She s going to take it on, is she Sporting old bean, he said Then he added, I suppose she knows something of what it s all about, does she Apparently not, said Mr Broadribb. I would have reviewed this one a while ago, right after I read the book, in fact, but I really didn t want to be reminded about much of the book I have really grown to dislike Miss Marple and this book is a fine example of everything that bugs me about her character From her innate xenophobiaThe fourth chair was occupied by Mr Caspar whom Miss Marple considered as not sufficiently conversant with the English language to matter Miss Marple had never quite succeeded in abandoning her Victorian view of foreigners One never knew with foreigners Quite absurd, of course, to feel like that she had many friends from various foreign countries All the same to her being a judgmental old busy bodyOne of them was very definitely the complaining type, one who would want to have seats at the front of the coach or else would make a point of having them at the back of the coach Would wish to sit on the sunny side or could only bear to sit on the shady side Who would wantfresh air, or less fresh air and a little bit deluded though it was weird to even read about this potential love interestPoor Mr Rafiel The ship that had passed in the night had been an interesting ship Once you got used to his being rude, he might have been quite an agreeable man No She shook her head Mr Rafiel could never have been an agreeable man Well, she must put Mr Rafiel out of her head Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness I have not read The Caribbean Mystery, yet, but I somehow doubt there was such a thing in it as a blossoming romance between old Marple and Mr Rafiel.Just as I know there is a disconnect between this utteranceMiss Marple packed a suitcase bag, went to London, booked a room at a modest hotel Ah, Bertram s Hotel, she thought in her mind, what a wonderful hotel that was and the fact that Marple disapproved of Bertram s Hotel by the end of the book At Bertram s Hotel written six years before Nemesis So, having paid a little attention, I found this book to be containingcontinuity errors than I can put up with Anyway, I won t give anything away about the somewhat far fetched plot but Marple is not the only bone of contention with this book As others have also summarised, there are also concerns with the book with respect to the issue of victim shaming and the trivialisation of rape I don t know if the poor quality of the story is down to Dame Agatha loosing touch with readers in her later work or what, but Nemesis pretty much made the decision for me that Miss Marple is not all she s cracked up to beShe looked round the church in which she was sitting It looked so peaceful The reality of Evil was hard to believe in A flair for Evil that was what Mr Rafiel had attributed to her Yeah, I think I m with Mr Rafiel on this one. In which I mostly skirt around my incredibly long and ever expanding views on societal victim shaming because who has days to type that up and people just want to know about the wacky British people, for godssake Nemesis starts very intriguingly, with Mr Rafiel, introduced in A Caribbean Mystery leaving Miss Marple in his will twenty thousand pounds, given she solve a mystery for him Old hat for Miss Marple, right Except she won t be told the who, the what, the where, or the when of the crime, only the code word Nemesis.I feel a little guilty giving this a lower rating than A Caribbean Mystery, as it does feature a muchinvolving mystery, full of messed up psycho sexual dimensions to which Agatha Christie gives muchbody than Caribbean trifle But it is also in need of a judicious amount of editing it takes a far bit to get moving, the same clues and recaps of events are repeated incessantly, and Christie s style heavily leans on dialogue where a little narration would be a lotefficient This undermines the solid core of the story Christie is weaving, butproblematic is her shockingly regressive views, which arise in several contexts, but most specifically as those that shame how young women of today 1971 is the publication date act too loosely.This is most egregious in some victim shaming that occurs, which crops up not once but multiple times by several different characters I chose one example to discuss, just because it s the most elaborated, but the other examples are much the same MILD SPOILERS, if you don t want to know anything about what the case is The following are words from a crime police psychologist, who thinks the man in question does not have the personality of someone capable of the murder of a girlfriend for which he s been convicted Said convict is a known compulsive liar, thief, gangster, delinquent baby daddy, and who was involved in a previous assault case with another girlfriend excuse the length, but I wanted to give you the fullest context necessary That earlier case told against him, of course Not in the jury s mind, because of course they did not hear about that until