Category: Authors U-Z (By Surname)

Various Authors – Marple [REVIEW]

Title: Marple

Author: Various Authors

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 377

Rating: 3.5/5

I knew that I’d have to pick this book up as soon as I heard about it, because I’m a die-hard Agatha Christie fan and as well as reading everything that the Queen of Crime wrote, I’ve also read the majority of the later works that were authorised by the Christie estate and created by third-party writers after her death.

There’s also the fact that Miss Marple is my favourite of Christie’s characters, and I always felt as though there weren’t enough stories about her. So when I learned that this book was coming out with stories by a bunch of authors I’ve heard of, including one or two who I’d read before, I had to check it out.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and I think it set the scene by the fact that the first story in the collection features Marple letting out a breath that she didn’t know she was holding. I had a physical reaction to that which was reminiscent of what happens when you’ve had too much to drink and you’ve got your head in a toilet bowl.

The stories here are contributed by Naomi Alderman, Leigh Bardugo, Alyssa Cole, Lucy Foley, Elly Griffiths, Natalie Haynes, Jean Kwok, Val McDermid, Karen M. McManus, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Mosse and Ruth Ware. I feel as though they should also have asked Sophie Hannah to contribute one, given that she’s responsible for the new Poirot books.

I also noticed just now as I was typing the list up that none of them are dudes. True, Marple is a woman, but I feel like if Harper Collins put out a collection of Poirot stories and all twelve authors were men, people would be upset. Personally, I’m easy either way, but it is worth noting.

All in all, it was a lacklustre collection and one that I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re a die-hard Marple fan who’s already read everything that Christie put out there. Other than that, it’s just worrying. I think for people who are new to Christie who pick this up because their favourite writer is here, they’ll be put off.

Learn more about Marple.


Alice Walker – Meridian [REVIEW]

Title: Meridian

Author: Alice Walker

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 228

Rating: 4/5

One of the most interesting things about reading Alice Walker is that you can tell that she’s a poet from the quality of her prose. Don’t get me wrong, her plotting and her characterisation are both good, but it’s the language itself that I enjoy the most when I’m reading her.

I also admire the way that she’s able to tackle social issues with her work, and she does exactly that here. It has its roots in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and Walker’s writing is so skilful that it transports you there. It was kind of weird for me, considering I’m not American and I wasn’t alive in the 1960s. I think this is the closest I’ll ever get to actually being there.

This is only my second Alice Walker book, after The Colour Purple, but it helped to convince me that I need to read everything that she’s ever written. If the rest of it is anywhere near this level, I’m in for a treat.

Ultimately, perhaps the most glowing praise that I can offer for this book is that it kept me thinking about it long after I’d finished reading the final page. It’s not quite required reading, but it’s not far off it, either.

Learn more about Meridian.