I’m always grateful when I find a Miss Marple book where the title sleuth gets to actually be present for about half the story – this one, in fact, featured Miss Marple more than any of her other mysteries I’ve read. She still disappears for lengthy amounts of time, but this time it actually feels purposeful – Miss Marple doesn’t appear at certain points because the other characters are busy doing important things, things that Miss Marple can’t be present for because then the mystery would be over. Unlike some other Marple stories, it never felt like Christie was deliberately keeping her sleuth out of the action.
As an added bonus, the atmosphere of this mystery is genuinely creepy, because it all centers on a hotel that has stayed exactly the same for decades, and where everything appears to be absolutely perfect – so you know something in the milk ain’t clean about that. The characters are fun as well, even though we’ve seen them in other stories: there’s the blustery colonel, the gossipy older lady, the wild younger woman, and the funny clergyman. They have different names this time, but they’re basically the same people that usually appear in Miss Marple mysteries. Luckily for us, they’re all very enjoyable characters and the repetition of these archetypes didn’t take away from what was, ultimately, a fun and interesting little mystery.
Verdict: four out of five stars