Jane Marple

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Miss Marple
Nemesis of the murderers, Sherlock Holmes' rival, Agatha Christie's Jane Marple.

Jane Marple or Miss Marple (as she is usually being referred to) was a very well-known fictitious detective suspected to work for the British intelligence[1]. She was created by Agatha Christie, someone known as the Queen of Crime because of her relations, as a prototype of herself, which has never been discovered during her lifetime.

Life

Youth

Jane Marple was born in a quiet village called St. Mary Mead to a father (who was once mentioned by Christie) and, possibly, a mother (who has never been mentioned). Being a young woman, Jane begins dating a young man whom she met at the croquet party and who seems to be gay. [2] After her father invites him to their house, Jane becomes disappointed in her father as well as in all the other men. From then on, she has never had close relationship with anyone and has never been married. Nevertheless, Christie states: "Sex [was] enjoyed far more than nowadays, or so it seemed to her [Miss Marple]." [3]

Old Age

Raymond West
A very famous writer and a very bright Miss Marple's cousin, Raymond West.

Knowing that there was not much to talk about, Christie never tells the reader anything about Miss Marple's adulthood and in her books immediately introduces her as an old spinster. Miss Marple has several dozens cousins, one of whom is Raymond West, an unknown writer celebrity.

To hide the fact that she works for a secret agency, Miss Marple lives in the village of her childhood, St. Mary Mead, where she pretends to be extremely interested in gardening and knitting. Her other hobbies are to listen to elderly women gossiping, to gossip[4] and to "observe human nature", although she has never explained what the latter was.

Cquote1 Well, my dear, the human nature is always interesting! Cquote2

St. Mary Mead

In numerous stories featuring Miss Marple, St. Mary Mead is portrayed as a peaceful village. But, diving deeper, the reader realizes that the villagers are not as simple as it may seem at the first sight. St. Mary Mead described in details in several Christie's murders, as, for instance, "Murder at the Vicarage". The reader finds out that there are at least two killers living close to Miss Marple. This book actually helps to realize why Miss Marple is so experienced at solving crimes, the reader never knows how many of them take place in St. Mary Mead but he can assume that there is at least one per day. This is why Miss Marple, when if she talks about her neighbors several times per novel, mentions different people every time.

Concerning Miss Marple's neighborhood, there has been a certain old Mrs Trout who drew the old age pension for three dead women. Or Mr Badger, whose name was probably fake and who was a chemist. He had a very young housekeeper who could as well be his grand-daughter. After his death, "would you believe it, he'd been married to her for two years". But he could not be accused anything as he was already buried when this was discovered. Or Mrs Pebmarsh, a laundress, who may have never existed, but who stole a pin and put it into another woman's blouse, ruining her future forever.

In addition to that, even being an old woman, Miss Marple herself notices something strange in the others.

Cquote1 Plenty of sex, natural and unnatural. Cquote2
[5]

But after spending her whole life there, she becomes accustomed to that sort of things and tries to justify her fellow villagers.

Cquote1 Well, my dear, human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at close quarters in a village. Cquote2

Here again, comes the question of "human nature" but Miss Marple quickly changes the topic.

Solved mysteries and books about Miss Marple

There are no mysteries that Jane Marple has not solved. The most important of them, as she, herself, says, consisted in finding out how did a gill of picked shrimps disappear and who stole Miss Trent's half a crone. Solved mysteries of this kind were her most important contributions to criminology. However, Marple has also used her perfect logic in order to solve several murders at home, during vacations and while peacefully talking to her friends.

Miss Marple uses a special technique of her own invention. Having many fellow villagers with different characters, she tries to make analogies between them and different suspects. If analogies are successful, she immediately tells her audience: "This man there looks exactly like our Mister B., who killed his maid!". After that the criminal is handed to the police and executed.

The most famous mysteries that the famous detective has solved are:

  • "The Moving Finger" (the challenge was to find out why it was actually moving and not who did it);
  • "A Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side" (the actress did it);
  • "Sleeping Murder" (the murderer was executed for killing his lover while sleeping);
  • "Nemesis" (Miss Marple led the whole inquiry and the Greek God of revenge appeared only in the final scene).

Interesting facts

Poirot and Marple
This photo with Poirot on the right and Marple on the left is a perfect evidence that the two brilliant detectives had secret meetings that the public knew nothing about.
  • After the publication of several of Christie's books on Miss Marple, many criminals have realized that a lot of old ladies are not as simple as they seem. The villages have actually become idyllic places, as all the murderers moved into the cities.[6] Since that moment, nobody has ever heard about St. Mary Mead. It probably became a ghost village.

The world's best intelligence services searched for a real Miss Marple. Christie became tired of them and suddenly disappeared for eleven days and after that all the investigation was useless as Christie was amnesic. But, as the Secret Service still annoyed her with all the stupid questions, she had to tell them that Miss Marple already works for them. After that (sixty years later), as everyone had suspected, Christie died very strangely, leaving no doubt that her death was natural, which raised even more suspicions.

  • Miss Marple was once blackmailed on the subject of her relationship with Hercule Poirot (pictured). A week later, she successfully solved the murder of the blackmailer. The Secret Service, involved with both Poirot and Marple, was also thought to play an important role in this accident.
  • After realizing what effect she has produced with her Jane Marple, Agatha decided not to kill her off,[7] and instead made her immortal.

References

  1. Which has been proved false, as she is fictitious.
  2. Christie, Agatha. "A Caribbean [Pirates'] Mystery". "He had seemed so nice—rather gay, almost Bohemian in his views".
  3. Christie, Agatha. "A Caribbean [Pirates'] Mystery".
  4. To justify herself, Miss Marple later says that listening to gossip often helps her with her inquiries as rumors are truthful and reliable in most of the cases. This opinion is proved to be wrong (often by Miss Marple herself) in all the Christie's books where gossips do not play an important role in the storyline.
  5. Christie, Agatha. "Memoirs [of Miss Marple]".
  6. Which is even worse, because of Holmes and Poirot.
  7. Christie once stood trial for the murder of another (fictitious) detective.

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