The Moving Finger

  • Miss Marple
  • Novel
  • 1942

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?

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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.

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