A Story Told in Cover Art: Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple book, The Murder at the Vicarage, was published by Collins Crime Club in the UK in October of 1930. It’s one of my very favorite books – with its clever plot, humor, beautifully rendered characters and of course, the introduction in novel form of the subversive Miss Marple, it stands the test of time and has never been out of print.  For that reason, it’s fun to look at covers through the years.

The US first edition of Vicarage was published by Dodd, Mead and is what I would think of as a “prestige” cover, with its old English font and decorous arrangement of text.  There’s no art to speak of, no interpretation of the plot. read more

Fay Sampson: The Wounded Snake

A mystery doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be enjoyable – that’s certainly proven by the scores of cozy mysteries published each month. Another formula beloved by readers (and viewers of Acorn TV and similar networks) is the British village mystery, a slightly rarer commodity. Much of contemporary British crime writing is of the extremely dark variety. And while I’m certainly a fan of writers like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Stuart MacBride, sometimes I yearn for something a little more in the Marple and Poirot mode. read more