Lymstock is much like any other English village. Those that live there enjoy the peace of rural life until a series of poison pen letters destroy the safety they took for granted. When one villager commits suicide and another is murdered, the village is plunged into suspicion and terror. Once a village of trust, now all inhabitants are full of accusations. Who could be writing the letters and why? Perhaps Miss Marple might be of help...
Christie considered The Moving Finger to be one of her best novels. ‘It is a great test,’ she added, ‘to re-read what one has written some seventeen or eighteen years later. One’s view changes. Some do not stand the test of time, others do.’
We see events unfold from the view of Jerry Burton who is recuperating whilst recovering from an accident. Christie has been praised by critics for her believable male narrators and arguably Jerry is one of the best. The Moving Finger has successfully been adapted for television, first with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and more recently with Geraldine McEwan in the ITV adaptations.
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First seen in 1942, The Moving Finger continued the wartime revival of the Miss Marple stories that Christie had begun with The Body in the Library in 1942. There was just a single Poirot novel in between, the acclaimed Five Little Pigs. For The Moving Finger, all the familiar elements are once again smartly in place, as popular overseas as with the home market – in fact, the book was published first in America in 1942 and in the UK the following year. Once again we have a picturesque village with its cast of characters and eccentrics, but in keeping with the nostalgic tone, there is conspicuously no mention of the war.
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