A challenge of reading Agatha Christie mysteries with the goal of attempting to solve them is that I have to be in a particular type of mood to give it a go. I started the Miss Marple classic A Caribbean Mystery about a month ago, and only managed to get into the mystery-solving stage today, not because the story wasn’t gripping. On the contrary, this is one of my favourite Marples, and certainly one that showcases her sharp wit, sly humour, and undercover brilliance to perfection. I was intrigued by the mystery, and eager to find out what twists and turns the Queen of Crime had in store.
Unfortunately for my curiosity, I knew that figuring out this mystery would require all of my little grey cells, and as it turns out, I am very rarely in the mood these days to exercise those little grey cells. This means that, for the last few weeks, I’ve been very happily devouring Baby-Sitters Club ebooks from the library, whilst poor Major Palgrave’s murder remained (at least to me) unsolved.
Fortunately for truth, justice, and all that jazz, my grey cells have finally reawakened, and today, I read my notes and re-read the earlier chapters, then read all the way to right before the big reveal and tried to cobble all the clues together. My verdict: I have no idea who killed the Major. Or rather, I have two suspects and a gut-feel third suspect, and true to the Queen of Crime’s twists and turns, none of them were on my suspect list early on. I have vague theories about what their motives could be, and random bits of information that I think support my claims. And a whole jumble of thoughts about how they all fit together.
Miss Marple is on holiday in the Caribbean politely pretending to listen as an old soldier, Major Palgrave, regales her with tales of his adventures. Then he tells her about a murder he heard about and, reaching into his wallet, asks if she wants to see a snapshot of a murderer. He’s about to show her the photo when he catches sight of something — or someone — behind her, and hurriedly changes the subject.
The next day, he’s found dead. Doctors chalk it up to high blood pressure, mostly because of a bottle of blood pressure pills at his bedside, but one of the hotel staff swears that bottle wasn’t there before his death. Whodunit?
Did I Succeed? (No Spoilers)
No, alas, I did not. I missed a key clue (that to Christie’s credit was mentioned more than once), and totally fixated on the wrong characters and plot elements.
Still, this is definitely one of my favourite Marple mysteries and overall Christie stories. Twisty, convoluted, and oh-so-much fun. This is a mystery and a cast of characters I’d very much love to see on the screen, so I’ll have to find out which of the Marple shows covered this!
***SPOILERS BELOW***Continue reading