after the judge s summing up, but certainly in the judge s mind I made a few inquiries myself afterwards He had assaulted a girl He had conceivably raped her, but he had not attempted to strangle her and in my opinion I have seen a great many cases which come before the assizes it seemed to me highly unlikely that there was a very definite case case of rape Girls, you must remember, are farready to be raped nowadays than they used to be Their mothers insists, very often, that they should call it rape The girl in question had had several boy friends who had gone further than friendship I did not think it counted very greatly as evidence against him The actual murder case yes, that was undoubtedly murder but I continued to feel by all the tests none of them accorded with this particular crime Yes, a man who fits many of the dimensions by which we define sociopathy, and who has a history of violence towards a girlfriend, is totally incapable of committing a murder of which he was convicted even without the details of the assault case being heard at trial, a trial where he had the best defense money could buy He beat her, but he didn t strangle her, so he s clearly he s a nonviolent soul Women who have had several boyfriends cannot be raped She s lying. These later two implications are particularly horrible and hurtful, because besides being ugly and ignorant and false, are also muchprevalent even today than they should be in any right minded society end spoilers I m not demonizing Agatha Christie I haven t read enough of her to characterize her work as a whole or to really disseminate her worldview But I do think it s very telling looking at the publication dates of her most popular works, that most of them were from the 30s and 40s and none of them were from the 60s or the 70s As a character, Miss Marple represents to me a subversive celebration of qualities that are normally derided in Western culture as being stereotypical elderly people traits and so it s incredibly disappointing to have her instead be a figurehead of stereotypical qualities are just plain ugly Rating 2 starsNote Nemesis is the basis of one of my favorite Agatha Christie s Marple episodes 2007 , staring Geraldine McEwan It s a little camp and a lot of fun, and it irons out most of the unfortunate implications I recommend the series in general It s nice slight viewing that has a great sense of humor about itself. In Utter Disbelief, Jane Marple Read The Letter Addressed To Her From The Recently Deceased Mr Rafiel An Acquaintance She Had Met Briefly On Her Travels He Had Left Instructions For Her To Investigate A Crime After His Death The Only Problem Was, He Had Failed To Tell Her Who Was Involved Or Where And When The Crime Had Been Committed It Was Most Intruguing Soon She Is Faced With A New Crime The Ultimate Crime Murder It Seems Someone Is Adamant That Past Evils Remain Buried Nemesis Miss Marple 12 , Agatha ChristieNemesis is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie 1890 1976 and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in November 1971 It was the last Miss Marple novel the author wrote, although Sleeping Murder was the last Christie novel to be published Miss Marple receives a post card from the recently deceased Jason Rafiel, a millionaire whom she had met during a holiday on which she had encountered a murder, which asks her to look into an unspecified crime if she succeeds in solving the crime, she will inherit 20,000 Rafiel has left her few clues She begins by joining a tour of famous British houses and gardens with fifteen other people, arranged by Mr Rafiel prior to his death 1998 1377 371 964607877 20 1388 292 9789643636111 1393 1397 What a mess A plot that makes no sense A cast of characters that, frankly, has no coherent logic for their appearance, disappearance, or involvement with each other Dull writing Blundering about and letting people killed What s Marple up to And Rafiel, the man of justice, sets this death fest up to It s all wool and smoke It is unsavory and disappointing.Then came the Hickson Marple shudder What a farrago Resembles the book very little, but not to the benefit of the filmed version Dismal, dingy stuff.And then came Agatha Christie s Marple, with Geraldine McEwan A better than the book adaptation, though the similarity to the source material istangential I got a BIG kick out of the book s sisters becoming Catholic Sisters Haw But my irritation with the basic story makes me think of this as a squicky icky Book of Job level creepfest Like that Biblical bar bet between the divine buds to see how much one man could take before he broke, this story sets a bunch of creepy people to fighting among themselves and gets some of them killed That s not right, it s not acceptable, and it s not fun. Despite Miss Marple s twittering, kindly, old biddy persona that she presents to many, she s an analytical, stern, rather ruthless and calculating person, carefully evaluating people s behaviour and words to very effectively determine who is a