murderannounced“And then, unexpectedly, a revolver spoke.  It spoke twice.  The ping of two bullets shattered the complacency of the room.  Suddenly, the game was no longer a game.  Somebody screamed…” – p 40

Please don’t make me turn in my bibliophile credentials at the door, but this is actually the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve ever read.  We own several, but it’s always been a case of “I can read those anytime.”  However, my husband has been pressing me to read some things more on his recommendation and since he enjoys these novels a great deal, I supposed this was a good a place as any to start.

The residents of the small village of Chipping Cleghorn are surprised to see an odd advertisment in their local Gazette announcing a murder which will take place Friday at 6:30 pm at Little Paddocks – a small estate in the town.  The most surprised of all are the residents of Little Paddocks.  Most of the community assumes this is an announcement for a murder mystery game, and Letitia Blacklock (the owner of Little Paddocks) decides to treat it as such.  Coming with various excuses, one after another, Letitia’s friends show up at her house the evening the murder is announced.  Unfortunately, when 6:30 arrives, the lights go black, a man rushes in with a gun yelling “Stick em up!” and when the lights come back on, there’s a body on the floor – shot.

Now, the local police department must sift through all of the members of the impromptu party to find the murderer.  And along the way, they must deal with family secrets, false identities, strange motives and other attacks.  However, it just so happens that one of the police officers has a lovely elderly aunt with a penchant for solving crime – a Miss Marple.

I will admit to you that I figured out who was behind the murder about three-quarters of the way through the book.  Yet, for most of the book, I was completely baffled.  And I’m fairly certain the only way I came to the conclusion I did was because I’ve seen so many crime and mystery shows.  I loved Christie’s twisting and turning plot.  I loved how she integrated nearly every character introduced as a possible suspect, and she gave every clue you needed in order to figure out whodunit on your own.  There is a very good reason Agatha Christie is known as the queen of the murder mystery.  I’m excited to return to our local library and pick up another one of Christie’s novels.

“A Murder is Announced” was written by Agatha Christie and published in 1950.  It is generally recognized as Christie’s 50th published work.