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Friday the thirteenth, doing the Thirteen Problems... oooer.

This one might be a bit rambly again, since I read (or re-read) this last night and am going through it again as I type to dredge out all the various things I wanted to note.



Ah, we finally get to see Miss Marple's own unsolved mystery, except that it is solved, but she figures everyone's just forgotten about it or more likely never knew about it.

Here's one where Marple overdoes the omniscience a bit... but oh well, I guess it's a fine line, yes? She could lose some of the knitting though. I mean, it even creeps into her story!

One thing I'm noticing especially in this story (and somewhat in others) is that it's a bit odd reading this story, having also read a bunch of other (later) Miss Marple stories. I mean, here her nephew (great-nephew, I think?) has apparently been won over to admiration of his aunt, and a realization that life in the village isn't always all that quiet, but this seems to have died down again in later books. She also talks about how she has no truck with doctors and their medicines, although she seems to have quite a nice relationship with her own doctor later on. (I suppose this could be a matter of her being won over later, but...) And of course her mentioning hating to stay in someone else's house, which never seems to slow her down in the future.

I'm also slightly surprised that Raymond West isn't familiar with this story at all, since it is a relative of his in some way, but I guess that's not too out-there, since branches of families do sometimes tend to lose track of one another. Still, I wouldn't think that these particular branches were that far off. (Then again, I guess West would also have been fairly young...)

I'm starting to wonder if Christie didn't exactly have a great view of marriage in general. I mean, many of her main characters are unmarried, and the whole "girl marries a total rotter" theme is so prevalent in all her books... or maybe she just has a very low opinion of younger females of the species?

If it weren't for the whole trend of servants in this book to be at least part of the solution, I'd wonder if there was anyone who didn't guess at the old father... since he's about the only damn person mentioned in the story other than Marple's niece. (And I guess she didn't get the brains of the family...)

(I was going to make an aside of another class, or subclass maybe, of people that I've learned to immediately suspect when they appear in a Christie novel, but that might be classed as general spoilers, so I'll skip it I guess.)

Another side note: for whatever reason, I'd had the impression that ptomaine poisoning was a specific type of bacterial poisoning a la salmonella or something, but no, says Wiki Pete. Huh. I'd grown up hearing that term at least from time to time, and didn't even realize it wasn't accepted as a scientific term anymore.

Blah blah blah religion, blah blah.

Anyhow, I do like how the gathered listeners don't even bother to try to guess the culprit, like they did in the other stories. It's like they're now just disciples at the feet of Miss Marple, content to listen to her story and solution alike.

Anyhow, I think that pretty much does it for my commentary (finally!), but of course feel free to add anything I've missed. ;)

Vocabulary for the day:

Board Wages: apparently wages just sufficient for room and board, or are the room and board themselves.

Thumb Mark of St. Peter: this is a mark on a haddock that legend says is from, duh, St. Peter's Thumb, who pulled temple tax from a fish's mouth in one of Jesus' miracles.

Comments

( 9 Notes — Write a Footnote )
(Deleted comment)
stormfeather
Aug. 13th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: the thumbmark - Well, I had a couple links in the vocabulary for the day, if you missed it down on the bottom what with all the ugly linkiness.

Also, I keep meaning to watch Doctor Who at some point, but it always seems so daunting to jump into a show once it's well underway.

Also also: it can be hard with Christie sometimes to tell what she believes and what she's just writing for characterization or whatever! Then other times it seems to be easy - I think it's easy to say that the one ditzy woman mystery writer that pops up in a lot of the Poirot books - Ariadne Oliver, that's it - is quite probably espousing many of the things Christie herself feels.
(Deleted comment)
stormfeather
Aug. 13th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Ah, gotcha! Well, here's a pic that shows it pretty well, but it doesn't say about the other stuff...

And unfortunately I don't know any haddock experts to ask!

(I wonder if there is such a thing?)
(Deleted comment)
annewashere
Aug. 13th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
Christie gives me the impression of someone who is constantly shaking her finger at 'youth these days,' thinking them all starry-eyed and romantic about marriage, blah blah.

But then again in lots of her books it's necessary for the young couple to get together before the end, so. (including this one, IIRC! sorry didn't reread it this time...)
stormfeather
Aug. 13th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
True, and plus while she shakes her finger at youth, she also then turns around and rolls her eyes at old age, although in a *nudge nudge* sort of way, so... I guess she just enjoys poking fun at human nature in general maybe?
khedron
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Anyhow, I do like how the gathered listeners don't even bother to try to guess the culprit, like they did in the other stories. It's like they're now just disciples at the feet of Miss Marple, content to listen to her story and solution alike.

Well, there was so little for them to go on, you know? This was one of the stories I think are fine as stories, but not so good as mysteries, because the reader doesn't have enough information. I'm not saying that if they'd said "the cook heard him say, 'pile of carp'", it would have helped that much, but there was really no chance of figuring out what had happened.

Vocabulary notes: thank you for looking up "board wages"! I was guessing from context, good to know.
khedron
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Oh, part I didn't like:
"[...] The more she had thought about them since, the more she was convinced that their appearance was unusual."

"She would be," I said. "They would start by being quite like mushrooms in appearance, and they would end by being orange with purpose spots. There is nothing that class cannot remember if it tries."
"That class"?

Part I liked, which is the key to Miss Marple's magic:
"Everybody is very much alike, really. But fortunately, perhaps, they don't realize it."


Edited at 2010-08-14 02:50 am (UTC)
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