murderer Nemesis is a fairly slow moving story, as Miss Marple is tasked with uncovering a mystery by a rich financier she had met while vacationing in the Caribbean some time before There is much time spent while Miss Marple gets to know a number of people while on a tour paid for by the financier of houses and gardens.I liked how Miss Marple deliberately played up her frailty or supposed dottiness to disarm others, so she could watch their actions and what they said This novel is definitely part of its time, as there were repugnant views about rape expressed by some of the characters. Phew, just finished and you know, I don t think I ve ever read this I knew the story, probably through the TV version, but this was even better.The plot was excellent and it was probably the Miss Marple book with her the most visible, which truly made it enjoyable A wonderful cast of characters, in a fantastic setting and an unknown mystery to solve with Miss Marple in the middle of it, whatcould you want.And now that being the last novel, and only the final short stories to go in this challenge, I m wondering what I m going to do next year. This year I have been reading or rather re reading all of the Miss Marple books Although I have one book of short stories left, this is the final novel, published in 1971 Christie died in 1976 Many of Christie s later books are not considered up to par with her greatest works, mostly published in the 1930 s Certainly, Christie through her characters is a little crotchety in this outing Young women are referred to in rather unkind terms, showing the author s displeasure with therelaxed society of the late Sixties and early Seventies However, although her views are questionable, I simply love the feeling of plunging into any Agatha Christie novel and can forgive her virtually anything for all the joy and pleasure her writing has brought me over the years.In a sense, this is, unusually, something of a sequel Mr Jason Rafiel, the wealthy financier we first met in, A Caribbean Mystery, has died To her surprise, Miss Marple receives a letter, asking her to visit a solicitors A sum of money has been set aside, if she will accept a certain proposition Mr Rafiel wants Miss Marple to investigate a crime the problem is that there are no real instruction or information Of course, Miss Marple accepts and is later invited to take a tour to be specific Tour 37 of the Famous Homes and Gardens of Great Britain.Knowing Mr Rafiel, Miss Marple expects that she will find out what she is meant to be investigating by being herself asking questions and being the nosy, elderly woman that everyone expects Along the way, she is approached by various people that Mr Rafiel has contacted before his death For he trusted Miss Marple to solve an earlier injustice and, of course, she doesn t let him down This has an interesting plot, with an unusual setting and a good cast of characters I enjoyed the parts of the novel which featured Miss Marple on the coach tour, trundling around various stately homes and wondering which of her fellow passengers were of interest Although I look forward to reading the last volume of short stories, I am both glad to have read all of the novels in order and saddened that I have come to the last in the series. Miss Jane Marple, the lovable, old, amateur crime fighter , murders only please, how much time does she have left is back in action again, reading the obituaries in the newspapers, something the ancients, can t stop from doing, all their friends and the people they know, are dropping like flies Miss Jane , discovers that Mr Jason Rafiel, who worked with her in a previous case , A Caribbean Mystery has passed away, he was a rich, retired army major, a wizard at finances She had met him on a Caribbean vacation in a hotel, in the West Indies, about a year and a half ago Not exactly a friend, but Jane enjoyed the company, of the rough, yet somehow likable major, in very ill health Receiving a letter from unknown solicitors, lawyers as they re called in England, inside is a message from Jason Rafiel , the dead man, who makes a proposition to Miss Marple, written shortly before his unfortunate demise Offering 20,000 pounds for solving a perplexing mystery, and achieving justice maybe, also, the old lady could use the money, who couldn t Leaving the quiet village of St Mary Mead, meeting with the reticent lawyers, Mr Broadribb and Mr.Schuster, in their London offices , they can give little information, nevertheless arrange for Jane, to take a tour of Famous Houses and Gardens, around the lovely countryside, all paid by the late, generous Mr Rafiel This is connected to the conundrum, whatever that is Seventeen men and women are on the big bus, directed by Mrs Sandbourne, are these passengers suspects in the case They look quite ordinary, yet people will surprise you, as Miss Marple, through experience, knows much too well Nemesis, the funny name Rafiel gave her, soon learns about several killing at one of the small, quaint villages, she stops at Strange