My little girl asks me whether I can guess who the murderer happens to be. I am yet to finish the book. The novel is ‘Sleeping Murder’ by Agatha Christie. I have experienced enough of this world and read enough of Dame Christie to venture a serious guess even at the middle of the book. I suggest a name and she sniffs: ‘ So you did read the ending!’ I laugh.
I tell her that Winston Churchill had guessed the murderer by the middle of the play ‘Mousetrap’. His wife Clementine apparently sniffed:’Of course not!’ Guess who turned out right at the end. Yes, your hunch is as good as mine.
The fan club of Miss Marple is steadily increasing in my home. From Bertram’s Hotel to A pocket full of rye, Miss Marple’s sharp brain has my child fascinated. And I am glad.
Miss Marple subtly teaches the importance of classical literature to young readers. From the Duchess of Malfi to The Lady of Shallot, there is a literary clue in each of her books for the prescient reader. And a practical approach to life and love and all that is good and bad. I find Miss Marple formidably intelligent when it comes to second guessing human nature with all its foibles.
I tell my kid that her granddad introduced me to Agatha Christie. I was thirteen. She laughs that Amma was too old when she started Miss Marple. I agree humbly.
She knows all about the episode of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance and come back. She had watched it in a Doctor Who episode. I let her interpretation stay magical.
‘Which is your favourite Miss Marple novel?’ She is quizzical now.
Without a moment’s hesitance I answer: ‘ The mirror crack’d from side to side.’ I have loved the book and all the various visual depictions of that true classic.
‘ I liked it too.’ She nods her head.
‘ May the old dames win’, I grin.