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19 August 2017

Book Review: The Moving Finger

The Moving Finger (Miss Marple, #4)The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Miss Marple doesn't even show up until page 175! How can you call this a Miss Marple Mystery, I ask you?

But the narrator, Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna are charming lead characters in a mystery that didn't really intrigue me or entice me much at all.

Jerry has been in a horrible flying accident and is sent to the country to slow down and recover. When he first arrives, he gets a letter. He turns it over "in the idle way one does when time goes slowly and every event must be spun out to its full extent."

Yes, life was slower in 1943, when this book was originally published. Consider this; "The human mind prefers to be spoon-fed with the thoughts of others, but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly, begin to think for itself--and such thinking, remember, is original thinking and may have valuable results." One imagines if staying away from being spoon-fed was difficult in a small village in 1943, it is nearly impossible now with talking heads and social media screaming at us all the time.

At one point, a character says, "God doesn't really need to punish us, Miss Barton. We're so very busy punishing ourselves," which was about the only allusion to the fact that this was written during WWII.

And, finally, describing a character as speaking "with that maddeningly complacent confidence in herself which was her chief characteristic," Christie finally gave me the vocabulary to describe a type of person who I find extraordinarily tedious and annoying. I could never quite give that feeling that certain people give me, that annoyance and eye-roll-inducing tedium, accurate description. Until now.

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