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The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

The Thirteen Problems (1932)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Miss Marple (1.5 short story collection)

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2,365423,829 (3.71)159



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English (38)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Miss Marple shows off her amazing deductive skills in thirteen vignettes that are a hybrid between a novel and interconnected stories. In a couple of different English drawing rooms, Miss Marple takes part in a sort of game where each person tells the story of a peculiar mystery. Without fail, Miss Marple always discovers the correct answer, even though most everyone seems to think the 'elderly spinster' knows so little of the world.

Despite Miss Marple's protestations that human nature is essentially the same everywhere, there is quite a bit of classism and nationalism exhibited in all the characters. Even though I know it's the point of the stories, it gets a bit tiresome of hearing Miss Marple make a remarkable pronouncement at the end of each story, despite how increasingly absurd the stories get -- and even more so the solutions. Miss Marple can untangle an entire story based on what day the washing or gardening gets done, which is making a whole lot of leaps and assumptions. It always works out because this is fiction, but its connection to reality is tenuous. Still, the problems do pull the reader in as you try to spot the logic / possibly outwit Miss Marple yourself. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Aug 28, 2018 |
2.5 stars

This consists of short stories, but joined together by way of a group of friends, including Miss Marple, who gather to tell mysteries and try to solve them.

I still like the character of Miss Marple, but short stories are not my thing. I’m coming to learn that Agatha Christie isn’t really my thing, either. I actually liked the interactions between the friends, but my mysteries themselves weren’t very interesting. Unfortunately, my mind wandered throughout most of them. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 13, 2018 |
This is the second book in the Miss Marple series and it takes on a bit of a different format. The premise is that every week, a group of friends including an author, a clergyman, an artist, an actress, a doctor, a solicitor, a retired police commissioner and a Colonel and his wife, and of course, Miss Marple herself, meet up and discuss mysteries and crimes which they have come across in their lives. They each know how their own stories turn out but the challenge is for the others to guess the truth. Naturally, and despite their initial dismissal of Miss Marple as a naive old lady who has led a sheltered life, it is she who works out all the mysteries before anyone else is able to do so.

The format deviates in the last story of the book, where Miss Marple requests the assistance of the former police commissioner to uncover a murder and stop a miscarriage of justice.

I’m not generally a huge fan of short stories but I did enjoy this collection. My favourites were probably The Blue Geranium, The Bloodstained Pavement and The Companion. Each story shows off Christie’s talent for plotting, red herrings and drop feeding clues, and the reader is shown more of Miss Marple’s quick and clever mind. I didn’t feel that we really got to know the rest of the characters in any great fashion – they were all painted with very broad brush strokes – but these stories are far more about the mysteries than the narrators.

Overall, a very enjoyable and easy reading collection. I look forward to continuing my quest to read through the books of Agatha Christie. ( )
1 vote Ruth72 | May 23, 2017 |
Agatha Christie was another of the authors I frequently book-swapped with book-bestie Rachel. Our moms owned the books and traded them between each other, and Rachel and I faithfully mirrored them. It was adorable, really, to be sure. I can no longer recall all the Agatha Christie that I read because I was eleven and titles didn't stick the way that they do now, but suffice to say she lingers in my mind as a Great. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Thirteen Problems is mostly a series of mysteries presented to a group of people, but all solved by Miss Marple. The first, The Tuesday Night Club, brings a description of the always erect and correct Miss Marple (a first, at least for me): “Miss Marple wore a black brocade dress, very much pinched in round the waist. Mechlin lace was arranged in a cascade down the front of the bodice. She had on black lace mittens, and a black lace cap surmounted the piled-up masses of her showy hair. She was knitting—something white and soft and fleecy.” Her eyes are described as “faded blue.” Miss Marple would certainly not enjoy our politically correct age; in A Christmas Tragedy she stated: “I’ve no patience with modern humanitarian scruples about capital punishments.” (Neither do I!) In the same story she gives some great advice from which modern women would greatly benefit: “I remember my dear mother teaching me that a gentlewoman should always be able to control herself in public, however much she may give way in private.” The coup the grace comes in The Thumb Mark of Saint Peter: “[…] you modern young people will laugh, but when I am in really bad trouble I always say a little prayer to myself—anywhere, when I am walking along the street, or at a bazaar. And I always get an answer.” Good girl! Every time I get one of Mrs. Christie’s books I am sure to enjoy; this one was definitely no exception. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hickson, JoanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malling, LivTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Awards and honors
To Leonard and Katharine Woolley
First words
'Unsolved mysteries.' (The Tuesday Night Club)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Thirteen Problems has also been published as Miss Marple and the Thirteen Problems and The Tuesday Club Murders
BUT Thirteen Clues has different text from the Problems/Tuesday
Publisher's editors
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Original language
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451200209, Mass Market Paperback)

Miss Marple puts her deductive skills to use in thirteen of her most fiendish cases in this short story collection from the reigning matriarch of mystery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:17 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

One Tuesday evening a group gathers at Miss Marple's House and the conversation turns to unsolved crimes. The case of the disappearing bloodstains; the thief who committed his crime twice over; the message on the death-bed of a poisoned man which read 'heap of fish'; the strange case of the invisible will; a spiritualist who warned that 'Blue Geranium' meant death.… (more)

» see all 13 descriptions

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Average: (3.71)
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