The Best Miss Marple Novel – Round Two

So the group stage of the Miss Marple voting is over, and we’re on to the quarter-finals now. It’s now a straight knock-out. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the “matches”. On the off-chance of a tie, the winner will be the one that received the most votes in the group round will go through. But let’s take a look at the results so far – I’ll be honest, there are some surprises…

Miss Marple 2

Group A

No massive surprise here with A Murder Is Announced running away with it. I do wonder whether A Pocket Full Of Rye would have fared better in other groups – I’m rather fond of it, it’s one of her cleverer Marple plots, and I personally prefer it to The Body In The Library. But all three of these are strong books – definitely the Group of Death. But it’s farewell to A Pocketful Of Rye…

Group B

I’ll admit – I’m surprised. I always thought 4:50 From Paddington was a weak Marple, much preferring The Moving Finger. But with over 50% of the vote, it seems I’m in the minority. So it’s farewell to A Caribbean Mystery

Group C

No real surprise here – They Do It With Mirrors is fairly dreadful – and the other two have their charms. Not entirely sure which of the other two I prefer, as The Mirror Crack’d has that nasty taste from the use of the source material, whereas The Murder At The Vicarage… well, see my review.

Group D

Big surprises here – while none of these are the strongest Marple books, I’m astonished about two things. One, Nemesis was leading for a long time until Sleeping Murder had a late surge and Two, FIFTEEN people preferred At Bertram’s Hotel – review coming soon, generally regarded as being one of the weakest of the books.

Anyway, here’s the draw from now on – vote for each match-up below. You’ve got until 6pm UK time on Wednesday…

Miss Marple 1

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23 comments

    • Especially the one where, in my opinion, they’re both rubbish… I thought seeding the first round would avoid that problem but it would seem that Goodreads ratings aren’t the most reliable things. Who’d have thought? 🙂

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  1. I think the choices are getting easier! But I was surprised at some of the first round votes, much along your lines, Doc! I’m a fan of Moving Finger, and I’m not sure I could take tea at Bertram’s Hotel with anyone who voted for that book, no matter how scrumptious the cakes and scones are.

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  2. I agree with Brad. Deciding on my votes this time was very easy and I am glad all of my three favourites made it into this round. Although I am surprised The Moving Finger has made it considering Miss Marple only comes into the story 20-30 pages from the end.

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  3. I’m one og those that voted for BERTRAM’S because I always liked how it used fake nostalgia as a plot point, which i thought was a clever comment by Christie on the appeal of her books at that stage. But I agree that SLEEPING is probably the better book … glad to see that the consensus on MURDER IS ANNOUNCED is near universal 🙂

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    • I’d be astonished – and I’d have said this before the voting started – if Murder Is Announced didn’t win easily. But it’s the second, third and fourth places that I’m more curious about… And, of course, the first place if my assumption is wrong…

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      • From the previous results, it seems that AMIA, 4.50FP, MATV and SM will make it to the final 4. However, we know one person who will vote for the remaining four due to his sympathy for the underdog ! 🙂

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    • Yes, I’d say Bertram’s has a lot more going for it than, say, Nemesis, which feels completely devoid of any originality or interest (and yet is also weirdly popular). Bertram’s is nuts and flabby and can’t decide what genre it wants to be and doesn’t make any sense, but at least it’s trying something. As Sergio says, the use of fake nostalgia is a clever trick and commentary, one which you won’t find anywhere else in her books.

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      • I agree – Bertram’s may be weak on plot but at least it’s fun, unlike Nemesis which is dark, joyless and too wordy. I too like The Moving Finger although 4.50 From Paddington has more going for it in terms of characterization and, again, is a fun read.

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  4. I’m glad to see that my all-time favourite Miss Marple novel is doing well so far, and yes, I agree it’s a pity that ‘Pocket Full of Rye’ didn’t manage to survive. It’s certainly stronger than some of the other titles that have sneaked into the semi-finals…

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  5. I have to say that when I first read Bertram’s (over 30 years ago…), I thought it the worst thing ever. In fact, if my first taste of Christie had not been Orient Express, I might have been put off permanently. And it definitely made me less eager to pick up the next Marple book (which was Vicarage and a rousing success–so good for that!). But when the Tuesday Night Bloggers (made up of Golden Age Detection readers) put the spotlight on Christie last fall, I decided to give Bertram’s another try. I had a better appreciation of the differences between appearances and reality and, as has already been mentioned, the use of nostalgia as a cover.

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