messages from the late Mr Rafiel, continue to be sent to the uneasy Jane, and he even plans for her to spend a few nights with three, peculiar sisters, in their sadly rundown mansion Miss Marple feels evil all around the premises, a girl who lived with the three ladies disappeared ten years ago, she was found dead and a boy connected to Rafiel, was convicted and sent to prison, another missing girl, never located An accident happens to one of the passengers on the bus tour, was it really one Or an attempted murder , Miss Jane Marple will need to work hard to earn her money Another brilliant mystery novel, by the always entertaining Agatha Christie, her stories may seem tame by today s low standards, yet her talent shows, there is only one Agathaand readers appreciate that fact. Alfred Don t read this Everybody else Nemesis. For such an ominous title, Christie presents a rather philosophically reserved and sedentary work Miss Marple, of the pink fluffy wool and knitting needles, has been left a bequest by Mr Rafiel, the debilitated rich man she met during A Caribbean Mystery. The bequest is conditional she must investigate and elucidate a certain happening within a year Noinformation is provided The premise intrigues her and she accepts the challenge She takes some small steps on her own, although she also receives a brief post mortem letter from him, containing littledetail except that he would like to send her on a particular coach countryside tour.It s a mildly intriguing set up where the reader and Miss Marple are in similar straights, waiting to discover what the mystery is Unfortunately, it is very slow going, and because Miss Marple is unsure of her task, much of her conversations are fishing for information, but what sort of catch It is a very internally based story, relying on Miss Marple s internal dialogue, and the sharing of long stories with various characters It occurs to me that it is about the exact opposite of another recent read, Dark Matter, which had frantic pacing and a staccato narrative Take, for instance, the first part of this paragraph from Miss Marple Mr Rafiel had made arrangements Arrangements, to begin with, with his lawyers They had done their part At the right interval of time they had forwarded to her his letter It had been, she thought, a well considered and well thought out letter It would have been simpler, certainly, to tell her exactly what he wanted her to do and why he wanted it done She was surprised in a way that he had not, before his death, sent for her, probably in a somewhat peremptory way andor less lying on what he would have assured her was his deathbed, and would then have bullied her until she consented to do what he was asking her But no, that would not really have been Mr Rafiel s way, she thought He could bully people, none better, but this was not a case for bullying, and he did not with either, she was sure, to appeal to her, to beg her to do him a favour, to urge her to redress a wrong No That again would not have been Mr Rafiel s way He wanted, she thought, as he had probably wanted all his life, to pay for what he required He wanted to pay her and therefore he wanted to interest her enough to really enjoy doing certain work It goes on this way for another ten to twelve sentences, as she mentally works her way through interpretations of Mr Rafiel s motivations and plans But you can see this is rather sleepy stuff, that we are mostly inside Miss Marple s head as she speculates and dissects the situation It picks up a little bit when she s invited to a house part way through the trip, but the dialogue gives only some respite, as many times she employs her nattering, ditzy elderly persona to elicitinformation She talks to a man with the Home Office and another man with the Church and listens to their stories as well as their views on the psychology of the crime and the psychology of the criminal.The setting was nicely developed I certainly felt like I was on a rather dull coach tour with a bunch of tourists The gardens, the surface conversations between strangers, the options for the hardy and the elderly all captured that bus tour feeling Eventually there is a mild atmosphere of oppression, much like the air outside before a mild storm, but nothing quite suffocating Nothing worth of the nemesis label The denouement is a bit anti climactic, and to make it worse, it is a trick used by Miss M before It occurs to me that despite the inner dialogue, I don t remember very much about Miss M personally, which is a shame Still, it was mildly interesting putting the pieces together, even if I did have the tendency to nod off from time to time I m totally sure it was me Mostly Partly But I always enjoy a little bit of Miss M from time to time after all, after Nancy Drew, she is the female investigator I ve known the longest.Two and a half sleepy starsAlfred s insightful review on the emotion of the story.
Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name
- 224 pages
- Agatha Christie
- 05 August 2019 Agatha Christie