#78 – Miss Marple’s Final Cases

Or to give it the full title on the UK first edition “Miss Marple’s 6 Final Cases and 2 Other Stories”. As they were originally written and published between 1935 and 1954 they weren’t her final cases at all.

Sanctuary – Miss Marple solves the riddle of a dying man’s last words. This was written specially for the Westminster Abbey restoration appeal which may explain why a church was chosen as a key location in it.

Strange Jest – Miss Marple hunts for treasure.

Tape-Measure Murder – a nice story set in St Mary Mead but it would have been a better mystery if Christie had borrowed Chesterton’s title “The Point of a Pin”.

The Case of the Caretaker – Dr Haydock sets Miss Marple a puzzle to cheer her up whilst she is convalescing. Christie went on to expand this into a later non-series novel so you have been warned.

The Case of the Perfect Maid – Miss Marple intervenes to catch a thief.

Miss Marple Tells a Story – does what it says on the tin. This was written for radio and Christie read it herself making her technically the first person to play Miss Marple.

The Dressmaker’s Doll and In a Glass Darkly both belong in a collection similar to “The Hound of Death”.

And so farewell to “Aunt” Jane for the last time.

Recurring characters

Miss Marple

Shows her economic mindset when she goes shopping in London:

“Really a prewar quality face towel,” gasped Miss Marple, slightly out of breath. ” With a J on it, too. So fortunate that Raymond’s wife’s name is Joan. I shall put them aside until I really need them and then they will do for her if I pass on sooner than I expect.” 

Had an Uncle Henry who was very fond of flowers and whose motto was “Never show emtion”.

Signs of the Times

Miss Marple prefers the work of Mr Alma-Tadema and Mr Frederic Leighton to that of Joan West. Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) was a Dutch painter and Sir Frederic Leighton (1830-96) was a British artist.

References to previous works

Bunch Harmon, revealed in “Sanctuary” to be Miss Marple’s favourite godchild, first appeared in “A Murder is Announced”.

Jane Helier, who introduces Edward and Charmian to Miss Marple in “Strange Jest”, appeared in the second six of “The Thirteen Problems”.

Mr Petherick, who brings a client to see Miss Marple in “Miss Marple Tells a Story”, appeared in the first six of “The Thirteen Problems”. He has now died and his son has taken over his practice. 

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