Pubblicato in Italia con il titolo La morte nel villaggio. Uno degli uomini più odiati del villaggio di St. Mary Maed è stato ucciso nella canonica. E mentre la polizia brancola nel buio, una simpatica signora anziana sembra essere l’unica che possa risolvere il caso.

After a summer spent rereading the Poirot novels, I decided to dedicate the Autumn reading the other incredible character created by the pen of Agatha Christie: Miss Marple. I must confess that while I have read many Poirot novels, I never turned my attention to the Miss Marple series before.

Even though Miss Marple made her first appearance in The Tuesday Night Club, The Murder at the Vicarage is the first novel featuring the elderly woman turned amateur detective in the English village of St. Mary Mead.

The story is told from the perspective of the vicar who one afternoon found the body of the local magistrate, Colonel Protheroe, shot dead in his own study at the vicarage. The list of suspects is quite long because the colonel wasn’t loved in the village, not even by his own family, and while the police and the vicar himself try to figure out who the killer is, a “white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner” seems the only one who can discover the surprising truth.

I really enjoyed this first novel in the Miss Marple series. It is a fun and intriguing story with complex characters and unexpected twists and turns. I loved the small town setting where gossip is at the order of the day and at its centre is Miss Jane Marple, quiet and watchful and mostly underestimated by those around her:

“You underestimate the detective instinct of village life. In St. Mary Mead everyone knows your most intimate affairs. There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of uncertain age with plenty of time in her hands.”