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 method devised for this book, each chapter builds towards a conclusion that delivers a surprising intellectual payoff.
This enquiry is unapologetically textual in approach. It constructs a rigorous evidence base drawn from the Marple short stories and novels, and presents a useful interpretation of 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 invaluable for students and researchers of crime fiction, twentieth-century literature, and creative writing.
'With Agatha Christie studies on the rise, it is high time attention turned to Miss Marple. Desirée Prideaux’s fresh look at the archetypal spinster sleuth sheds much-needed light on one of the twentieth century’s most popular and misunderstood fictional characters.'
- J.C. Bernthal, author of Queering Agatha Christie