‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ was the first novel about Miss Marple’s success as a detective. It was published in 1930. In her autobiography Agatha Christie wrote she did not plan to make Miss Marple a central character. What is more, Miss Marple’s tremendous success was absolutely surprising for the writer.
Unlike many other detective characters, Miss Marple was not young but it did not influence her professional qualities. Agatha Christie created Miss Marple as a seventy-year-old woman and her age never changed throughout the books.
According to the narratives, Miss Marple lived in a quiet English village. Like most women in her neighbourhood she liked gardening. She was a great expert in growing flowers that were always in blossom in her garden. In her free time she also liked knitting for her relatives and friends whom she visited regularly. Besides, Miss Marple was a socially active person, she was deeply involved in charity in the local community.
As Miss Marple had lived most of her life in the same village she had many friends among the people who lived there. She was so nice and pleasant to talk to that they hurried to bring her the latest news. No gossip or detail ever escaped Miss Marple’s eye. It was especially useful when dealing with crimes, which for some reason happened regularly in her quiet life. Miss Marple managed to solve the most mysterious cases and find the most inventive murderers.
Police were skeptical of Miss Marple’s success as a detective because she had never worked for them and was not a professional crime expert. Nevertheless some officers asked Miss Marple for advice in difficult cases. They appreciated her rich life experience and attention to detail. And Miss Marple, in turn, was glad to be helpful to the police.
Stories about Miss Marple were filmed several times. The first actress to play the role of the woman detective was Agatha Christie’s close friend. Seven more actresses also starred in films and TV series about Miss Marple but the most convincing version was created by Joan Hickson. She took part in twelve productions over eight years.