Review: A Murder is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Harper Collins, 2005. Format: Hardcover Facsimile edition. ISBN-13: 9780007208463. 258 pages.

9780007208463 About the book: A facsimile first edition hardback of the Miss Marple books, published to mark the 75th anniversary of her first appearance and to celebrate her new-found success on television. When The Murder at the Vicarage was published in October 1930, little did the literary world realise that Agatha Christie, already famous for her early Poirot titles, was introducing a character who would become the best-loved female sleuth of all time. The 14 Marple books would appear at intervals over the next 49 years, with Miss Marple’s Final Cases published in 1979, three years after Agatha’s death. To mark the 75th anniversary of Miss Marple’s first appearance, and to celebrate her renewed fortunes as a primetime television star, this collection of facsimile first editions will be the perfect way to enjoy these books in their original form – 12 novels and two short story collections. Reproducing the original typesetting and formats from the first editions from the Christie family’s own archive copies, these books sport the original covers which have been painstakingly restored from the best available copies, reflecting five decades of iconic cover design. (Source: Harper Collins)

Synopsis: The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m. Friends please accept this, the only invitation. A childish practical joke ? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock ? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out… (Source: Harper Collins)

More about this story: More than a simple murder mystery, this is a story of redemption set in the throes of post-war muddle and discomfort. Miss Marple, on holiday in nearby Medenham Wells, is ably assisted by Inspector Craddock who went on to appear in Sanctuary, 4.50 from Paddington and The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side. This is one of Christie’s most successful conjuring tricks, the physical mechanics actually tested out on her own neighbours in Wallingford, and as usual some of the best, and in retrospect, most infuriating clues are verbal: in this case, you could even say typographical. Agatha Christie even allowed herself a small inhouse joke – the vicarage cat in A Murder is Announced received the rather grand name Tiglath Pileser, after an Assyrian king whose warrior artefacts were discovered on one of her and husband’s archaeological excavations.

This story was the first Miss Marple to be adapted for television in 1956, with Gracie Fields in the starring role, alongside Roger Moore. It was later adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon and opened in London at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1977 after a try out in Brighton. Set in “present day”, it is one of the few stage plays to feature Miss Marple. It wasn’t until 1985 that Joan Hickson revived the story for TV in the BBC’s adaptation and it was then adapted again almost twenty years later, in 2004, starring Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple. In 2005, BBC Radio 4 produced a dramatisation which featured June Whitfield as Miss Marple. (Source: Official Agatha Christie website)

A Murder Is Announced has been a reread for me, though I probably read it for the first time when I was between twelve or fourteen years old. However I have still found it a fascinating read. Since I don’t have much time right now, I will not elaborate any further. Suffice is to say that I very much agree with the view stated in the blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, given below. I should add, however, that I have particularly enjoyed in this rereading, with the opportunity to observe the changes that had been produced in British society and, by association, in Western societies in the time period between the two World Wars; changes that are fully reflected in this story. Highly recommended.

I submit this book as my third entry for the year 1950, at Rich Westwood’s meme ‘Crimes of the Century’, on his blog Past Offences.

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. Her first novel, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, written towards the end of the First World War, introduced us to Hercule Poirot, who was to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. She is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 19 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott and saw her work translated into more languages than Shakespeare. Her enduring success, enhanced by many film and TV adaptations, is a tribute to the timeless appeal of her characters and the unequalled ingenuity of the plots. (Source: Harper Collins)

A Murder Is Announced has been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise, Books Please, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, ahsweetmysteryblog, Past Offences, and Clothes in Books among others.

HarperCollins Publishers

Official Agatha Christie website


Se anuncia un asesinato de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: Los habitantes de Chipping Cleghorn, incluyendo Jane Marple, estaban impacientes de curiosidad por un anuncio en el diario local, que dice: Se anuncia un asesinato, que tendrá lugar el viernes, 29 de octubre, en Little Paddocks, a las seis y media de la tarde. Amigos, no desoigan este único aviso. ¿Una broma pueril, o un montaje destinado a asustar a la pobre Letitia Blacklock? Incapaces de resistirse a la misteriosa invitación, una multitud empieza a congregarse en Little Paddocks a la hora señalada cuando, sin previo aviso, las luces se apagan … (Fuente: Harper Collins, mi traducción libre)

Se anuncia un asesinato ha sido para mí una relectura, aunque probablemente lo leí por primera vez cuando tenía entre doce o catorce años de edad. Sin embargo todavía me ha parecido una lectura fascinante. Como no tengo mucho tiempo ahora, no voy a extenderme más. Baste decir que estoy muy de acuerdo con la opinión expresada en el blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel. Debo añadir, sin embargo, que he disfrutado especialmente en esta relectura, con la oportunidad de observar los cambios que se habían producido en la sociedad británica y, por asociación, en las sociedades occidentales en el período de tiempo entre las dos guerras mundiales; cambios que se reflejan plenamente en esta historia. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Presento este libro como mi tercera entrada al año 1950, en el meme de Rich Westwood “Crimes of the Century”, en su blog Past Offences.

La escritora inglesa, Agatha Christie es considerada como una de las más grandes autoras de crimen y misterio de la literatura universal. Su prolífica obra todavía arrastra a una legión de seguidores, siendo una de las autoras más traducidas del mundo y cuyas novelas y relatos todavía son objeto de reediciones, representaciones y adaptaciones al cine.
Christie fue la creadora de grandes personajes dedicados al mundo del misterio, como la entrañable Señorita Marple o el detective belga Hércules Poirot. Hasta hoy, se calcula que se han vendido más de cuatro mil millones de copias de sus libros traducidos a más de 100 idiomas en todo el mundo. Además, su obra de teatro La ratonera permaneció en cartel durante 23 000 representaciones. Nacida en una familia de clase media, Agatha Christie fue enfermera durante la I Guerra Mundial. Su primera novela se publicó en 1920 y mantuvo una gran actividad mandando relatos a periódicos y revistas. Tras un primer divorcio, Christie se casó con el arqueólogo Max Mallowan, con quien realizó varias excavaciones en Oriente Medio que luego le servirían para ambientar alguna de sus más famosas historias, al igual que su trabajo en la farmacia de un hospital, que le ayudó para perfeccionar su conocimiento de los venenos. La obra de Christie se extiende a lo largo de más de cincuenta años, con personajes como Miss Marple o Poirot, siendo clasificada como novela enigma. De entre sus novelas habría que destacar títulos como Diez negritos, Asesinato en el Orient Express, Tres ratones ciegos, Muerte en el Nilo, El asesinato de Roger Acroyd o Matar es fácil, entre otros muchos. Las adaptaciones al cine de su obra se cuentan por decenas. Además de estas obras, Agatha Christie también se dedicó a la novela romántica bajo el seudónimo de Mary Westmacott. Christie recibió numerosos premios y distinciones a lo largo de su carrera, como el título de Dama del Imperio Británico o el primer Grand Master Award concedido por la Asociación de Escritores de Misterio. Agatha Christie murió en Wallingford el 12 de enero de 1976. (Fuente: Lecturalia)

RBA Libros

22 thoughts on “Review: A Murder is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout Jose Ignacio, and so glad you enjoyed this one too. I loved all the extra facts you gave about the history, which I was not aware of. I love the idea of her trying it out on her neighbours! I have been to the village where she lived (and visited her grave in the graveyard) and you can just imagine it being Chipping Cleghorn.

    1. I feell very much the same Cleo! Have always thought I much prefer the Poirot stories than Mis Marple ones, but I may try now, after having read this one, some other Miss Marple stories.

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