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In the novel A Pocket Full of Rye, Inspector Neele is the Detective Inspector of the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) who handles the death of Rex Fortescue and the following two deaths at the Fortescue home. He is quick-thinking, making sure of the cause of death rapidly, so it is known to be murder.

He had been brought up in the gate lodge of Hartington Park, under poor conditions. The lodge was small and attractive on the outside, but damp and uncomfortable on the inside, with only primitive sanitation. However, the Neeles were a healthy and happy family.

Inspector Neele is described as having a "smart soldierly appearance with crisp brown hair growing back from a rather low forehead". He has an unimaginative appearance, but is actually a highly imaginative thinker. One of his methods of investigation is to propound to himself fantastic theories of guilt about the people he is interrogating.

Inspector Neele says that he has heard of Miss Marple at Scotland Yard, and that she is fairly well-known there.

Miss Marple perceives that Inspector Neele is very intelligent. At the end of the novel, when she explains her theory about who the murderer is, she is confident that Inspector Neele will be able to get the evidence that will prove it.


In the BBC 1985 adaptation of the novel which formed part of the Miss Marple series, the part of Inspector Neele is played by Tom Wilkinson.

In the ITV 2008 adaptation of the novel (Episode 1, Season 4 of Agatha Christie's Marple), the part of Inspector Neele is played by Matthew Macfadyen.