A Pocket Full of Rye - Agatha Christie

“Nobody believes in magicians any more, nobody believes that anyone can come along and wave a wand and turn you into a frog. But if you read in the paper that by injecting certain glands scientists can alter your vital tissues and you'll develop froglike characteristics, well, everybody would believe that.”

A Pocket Full of Rye is a Miss Marple's novel by Agatha Christie, first published in 1953. The story began with the murder of Rex Fortesque, a wealthy businessman, who died in the hospital after he had a heart attack-like pain while enjoying his tea. Making the case mysterious is the fact that a handful of rye grain was found inside the pocket of the deceased man. Detective Inspector Neele, who is investigating this case, must find the connection between the grain and the suspected homicide. Fortunately, he had some help from Miss Marple who had a business with the Fortesque family as well.

This book was good overall. It started quite slowly with the story, but just when things are starting to make some sense, the author mercilessly revealed consecutive plot twists without a second delay. It's never easy to figure out the twists in the author's stories as there are just too many red herrings and misdirections. And the same can be said about this book. Often times, what I figured out by myself was such an obvious misdirection in hindsight, and I overlooked the more important aspects of Agatha Christie's books, which are her characters' personality and behavior.

I don't know how many of Miss Marple's stories I've read so far, but I just couldn't get enough of this character. Her charming attitude and strong intuition for human lives was always a joy to read. It's a shame that she couldn't get much air time in this book, but her cooperation with Inspector Neele was the perfect combination of his methodical police investigation and her unorthodox way of understanding people. Just an enjoyable read, overall.

A Pocket Full of Rye
Agatha Christie
First Published
November 9, 1953