The Moving Finger

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A spate of poison pen letters wreaks havoc on an English village. Once a place of trust, now all inhabitants are full of accusations. Who could be writing the letters and why?

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor

Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

Verse 51, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


About this story

First released

March 1943 (serialised in Colliers Weekly)

Genre

  • Murder Mystery

Formats

  • Radio Play, 
  • Novel, 
  • TV

Recurring characters

  • Miss Marple

Murder methods

Setting

  • House

Agatha 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.’ Miss Marple makes only a late entrance but is as astute as ever. We see events unfold from the view of Jerry Burton who is recuperating whilst recovering from an accident. Agatha Christie has often been praised by critics for her believable male narrators (see Endless Night) and arguably Jerry is one of the ...

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Agatha 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.’ Miss Marple makes only a late entrance but is as astute as ever. We see events unfold from the view of Jerry Burton who is recuperating whilst recovering from an accident. Agatha Christie has often been praised by critics for her believable male narrators (see Endless Night) and arguably Jerry is one of the best.

The book takes its name from verse 51 of Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, a poem which Agatha Christie greatly admired.

The Moving Finger was adapted for twice television, first by the BBC with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple in 1985 and later in 2006 by ITV with Geraldine McEwan in the lead role. It was dramatised for BBC Radio 4 in 2006 and starred June Whitfield.

"Agatha Christie is at it again, lifting the lid off delphiniums and weaving the scarlet wrap all over the pastel pouffe."

The Observer, 1943



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Miss Marple, the shrewd elderly sleuth with her expansive knowledge of the true nature of village life.
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