The Murder at the Vicarage

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When the thoroughly unpleasant Lucius Protheroe is found dead, there is no shortage of suspects with a motive for murder ...

"the strong dose of vinegar in this first sketch of Miss Marple is more to modern taste than the touch of syrup in later presentations"

Robert Barnard, A Talent to Deceive, 1990


About this story

First released

August 1930 (serialised in Chicago Tribune)

Genre

  • Detective

Formats

  • Novel, 
  • TV, 
  • Play, 
  • Graphic Novel

Recurring characters

  • Miss Marple, 
  • Griselda Clement, 
  • Miss Hartnell, 
  • Dr. Haydock, 
  • Martha Price Ridley, 
  • Caroline Wetherby

Murder methods

Setting

  • House, 
  • St Mary Mead

The Murder at the Vicarage is one of Agatha Christie’s most popular books. It was the first of her mysteries to be published (in 1930) as part of her publisher Collins’ new Crime Club series and the first novel to feature Miss Marple. Not a book club exactly, The Crime Club was a series of mystery titles published and promoted under the name. 

Not only are we formally introduced to the village of St Mary Mead and the "Parish cats" otherwise known as Miss Marple and her friends, but several other recurring characters including the vicar and his wife ...

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The Murder at the Vicarage is one of Agatha Christie’s most popular books. It was the first of her mysteries to be published (in 1930) as part of her publisher Collins’ new Crime Club series and the first novel to feature Miss Marple. Not a book club exactly, The Crime Club was a series of mystery titles published and promoted under the name. 

Not only are we formally introduced to the village of St Mary Mead and the "Parish cats" otherwise known as Miss Marple and her friends, but several other recurring characters including the vicar and his wife, Leonard and Griselda Clement, who also appeared in The Body in the Library (1942) and 4.50 from Paddington (1957). Dorothy L Sayers was particularly complimentary of this novel. "Dear old Tabbies" she wrote to Christie, "are the only possible right kind of female detective and Miss M is lovely ... I think this is the best you have done - almost".

Adapted for the stage by Charles Moie and Barbara Toy in 1949, its run of five years was a testament to Miss Marple's popularity if not to the adaptaion itself. The novel was later adapted for the screen, first with Joan Hickson in 1986 and again in 2004 with Geraldine McEwan in the starring role. BBC Radio 4 dramatised the story in 2003 with June Whitfield and the graphic novel adaptation was first published in France in 2005 under the title L'Affaire Protheroe.

“Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a service.”

Reverend Clement, The Murder at the Vicarage



More about Miss Marple

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Miss Marple, the shrewd elderly sleuth with her expansive knowledge of the true nature of village life.
Find out more about the actors who've played her and the stories she's starred in.

More on Miss Marple

Miss Marple reading list

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Download our checklist of all the stories Miss Marple featured in. Have you read them all?

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