The Moving Finger is one of a handful of Agatha Christie murder mystery novels that is written in the first person by a man (other than Hastings, that is.)
First published in 1942, it is set in the village of Lymstock whence injured war hero Jerry Burton and his sister go to live after Jerry’s flying accident.
It has a cosy, slightly claustrophobic feel Agatha Christie so deftly evokes when she places a number of stock characters – the vicar, the doctor, the frustrated spinster etc. – together in close proximity.
Jerry and Joanna soon become embroiled in an outbreak of poison pen letter writing, and distasteful and distressing as this may be, it is nevertheless a shock when a tragedy occurs. It would appear that one of the letters has hit the mark, and the recipient, unable to face the disgrace, has committed suicide.
Of course, this being an Agatha Christie murder mystery, things are not quite that simple and – again inevitably – the deaths do not stop there.
Something has to be done – the police are baffled so Mrs Dane Calthrop, the vicar’s wife – decides to call in an ‘expert’ and that expert is Miss Marple. We do not actually meet Miss Marple until later on in the book, but once she is on the case, a satisfactory outcome is guaranteed.
The Moving Finger is very enjoyable. Most of the characters are likeable and there is a romantic sub-plot. There are not many actual clues – and at one point there is a definite diversionary tactic used, but it should be possible, taking account of the personalities involved, to get at the right solution.
Needless to say, I didn’t.
You can get hold this engaging murder mystery via the following links.The Moving Finger