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Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Sleeping Murder (original 1976; edition 1976)

by Agatha Christie

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2,451322,513 (3.74)66
Title:Sleeping Murder
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Dodd, Mead (1976), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (1976)

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  1. 70
    Nemesis by Agatha Christie (Porua)
    Porua: The motive and method reminds me a little of another Miss Marple mystery, Nemesis.

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The first thing that struck me is that this doesn't really feel like Miss Marple's "last case". Jane Marple is old but not as old as she is in NEMESIS. She is still able to travel, garden etc.

Secondly I think the writing style is actually Christie at her peak, and a little better than in CURTAIN, Poirot's last case.

I have actually read SLEEPING MURDER before, and seen TV adaptations, so the story was not new, and I had a vague memory of how it resolved.

In contrast, I had never before, as far as I can remember, read CURTAIN, and I have resolved to look for David Suchet's adaptation.

So this is the end of my journey, the last novel in my Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, to read her novels more or less in order of publication. It is a journey that began just on six years ago, although I had read many of the novels in paperback form in the late 1960s. Future blog posts will be used to explore some of what I have learnt in my journey.

There aren't similarities between CURTAIN and SLEEPING MURDER.
* both contain references to Shakespeare's Othello
* both contain references to X who is a murderer - in CURTAIN he pushes others to commit murder even if he doesn't commit it himself; in SLEEPING MURDER he appears to be the person actually responsible for Gwenda's stepmother's disappearance.

Miss Marple doesn't seem to play a large role in SLEEPING MURDER, more that of a consultant, although she does carry out some investigation herself. She does suggest to Gwenda a possible solution for her memories about the cottage Hillside, and then arranges to take a short holiday in Dillmouth at a B and B, which puts her right on the spot to give advice to the young couple.

In the long run a good read. ( )
  smik | Oct 28, 2014 |
Newlyweds Gwen and Giles Reed purchase a home in England; so much about their new house seems familiar to Gwen: the wallpaper, a hidden door, the view from the nursery. Gwen has a feeling she has been here before and may have witnessed the murder of a strange woman. With the help of their savvy friend Miss Jane Marple the Reeds unravel a dangerous mystery. This mystery is typical Agatha Christie with lots of characters, twists and turns. Sleeping Murder, the final mystery solved by Jane Marple, was published posthumously. ( )
  shsunon | Aug 26, 2014 |
Who does not know Agatha Christie, the writer who was the Queen of Detective Fiction, the Woman of Mystery? Her last novel (Sleeping Murder) was published posthumously in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1976. Even the origin of the novel is exciting. This novel was written during WWII and she gave the publishing rights to her husband in case of her death in order to cover the costs of her possible funeral. What hard times could those be? It is said her last mystery was the most perfect among her works.
As I am an AC fun, one of my favourite stories is Sleeping Murder: Miss Marple’s Last Case (also known as Cover Her Face). Let me awake your interest towards this novel by a short taste. Of course, the killer's identity remains a mystery.
A beautiful young lady, the newlywed Gwenda Reed travels to the south coast of England to find a new home for her and her husband. She fall in love with a house at first sight, then she can see mysterious pictures. She can see a path where really was a path earlier, she saw the wallpaper with poppy pattern that was on the wall many years ago, she always wants to go through the wall that place where a door was previously. Finally, she has a vision of a murder… Soon Mr. Reed came home too, and the couple starts to explore the case. Naturally, Miss Marple, the elderly spinster from St. Mary Mead, also appears and begins to investigate the murder. Finally, she unveils the culprit…
The style of the story is the well known. The elegant, fictional world, where everybody has secrets, the past and present met, where we can see many possible psychological motives for murder. Eventually the culprit is revealed. Riveting reading material.
  Botondolo | Apr 14, 2014 |
With a premise similar to that of Five Little Pigs or Nemesis - the investigation into a murder that's decades old - I would have expected a better novel. It wasn't abysmal but then again nothing stood out either. The characters are forgettable and flat and Christie should have made the house it's set in more atmospheric, I never really got a feel of the place and yet she does atmosphere so well when she wants to. Shame. Really should have ended the Marple novels with Nemesis, which is such a strong book. Still an entertaining read. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
In the beginning, a personal anecdote:

As a child, I was troubled intermittently by a nightmare. I am walking around the compound of my maternal grandfather's ancestral home, when I reach a dilapidated building in a secluded corner. I open it and enter, even though my better sense counsels against it. Inside, it is a prayer room dedicated to evil gods. Their pictures are hung all over the walls, and their ugly idols leer up at me. Also, the place is full of the images of the tortured victims of these deities, their silent screams, mutilated bodies and blood.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

The mystery of this dream was solved later. It was only a poster of
Naraka (the Indian hell) which I saw as a child, in that house, which left a lasting impression on me.

I will not dwell on the Freudian aspects of this incident: just point out the fact that childhood traumas, however trivial, have lasting impacts. I speak from personal experience.

Onward with the review.

What if one has witnessed a murder as a toddler? What if one's childhood psyche had repressed that incident, until it came back to haunt one as a distorted vision in one's beautiful new home which one suddenly realises is none other than the venue of that Sleeping Murder?

One would go mad...that is what nearly happened to Gwen. Fortunately, she had Miss Marple to help.

Gwenda and Giles Reed return to England from New Zealand. She has no memories; as far as she knows, she has never been in England. However, buying the dream home she had set her eyes on, Gwen begins to be troubled by memories, which she thinks are from another life. She runs away to London to escape. However, watching a performance of the Duchess of Malfi, and hearing the words “cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young” brings a terrifying image into her mind… the blue strangled face of a beautiful young girl, and she herself watching it through the bannisters… and the monkey’s paws…

Gwen is convinced that she is mad. But thankfully, she had chosen to stay with Raymond West, who most fortuitously had his Aunt Jane Marple on the premises. The old lady is not ready to go for a supernatural explanation. She has a much more prosaic one: Gwen has actually seen somebody murdered in the same house, where she has stayed as a child – a memory which has been suppressed.

The young lady and her husband soon find out that Miss Marple had hit the nail on the head. Gwen had stayed in the house as a little child, along with her father and her flighty stepmother Helen, who had disappeared, presumably run away with one of her many young men. However, Gwen’s father was convinced that he murdered her, and ultimately was committed and died in an asylum. But it is now possible that he may not have been mad – that Helen was actually murdered (though not by him). However, the tantalising question arises… if she was murdered, who is the killer?

Thus begins a murder investigation into the past by the young couple, against the counsel of Miss Marple to “leave sleeping murder lie”. Once she is convinced that they will not let go, Miss Marple agrees to join them, if only to keep them safe.

And thus begins a rollercoaster ride, one of Christie’s most suspenseful novels.


As a mystery, Sleeping Murder is rather predictable. There was no “aha!” moment at the end, because I already had a good idea who the murderer was. But I give the novel four stars for its structure and breakneck pace, rather like a Hitchcock movie… and also for the personal experience I quoted at the beginning. I could sympathise with Gwenda.
( )
  Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cole, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gjerløw, TuridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leach, RosemaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schönfeld, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verheydt, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Gwenda Reed stood, shivering a little, on the quayside.
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This is the main work for Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451200195, Mass Market Paperback)

A young bride is having trouble settling in to their home. Feelings of unnatural dread are taking their toll. And when Miss Marple investigates, she learns how truthful-and terrifying-the imagination can be.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A young bride, sent by her husband to look for a suitable house, finds the one that seems meant for her, a charming Victorian villa called Hillside.

(summary from another edition)

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