Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

“ I never can stand seeing people pleased with themselves,” said Joanna. “ It arouses all my worst instincts.”

“ Mr Dane Calthrop is a very remarkable woman, you know. She is nearly always right,” said Miss Marple. It makes her rather alarming,’ I said. ‘ Sincerity has that effect,’ said Miss Marple.

As Miss Marple rightly said in the story – “ Most crimes, you see, was absurdly simple. This one was.” Anyone could have easily guessed who the murderer was. But Agatha Christie had crafted it in such a way that the reader’s attention hardly fell on the murderer.

Though this is a Miss Marple story, she enters the scene only in the last few pages. It could have dampened the interest of the reader if he/she is a Miss Marple fan. But the protagonist, Mr Jerry Burton had done an outstanding job all through. The story starts with his narration. He comes to a placid village called Lymstock to recuperate as he got hurt in a flying accident. Jerry along with her sister Joanna moves to this village and starts living in an Emily Barton’s house.

After a few days, Jerry receives an anonymous letter accusing him of an incestuous relationship between him and her sister, Joanna. Though both ignored it as a silly mail, the other residents of Lymstock receive similar vicious letters. But it causes only a minor stir until one of the recipients commits suicide for she receives one such mail. The real twist comes when a young girl is murdered.

More than the suspense, I enjoyed the countryside portrayed in the book, the characters especially Joanna and Meghan. Both are original and never fails to call, a spade a spade. Apart from the mounting suspense, Agatha also weaves a beautiful love story.

Agatha has a knack of throwing in a surprise element during the climax of her stories. For instance ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. I am sure, many of her readers could not have guessed the climax in the wildest of their dreams. But ‘ The Moving Finger’ do not fall into the above-mentioned category. But it is a good book in its own way.

Agatha Christie considers this book as one of her bests.