Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lee Smith and Miss Marple



What a treat! A friend brought me NEWS OF THE SPIRIT -- a collection of stories by Lee Smith that I had somehow never read.  And wonderful stories they are. (Lee Smith is who I would really like to write like.)  Her language (Southern) always rings true and she has a delightful sense of humor, whether she's writing about a college girl involved with one of her professors or an elderly woman in an assisted living facility who is kicked out of her writing group because she writes truthfully about the past. Very highly recommended! 

It may have been the story about the elderly woman that put me on a Miss Marple reading kick. I own almost all of the Marple mysteries -- in ragged paperbacks, some of which are held together by rubber bands -- but a while back there was a one day special on the Marple Collection for Kindle -- instead of $69 and change, I got them all for just under $7! (Thanks to Book Bub again.)



Miss Marple has always been my favorite of Christie's sleuths. Tommy and Tuppence are second. Hercule Poirot, while enjoyable enough, just doesn't bring me the same kind of pleasure, whether on the page or on the television screen.

Miss Marple pleases me because, despite her facade of a somewhat twittery old lady, she is as logical and cynical as they come. She is, moreover, completely ruthless when necessary. I loved her first through the books and then, oh then, I found the BBC series -- starring Joan Hickson. There can never be a more perfect embodiment of this fiercely competent  English spinster. Don't be led astray by later or earlier versions. Margaret Rutherford? Please. 

 As I was looking for these images I saw mention of a remake in which Miss Marple is much younger -- and a bookstore owner in California. I averted my eyes and scrolled on. The whole point is that Miss Marple, even as she ages and becomes frail (as in THE MIRROR CRACK'D) is still a force to be reckoned with. And the older I get, the more important that seems. 

Plus I really love Joan Hickson/Miss Marple's hats.


10 comments:

Victoria said...

That's one by Lee Smith I've never read, either! What a treat, I'm off to look for it.

Thérèse said...

I should give it a try. Miss Marple is my favorite.

Ms. A said...

I find it surprising there are books you haven't read.

Barbara Rogers said...

Yes to Miss Marple...and I can't believe I haven't read that Lee Smith either...must go hunting for it too! She's a marvelous author...and now that I'm a North Carolinian I feel I can claim a more kindred spirit to her.

Jim Egerton said...

Joan and I Love Miss Marple. We watch and watch again the series. It has been going on since original air dates in the mid 1980's. Joan Hickson is perfect. That little pinched face pose of hers is marvelous.

Anvilcloud said...

I like Miss Marple. These days we are watching some of POirot on Netflix, but I like Marple better for some reason.

Vicki Lane said...

I pondered on this, AC. I think the difference is for me that Poirot solves mysteries from egotism, as much as anything, but with Miss M it's from a sense of justice.

Friko said...

Thanks for the author recommendation. If you like Miss Smith then I will too. I am awaiting your next oeuvre too!

I am almost ashamed to admit to liking Agatha Christie; I learned a lot of my early everyday English from reading her books. They may not be very literary but she wrote clearly and well.

Frances said...

Vicki, thanks for reminding me about Lee Smith. I must follow up with more reading...but when will I find more time to do so?

I discovered Agatha C back in my preteen days, and quickly moved through all the books available at the public library. Currently, on bbc.co.uk an Agatha Christie anniversary celebration has been ongoing, with lots of wonderful dramatizations of her stories...some of which were...new to me. Check out Radio 4 Extra.

On TV, it's definitely Joan Hickson's Marple.

xo

Darla said...

You've inspired me to find time to read Miss Marple; I've caught her on TV at various times and always enjoyed the character, but have yet to read her. Thanks! :)