Jerry Burton is the narrator of the novel The Moving Finger. He was a pilot who was living and working in London. He got injured during a flight and was advised by his doctor Marcus Kent to go along with his sister to the countryside to recover from his injuries. He and Joanna go to Lymstock, and rent Little Furze from Emily Barton.
When Jerry goes to Lymstock, he is fascinated when he sees the beautiful Elsie Holland at the market. However that facination vanishes when he hears her talking. Later Jerry befriends Megan Hunter and falls in love with her. The couple soon married and stayed in Emily Barton's old house.
Jerry does not describe his physical appearance. However, he does say that his father was a "tall, dark lantern-jawed man", and that he takes after him. He also mentions that he is five years older than Joanna.
As a child, Jerry lived in the country. When he was seven and Joanna was two, they were sent to live with an aunt in London. They spent their Christmas and Easter holidays there, and went to hotels by the seaside in summer.
As he realises that Joanna has lived almost her whole life in London, he feels rather guilty for having her come to live in the country because of him, and is afraid that she will be bored. Joanna says that she does not mind, as she needs time to get over her ex-boyfriend, Paul. Jerry is sceptical of this.
Jerry receives an anonymous letter alleging that Joanna is not really his sister. Another anonymous letter, received by Beatrice Baker, alleges that she and Jerry had a sexual relationship. Neither of these allegations is true, but Beatrice stops working at Little Furze anyway.
Portrayals[edit | edit source]
In the BBC 1985 adaptation of the novel which formed part of the Miss Marple series, Burton is played by Andrew Bicknell. The first name is changed to "Gerry" but otherwise the portrayal is close to the original.
In the ITV 2006 adaptation of the novel (Episode 2, Series of Agatha Christie's Marple), Jerry Burton is played by James D'Arcy. Here he did not get injured in an aircrash. Instead it happened while he was riding a motorcycle in an intoxicated state.