This continues to be one of the eeriest novels I've read. Exceedingly powerful, it sees our dear Aunt Jane receive a letter from a late acquaintance - Jason Rafiel - from a past case - they helped prevent a second murder - he doesn't disclose much information to her - not even who was involved or what happened!
She accepts, and finds herself on a coach tour of historic homes and gardens. 15 fellow passengers, one of which must be connected with said murder. It's up to Miss Marple to unravel what proves to be a rather complicated web.
I throughly enjoyed this - this was my second read of it. From the start, where Miss Marple is unfolding her second newspaper and drinking her morning tea, to when she reveals herself to Clotilde as Nemesis. I enjoyed re meeting the other coach passengers, and getting re acquainted with those three sisters, Clotilde Bradbury Scott included. I also liked the doomed Elizabeth Temple, and every word was a thrill, especially when it's disclosed that Verity was killed because of love.
A thrilling tale of love, loss & mystery if there ever was one.
I almost feel bad giving this book a 2 star review. I mean, we're talking about the queen of crime here! But honestly, it just drug. The entire book kept me thinking to myself..."Aha! I remember why I only read Poirot mysteries! I HATE Miss Marple!"
The worst part of the book was probably the part that seemed played up the most in the synopsis - the fact that Miss Marple doesn't know what mystery she is supposed to solve. It sounded intriguing and mysterious, but really it was just boring. Yes, dear reader, you spend exactly 50% of the book with no crime, no hint of a crime, and really no plot. Just Miss Marple plodding along thinking "I wonder if this is the crime? Or maybe this? I'll just sit here and wait for it to come to me." If I wasn't reading this for book club, I would have DNF'd at 49%. Because there was still. no. crime. (Or plot...but we've already touched on that.)
I guess the biggest reason I hated this book, was that I could think of SO MANY ways that Miss Marple could have gotten a few more hints... I mean, in order to get the money, I'd assume that the lawyers would have to know what the desired outcome would be to successfully complete the task for the reward. Could you not ask them that? And if they didn't know, then by golly, just go out and solve some random mystery and tell them you did it! Can they realistically deny you if they have no more knowledge than that?
Was it an interesting premise? I suppose. Was it convoluted and contrived? Yes. Was it as poorly written as this review? Also yes. Would I recommend it to others? No.
I really enjoyed Nemesis, but I don't think it's Agatha Christie's best work. This book does have a few parts that did not age well (specifically in reference to rape). And I found a few of the characters difficult to keep track of, but overall I really enjoyed the story and I think the twist at the end was great!
This felt like a very different Miss Marple than I'm used to. For one, it is in many ways a culmination: it proceeds directly from the result of "A Caribbean Mystery" and depicts Miss Marple embracing her role as an avatar of justice while struggling with the infirmity of age. She has never before seemed this old or frail, and also never been so intentional about her pursuit of justice. It's a very interesting tension and Christie explores Marple's old age in ways I haven't seen before.
On the other hand, the mystery isn't quite there. Marple seems to get the same basic set of information 7 or 8 times. The plot meanders a bit, and the whole thing seems strangely padded. So A+ for character, but low marks for plot and mystery; and at the end of the day the mystery is why I come to Christie in the first place, which makes this something of a disappointment, even if it is a fascinating one.
“It has just happened that I have found myself in the vicinity of murder rather more often than would seem normal.”
Bless, isn't that just a Miss Marple sort of thing to say? Maybe it was the Greek/Roman mythology theme running through "Nemesis," but I really enjoyed this Miss Marple mystery, even though it's one of Christie's later novels. And I loved how reflective Miss Marple was, bringing up old cases, having read through all of them this year. The atmosphere, brooding, melancholic, dark, is excellently woven.
I find the musings on getting older/memory loss fascinating, especially since this would have been written when Agatha Christie herself found it harder to remember things. There's a scene right at the beginning of the novel where Miss Marple is trying to recall the names of various acquaintances of hers that could have been taken directly from a conversation with my grandmother. (It's a mix of amusing and heart-breaking.)
There were several references to girls "crying rape" and similar ideas/attitudes. I took it as she was having her characters espouse the opinion of the time, with perhaps a bit of subtle commentary on it, as Christie is wont to do with social issues in her novels. Another reader may take it differently.
Not the best Christie - quite repetitive and Miss Marple is so old. Not much of a puzzle either.
Miss Marple really came into her own as a character in this story. She had heaps of personality - including glimpses of naughtiness.
Part of me wondered if it was a little far-fetched - with all the coincidences and timings and the right people just happening to say the right things just in time. Nevertheless, it was still clever, although for once I was on the right track before the last few chapters and reveal.
Enjoyed it thoroughly.
(You really must read this one after "A Caribbean Mystery" to get the full benefit. In some ways, it's a sequel.)
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