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Publisher's Summary

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn 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? 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.
©1950 Agatha Christie Mallowan (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London UK

Critic Reviews

"Joan Hickson: you can't beat her, you know. So enjoy this not-so-fluffy old lady doing her Marple thing. Genius." ( Time Out)

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  • happyretro
  • 18-09-2012

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon

I just love Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories. And Joan Hickson is my favourite Miss Marple. Her voice has that very proper English lady sound while also sounding very inquisitive and intelligent.

This is the perfect audio book to sit back in the evening and just envelope yourself in the fascinating world that Agatha Christie creates.

As a book, this is my favourite Miss Marple story. It has such interesting characters and such devious twists and turns in the plot.

If you like little old lady murder mysteries you'll love this audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • FictionFan
  • 06-01-2018

Party games...

When a mysterious notice appears in the Chipping Cleghorn Gazette, the villagers don't take it very seriously.

‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m. Friends please accept this, the only intimation.’

The prevailing feeling is that this is a rather odd invitation from Miss Letitia Blacklock, owner of Little Paddocks, perhaps to some kind of murder mystery evening. So all her friends decide to show up at the appointed time. Miss Blacklock knows nothing about it but, being a sensible woman, she realises the villagers are likely to descend on her and makes preparations for a little drinks party anyway. Once everyone is assembled, a shocking event occurs and the end result is that a man lies dead. It's up to the police, ably assisted by Miss Marple, to find out who he was and why he died...

This has always been one of my favourite Christies, mainly because I thinks she excels herself in both plotting and characterisation. It also has one of the best beginnings, as Christie ranges round the village introducing us to all the characters by means of telling us which newspapers they routinely have delivered. Newspapers in Britain have always been such an indicator of class, social position, education, political standpoint; and Christie uses this brilliantly to very quickly telegraph (no pun intended) the social mix of the village.

Published in 1950, this is post-war Britain, and the first chapter gives us a little microcosm of British middle-class society of the time – old soldiers, the traditionally rich fading into genteel poverty, the new business classes taking over as the wealthy ones, women beginning to find their place in the workforce, people displaced from their original homes forming a mobile and fluctuating population, so that even in villages neighbours no longer know all the long histories of their neighbours – now people have to be judged on what they choose to reveal of themselves. Anyone who thinks Golden Age crime fiction has nothing much to say about society should read this chapter and think again. Christie, of course, understood totally that crime fiction is first and foremost an entertainment though, so all this information is transmitted with warmth and humour, and all in the space of a few hundred words. Many modern crime writers would probably take 150 pages, bore us all to death, and still not produce anything half as insightful...

There is one aspect of the book I don't enjoy and that's the treatment of Mitzi, Miss Blacklock's foreign maid. A war refugee from Eastern Europe, she is portrayed with a kind of cruel casualness – her anxiety dismissed as hysteria, her horror stories of her life in the war dismissed as either exaggeration or with an attitude of contempt for her not having the British stiff upper lip. It's odd, because this book also has some of Christie's kindest and most moving characterisations – poor old Bunny, Miss Blacklock's companion, who shows us all the tragedy of the genteel poor at that time, and the Misses Hinchcliffe and Murgatroyd, never openly described as lesbian, but portrayed with great sympathy and warmth.

I'm not going to give any details of the plot for fear of spoilers. However, this is entirely fair play – not only are all the clues in there, but Miss Marple kindly summarises them all towards the end to give us one last chance to solve it for ourselves. I've read this one so often over the years that I know whodunit and why and now I can more or less anticipate the clues before we get to them, but I think I was suitably baffled first time I read it. Even knowing how it all works out, I still find it an immensely enjoyable read, allowing me to admire Christie's skill at its remarkable height.

This time around I listened to the wonderful Joan Hickson narrating it. She really is perfect for the Miss Marple books. Her old-fashioned accent is just right, and she completely gets the tone of the books – the mixture of tragedy and humour, the sympathy for human foibles and weaknesses, the little romantic interludes. In this one she made me laugh with the younger characters and moved me to tears with Bunny's story (I've always had a huge soft spot for Bunny – she's one of my favourite Christie characters). Marvellous stuff – the ideal partnership of author and narrator. Highly recommended.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 09-12-2017

Wonderful.

One of Agatha’s best read by my favourite Marple; Joan Hickson. I love this story and the characters, the ingenuity of the plot and the setting. Murder in a cosy house surrounded by friends and one of them is the killer. Delicious Death........

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gordon Davis-Day
  • 25-03-2017

Brilliant

As always Agatha Christie present a world to get lost in and wonderfully read by Joan Hickson, one of my favourite's of Miss Marple.

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  • Jenna Williams
  • 07-03-2017

Great Book but...

I liked the book but unlike watching on the tv it's hard to keep track of character's and who is who. Though after the reveal I'll be re-reading until I pick up the clues myself.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • louise w
  • 05-03-2016

fantastic listen

A great audable story. The effects made it that if you closed your eyes you ,could see it in you're mind very relaxing voice to listen to.

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  • Jaye what if
  • 09-04-2015

Murder is announced

Advertising in paper saying going to be a murder at 630pm today
All are invited to attend is it a party or something more sinister??????

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • 07-04-2013

Classic

This audio book offers everything you'd expect from Agatha Christie. Being read by the definitive Miss Marple Joan Hickson, makes this a joy to listen to!

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  • JANE PRIOR
  • 07-08-2017

Terrible narration

You will, of course, recognise the voice of Joan Hickson as Miss Marple's voice from television. However, the other voices in this version of the audiobook are so similar to Miss Marple's voice that it made it impossible at times to work out who was saying what. I actually returned this item half way through because rather than being light entertainment while doing housework it was tiresome and not worth the price paid.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful