Between 7:30 and 8:30 every morning except Sundays, Johnnie Butt made the round of the village of Chipping Cleghorn on his bicycle, whistling vociferously through his teeth and alighting at each house or cottage to shove through the letter box such morning papers as had been ordered by the occupants of the house in question from Mr. Totman, stationer, of the High Street.
The local paper has a reputation for having the juiciest gossip, but no one expected to read an announcement quite like this one: A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 PM. Friends please accept this, the only intimation. What could it mean? Readers see several households reaction to the announcement, including the reaction of the Blacklock household. Miss Letitia Blacklock, owner of Little Paddocks, is just as shocked as shocked can be. What kind of joke is this? What kind of game is this? If she's not responsible for setting up this announcement, who is? Though she never planned a party--let alone this kind of party--it looks like she'll be expected to play hostess anyway.
A handful of men and women 'attend' the big event at Little Paddocks. Many arriving just minutes before the 'murder' is supposed to occur. Many believing all along that this is a planned joke, a game, a trivial matter meant to bring people together to eat and drink and scream. But they're in for a surprise of their own when the lights go out and shots are fired. Lights reveal one dead man--the supposed mastermind of the robbery--and one bloodied woman, the hostess herself. The injury is slight, still many questions remain. The biggest question of all is was this a burglary gone wrong or a premeditated attempt at murder. Was Miss Blacklock the intended victim? Did the shooter have a motive for wanting the woman dead? And Miss Marple may be the best woman for solving this mystery...unofficially of course.
I enjoyed this one very much! I am just loving Miss Marple and this one was no exception. I enjoyed Inspector Craddock too. The characters, as always, were well done. It was just a satisfying read. And I was certainly surprised by this one!
Sir Henry on Miss Marple:
She's just the finest detective God ever made. Natural genius cultivated in a suitable soil....Remember that an elderly unmarried woman who knits and gardens is streets ahead of any detective sergeant. She can tell you what might have happened and what ought to have happened and even what actually did happen! And she can tell you why it happened! (47-8)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews