A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
In this twelfth of the Miss Marple series, various characters in the small English village of Chipping Cleghorn are confused and amused by the classified section of the newspaper, announcing the location and time a murder will occur. Most assume Letitia Blacklock is planning an unusual parlor game and placed the announcement herself since the address was her own home. But Miss Blacklock is as confused as everyone else. Encouraged by her boarders, two of which are her niece and nephew, Letitia prepares refreshments in case her friends actually show up for a party. And they do! At exactly 6:30 the lights go out and shots are fired leaving one person dead.
Miss Jane Marple happens to be staying at a nearby spa, and she aids the local authorities in the investigation. The cast is well over twenty characters. I suggest making a few notes to make things easier.
Clues in solving the mystery are artfully planted with little transparency. Peeling away layers to discovery is meticulous and masterful. That is why Christie is known as the queen of mystery. The character’s traits and motivations seem obvious in the beginning until Miss Marple’s trained eye finds facts and details transforming each into multi-dimensional suspects. Of course the book is a classic, looking forward to reading more from Agatha Christie.
"A Murder is Announced" is a staple of crime fiction and often considered as the best Miss Marple novel. The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple who is staying nearby, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.’ Is this a childish practical joke? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd gathers at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out…
The novel was promoted on both sides of the Atlantic as Agatha Christie's 50th book and published in 1950 by William Collins.