Villagers expect a fun game after a Gazette announcement of murder, but when lights flash off, shots ring out, and a masked burglar falls dead, the Inspector and vicar’s wife Bunch call in expert Miss Jane Marple. Was Swiss hotel clerk Rudi framed? Miss Letitia Blackstone houses scatty Dora, cousins Julia and Patrick, gardener widow Phillipa, and paranoid cook Mitzi.
This is set just after WWII, when rationing is still in place, village life is changing – where people no longer know who their neighbours are – and where there is still a mistrust in “foreigners” such as the poor Mitzi, who has (or has not) been through so much in Germany during the war, depending on how much of her wailing you actually believe.
It starts out with an entry in the local newspaper, announcing a murder at 6:30 that evening at Little Paddocks. Naturally, people are curious, so there’s plenty of witnesses that evening as the lights go out, shots are fired and a young man is found dead in the hall moments later. Of course, Bunch knows Miss Marple, and combined with Inspector Craddock who knows her reputation, she is called down to help out. People are more likely to say things to the dotty old woman knitting in the corner than the police after all…..
There’s a veritable cast here, some of whom have very similar names, and the matter of the inheritance of millions of pounds, people pretending to be other people, and it all boils down to “do you really know your neighbour?”.
As usual, a tight little story, where most of the clues are there if you are paying attention (though most people dont), an like the TV adaptations, a great way to spend an afternoon