Top critical review
Disappointing and rather dull
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 July 2020
Christie wrote this book during the war, to leave to her husband or daughter. It wasn't published until after her death. It seems to be set in the 30s (the war isn't happening and Miss Marple is only in her 60s), but actually happens in a kind of no-time. This means we miss her usual chronicling of the changing times, and witty takes on characters from different backgrounds.
The younger, sprightly Miss Marple spends a lot of time weeding an overgrown garden, and foils the villain in an ingenious manner. I wish Christie had used this idea in a better book!
The central character is from New Zealand, so in both TV and audiobook form we are stuck with a British actor attempting her accent.
Curtain, the other book she stashed in a bank vault, is much better. Hastings and Poirot return to Styles, now a guest house, where a succession of rather odd "accidents" ensue. The TV version was not bad, though the set designer's idea of a grand house on its uppers included rooms empty but for a piano, bare boards, and all the wallpaper scraped off and left. It looked like a fashion shoot.