Twelve contemporary authors pick up the mantle of Agatha Christie and reimagine Miss Marple in new settings. I have to admit I’m already biased since I absolutely adore every single Miss Marple story out there, and this book is no exception either.
Some of the authors stayed very close to the originals and even brought in a few other characters we’ve met before. The Second Murder at the Vicarage was one of my favourite stories solely for the nostalgia. Other authors transported Miss Marple far from St. Mary Mead to luxury ships and tropical islands. Agatha Christie would have definitely enjoyed her journeys, as did I. Miss Marple doing Tai Chi in a park in Hong Kong was an image I didn’t know I needed in my life.
The characters are put through various situations that are far more complex than anything Christie devised for hers. While this led to some beautiful stories, it also did lead to some known characters behaving quite differently from how they were originally presented. I did not consider this a problem until it affected Miss Marple herself. There were one or two stories which felt like generic mysteries with Miss Marple’s name merely tacked on. The stories themselves were incredibly fun, but perhaps not the best for this particular collection.
The writing was absolutely amazing, which is not surprising considering the calibre of the authors here. Leigh Bardugo’s words in the very last story left me choked up:
Age is cruel, and crueller still to women. A woman becomes a ghost when she stops being worth looking at.
—a sentiment Agatha Christie echoed, which led to the creation of Miss Marple in the first place. A fitting way to end the collection.
Miss Marple: Twelve New Stories is perfect for anyone who loves cosy mysteries. The book manages to offer some fresh takes on a well-loved and familiar character while staying true to the essence of Agatha Christie. I have no doubt everyone who reads this will find at least one story that speaks to them.
What more could you ask for out of a book?
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.