deciding to keep the series as close to the original books as possible. There was three seasons of the series and all 12 books were adapted during the period of 1984 to 1992.
Joan Hickson has also played the housekeeper in the Margaret Rutherford's film Murder She Said in 1961.

Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple

The ITV director of drama, Laura Mackie once said: "Geraldine McEwan's interpretation of the Miss Marple character has been a key part in the enormous success and popularity that the series has enjoyed over the past few years".
The TV Series Marple as it was then called suffered from plot and murder changes and so was not a true adaption of the books, at the time of them being aired there was a lot of criticism of these adaptions. I for one loved the way Geraldine McEwan portrayed Miss Marple and enjoyed the series as a loosely based adaption.

Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple

Julia McKenzie took over the role of Marple from the retiring Geraldine McEwan after the third series had been aired, Julia McKenzie is noted as saying "It’s difficult because Agatha Christie wrote her in two ways...First, very much what Geraldine McEwan played: a slight, rather Victorian creature. Then, a little sturdier and tweedier. I chose the latter. A lot of people say they don’t like the tweedier version. But they’re both genuine."
The ITV Series Marple had gained the rights of other non-marple Agatha Christie stories and manage to adapt some of the story-lines into the Marple Series, so while the character is Marple the stories will be new to a lot of the books readership.
As with the other actresses that have played Miss Marple, I for one believe Julia McKenzie did a fine job and again like the others entertained me with their performance.

All the other Miss Marples

The most noted has to be Angela Lansbury who playing Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack'd, she then went on to star in the TV series Murder She Wrote as Jessica Fletcher which had a long and successful run.
Gracie Fields played Miss Marple in a 1956 episode of Goodyear TV Playhouse based on A Murder Is Announced.

I found an interesting blog about the blogger reading Christie in a year, some of the Miss Marple articles were very interesting and thankfully didn't give the endings away knowingchristie . I just wish it had an index and page layout but I think you will agree it is very interesting for Christie fans.

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Elspeth McGillicuddy is not a woman usually given to hallucinations. But when she witnesses what appears to be a woman being strangled on a train and no one else sees it, no one reports it and no corpse is found she turns...

Miss Marple The Complete Short by Agatha Christie

An omnibus of 55 short stories, presented for the first time in chronological order.
Described by her friend Dolly Bantry as ‘the typical old maid of fiction’, Miss Marple has lived almost her entire life in the sleepy hamlet of St Mary Mead. Yet, by observing village life she has gained an unparalleled insight into human nature – and used it to devasting effect. As her friend Sir Henry Clithering, the exCommissioner of Scotland Yard has been heard to say: ‘She’s just the...

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