A Pocket Full of Rye

  • Miss Marple
  • Novel
  • 1953

A series of murders disguised within a nursery rhyme, Miss Marple’s on the case with two of Agatha Christie’s favourite themes, this time following the rhyme 'Sing a Song of Sixpence'. A handful of grain is found in the pocket of a murdered businessman… Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his ‘counting house’ when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals. Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Jane Marple’s suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme…

Read an extract

I won’t stand for wickedness. Wickedness has to be destroyed.

Miss Ramsbottom

More about this story

Published as a novel for Christmas 1953, it was well received by critics and public alike who had long been accustomed to looking forward to a good read for the festive season. The first adaptation was for film in Russia in 1983, titled Tayna chyornykh drozdov (The Secret of the Blackbirds). It starred Estonian Ita Ever as Miss Marple and remained set in England.

Two years later the story appeared on UK television as part of the BBC’s Miss Marple series starring Joan Hickson, and was broadcast in two parts. It was then adapted for radio in 2005 by BBC Radio 4 with June Whitfield as Miss Marple.

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