When Miss Marple develops arthritis, she travels to a resort in the Caribbean for some for some rest and relaxation. But while there one of her fellow guests dies. Miss Marple is convinced that the death was not a natural one. So she does what she does best and starts investigating. A Caribbean Mystery is one of Agatha Christie's later Miss Marple mysteries, and Miss Marple is beginning to show her age. In fact, in this story she uses her age to her advantage as she pretends to be an older woman who just likes to talk, but never really says anything important. All along, of course, she is listening and thinking.
I checked out some of the reviews of this book in Amazon, and some of those readers seem to think that as this was one of Agatha's later books, she had lost her touch a little and it wasn't as good. I disagree. Although I could have used a little more action and a little less talking (sometimes it seemed like they were talking in circles), I was very surprised at the end to find out who the murderer was. And to me, that is always one of the hallmarks of a good mystery.
This is one of my favorite Christie novels, evoking the warm, breezy atmosphere of the caribbean while riveting us with well-developed characters. Miss Marple's potentially annoying characteristics are downplayed as she takes on the role of "Nemesis," a title given her by the inimitable Mr. Rafael. Enjoy Agatha at her best!
A review from Amazon.com:
Miss Marple escapes the rigors of an English winter, thanks to her nephew, the successful mystery writer Raymond West. He has sent Jane on a Caribbean vacation and it is at the Golden Palm Hotel on St. Honore that we find her with her ever-present knitting needles. After the eventful life she has led in St. Mary Mead, however, Miss Marple finds the island life a bit boring. But all that is about to change rather quickly. It begins one day when another elderly guest, Major Palgrave, is about to show Miss Marple a photograph of someone he claims is a murderer who got away. He stops short when four other guests approach, any of whom may have heard the conversation. A chambermaid telling tales and two murders are pivotal in this mystery that Miss Marple solves with her usual shrewd detection skills. Notable to this book is the introduction of Jason Rafiel, an ill, rude, and extremely rich guest we will hear of again in "Nemesis." He recognizes in Miss Marple a kindred spirit and together they form an effective partnership which prevents further murders.
The sun-drenched island of St. Honore was just what Miss Marple's doctor had ordered--and its Golden Palm Hotel, just the genteel resort for an elderly lady of comfortable habits.
But wickedness is the same the world around, and when old Maj. Palgrove died suddenly, Miss Marple knew the garrulous ex-soldier had told one tale too many. It was murder--and not the last, unless Miss Marple could ask the right questions--in time!
There is something about Agatha Christie that I truly enjoy. I intersperse these mysteries among my other reading so I don't become jaded. I liked the interplay between Miss Marple and a wealthy, old gentleman who helps her solve the murders. A man who plans to murder his wife kills the wrong woman and the plot begins to tangle from there. It's typical Miss Marple who observes so carefully and finally with a little help uncovers the murderer. I liked it.
Miss Marple is in the Caribbean for a rest paid for by her nephew, Raymond West. Her respite is suddenly interrupted by the death of Major Palgrave, one of her fellow guests at the hotel. Convinced that the major's death was not at all natural, she begins to ask difficult questions which leads to her solving this whodunit. I always find her stories having clever plots with interesting characters and this one was no different. I especially loved this book because of the setting of the West Indies' fictitious Island of St. Honore. It is a pleasant change of scenery for the traditional Miss Marple small English village story. Kept me guessing until the very end. I look forward to reading another one of her classic mysteries in the near future. I highly recommend her books to those who love light mystery reads.
People are dying to get out of this Caribbean resort. Any why not? Miss Marple is on hand. The key to solving these heinous crimes seems to be that the first victim has only one eye and that in looking past Miss M's shoulder his good eye (the right one) can only perceive an object that is beyond her left shoulder. The murderer, after offing a guest and a maid, attempts to do in his wife, except that he kills the wrong woman. Hmmmm! Can't even identify his own wife. This together with more identity crises make this merely more mindless reading. Meanwhile Miss M (referring to herself as Nemesis) has teamed with a wealthy, old curmudgeon to solve the case.