Title: The Thirteen Problems
Author: Agatha Christie
Page Count/Review Word Count: 320
This book takes its title from the fact that it’s a collection of thirteen short stories featuring the inimitable Miss Marple. And as you might remember from when I read Miss Marple’s Final Cases, I’m a big fan of Miss Marple short stories. It feels like it’s almost the perfect length for something that features her. After all, she’s at her best when she’s brought in at the end of a case and asked to provide a solution. She lets everyone else do the preliminary work so that she can just come in at the end and tell people what actually happened.
This wasn’t quite as good as Miss Marple’s Final Cases, but it was still pretty fun all the same. The only thing that I wasn’t too keen on was the almost repetitive nature of the stories. Somebody would tell the start of the story and then they wouldn’t have an ending, because real life doesn’t work out like that. Luckily, Miss Marple would always be on hand to tell you what actually happened.
That means that the setup to the stories felt kind of formulaic, but the stories themselves felt fresh and original. I feel like I’d read one of them before somewhere because I was able to figure out how something happened. It involves the colour of a flower changing on a strip of wallpaper and I’m convinced I’ve seen that used before somewhere.
All in all these are some fun short stories and I do love Miss Marple, possibly even more than I love Hercule Poirot. And, because these are all standalone short stories, you can also read this book as a standalone. It’s as good as any other Marple book to get started with and I enjoyed it more than some of the novels.