Sleuthing Miss Marple mirrors the structure and playful analytic style of a detective novel. Beginning at the ‘scene of the crime’, this investigation places Agatha Christie and the clue-puzzle in historical context, casting light on the methods, the motives, and, in a sense, the alibis that underpin Christie’s crime fiction. In keeping with the clue-puzzle analytical motif, each chapter builds towards a conclusion that delivers a surprising intellectual payoff.
This book is unapologetically textual in approach. It constructs a rigorous evidence base drawn from the Marple short stories and novels, and presents a thorough summary of extant crime fiction scholarship. This provides a foundation for original literary analyses that reveal Christie’s engagements with gender roles and genre rules, and the sleights of hand that they conceal. Christie’s modus operandi is uncovered, as are the narrative strategies and literary devices that she deployed to ambush unwary readers. Crucially, this investigation shows how Christie’s ingenious methods made it possible for an elderly spinster to get away with solving murder. Sleuthing Miss Marple will be valuable to both students and researchers in crime fiction, twentieth-century literature, and creative writing.