//by Agatha Christie//published 1971//
Back in A Caribbean Mystery, Miss Marple met the elderly, crippled, and slightly eccentric millionaire, Mr. Rafiel. Mr. Rafiel helped Miss Marple apprehend the murderer in that tale, but she never expected to hear from him again. However, in his will, Mr. Rafiel offered Miss Marple money in exchange for “seeing justice done.” Without any real clue as to what she is supposed to do, Miss Marple nonetheless accepts the challenge, and heads off on a little home and garden tour that, prior to his death, Mr. Rafiel arranged for her. Along the way, Miss Marple slowly begins to piece together the story he wanted her to unravel.
The last several Miss Marple reads have been quite meh for me, but Nemesis really engaged me. The pace is actually quite slow, and the story lacks that edge of nervous anticipation (no one ever really feels in danger at any point; the death feels a bit out of place, really), but for some reason I really enjoyed the conversations and the slow unraveling of the past. Miss Marple is a patient person – in a way, that is her technique. Gentle conversation and always listening to stories.
And while the story was sadly devoid of Miss Marple’s rambling comparisons, it still contained plenty of her no-nonsense wisdom:
“If you expect me to feel sympathy, regret, urge an unhappy childhood, blame bad environment; if you expect me in fact to weep over him, this young murderer of yours, I do not feel inclined to do so. I do not like evil beings who do evil things.”
“I am delighted to hear it,” [he said]. “What I suffer in the course of my profession from people weeping and gnashing their teeth and blaming everything on some happening in the past, you would hardly believe. If people knew the bad environments that people have had, the unkindness, the difficulties of their lives and the fact that nevertheless they can come through unscathed, I don’t think they would so often take the opposite point of view.”
While Nemesis was not a high-action thriller, it is an engaging story and interesting mystery nonetheless. 4/5.