Monday, February 14, 2011

The Moving Finger

The Moving Finger. Agatha Christie. 1942/2007. Black Dog & Leventhal. 208 pages.

I have often recalled the morning when the first of the anonymous letters came.

Jerry Burton, our hero, has taken a house in the country with his sister, Joanna. He's recuperating from an injury, and his doctor has definitely suggested some rest and relaxation. As for Joanna, she's recuperating from a broken heart. But rural village life isn't as uneventful and peaceful as he expected. For soon after his arrival, an anonymous "poison pen" begins a nasty letter campaign. Which is unpleasant enough, he supposes, but things turn deadly after a woman's "suicide" after receiving a vile letter. The victim leaves behind two young sons, an older daughter from her first marriage, a husband, and a rather pretty governess. Megan, the daughter from the first marriage, soon becomes a major player in this Miss Marple mystery. This "suicide" becomes a bit suspicious when a second death occurs--that of a maid--within the home. The question becomes did this maid--on her day off--see something?

I loved this one. I just LOVED it. It wasn't a purely pleasant read for me. I wouldn't exactly say I was praying throughout, but I was certainly wishful with my repeated pleas, please don't let it be Megan, please don't let it be Megan, please don't let it be Megan. Never have I gotten that involved with a mystery. Who is Megan? For better or worse, she's the young woman our hero described thusly, "She looked much more like a horse than a human being. In fact, she would have been a very nice horse with a little grooming" (17). She's largely ignored not only by the village but by her family as well. But there is something about her that Jerry, our hero, can't ignore. He goes out of his way--time and time and time again--to include her. He even invites her to stay with him and his sister after her mother's death. He is the one person, she's found, willing to listen to her.

While Jerry is making friends with Megan--not always an easy task--Joanna, his sister, is trying to make friends with the local doctor. That is an uphill battle. Joanna has never, ever had to work this hard to get a guy to like her.

So this mystery has a romantic element to it which I just loved. It also stars Miss Marple, though she doesn't enter the case until after the second death occurs. Miss Marple finds Jerry Burton a great help in this one! The details he's observed through his stay, makes solving this one so much easier for her! It gives her quite the lead. But she still has to *prove* it.

The Moving Finger is very compelling! I loved it for so many different reasons.

My favorite quotes:

Emily Barton, I think, has a mental picture of men as interminably consuming whisky-and-sodas and smoking cigars, and in the intervals dropping out to do a few seductions of village maidens, or to conduct a liaison with a married woman.
When I said this to Joanna later, she replied that it was probably wishful thinking, that Emily Barton would have liked to come across such a man, but alas, had never done so. (85)

"The police are doing their best."
"If Agnes could be killed yesterday, their best isn't good enough."
"So you know better than they do?"
"Not at all. I don't know anything at all. That's why I'm going to call in an expert."
I shook my head. "You can't do that. Scotland Yard will only take over on a demand from the chief constable of the county. Actually they have sent Graves."
"I don't mean that kind of an expert. I don't mean someone who knows about anonymous letters or even about murder. I mean someone who knows people. Don't you see? We want someone who knows a great deal about wickedness!"
It was a queer point of view. But it was, somehow, stimulating. (141)

"Yes, it was dangerous, but we are not put into this world, Mr. Burton, to avoid danger when an innocent fellow creature's life is at stake. You understand me?"
I understood. (199)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP