Publication date: 1 September 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Length: 40 pages
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | Harper Collins
My rating: ★★
Miss Politt has been waiting and waiting outside Laburnum Cottage for Mrs. Spenlow, to no avail. She nervously acquires the help of the next door neighbour whose gumption and persistence reveal that Mrs. Spenlow is dead on the hearthrug. The whole of St. Mary Mead are convinced it’s Mr. Spenlow, who has shown no emotion upon his wife’s sudden death, but, with Miss Marple’s characteristic assiduity she shows that it is perhaps not that simple. And when people’s pasts catch up with them, it can make them act rashly.
Everyone who knows me knows that I love Agatha Christie. I really do. I’ve read roughly 40 of her books so far (although I’m starting to lose count), and she’s the one author whose books I keep recommending to friends and family every chance I get. So, when Dewey’s Readathon started a couple of days ago and I was looking for a relatively short book to keep me going after 10 hours of non-stop reading, I decided to pick up Tape-Measure Murder.
With only 40 pages, it’s a super quick read – and, at £0.99, a great bargain too. It took me about 25 minutes to read the whole thing, so it definitely served its purpose. The problem is, I didn’t enjoy it. At all.
Some people mentioned the fact that it’s too short, but that wasn’t my main problem. It’s a short story, after all – it isn’t supposed to be any longer. It was a bit unusual for a Christie book, that’s true – normally we have at least 200-300 pages to get to know the characters, read about dozens of red herrings and take our guesses as to who the guilty one is – while here, you barely had time to meet the first character and we already had our victim. It’s short, and I’m not convinced that this length really works for mysteries like this, but that wasn’t my issue.
What I didn’t like is the fact that it’s terribly predictable. And the worst thing is, the title gives the whole thing away. Literally. Anyone could guess what’s going on, without even reading the whole story. I’m not joking when I say I knew who the killer was within the first 5 minutes, and the motive a few minutes later. I love Christie and Miss Marple stories, but Tape-Measure Murder was seriously disappointing.
I was hoping I’d be able to say what a quick, entertaining read it is, but it wasn’t. If you’re looking for a good mystery, try some of Christie’s other books – unfortunately, this one just isn’t worth it.