Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in October 1979 retailing at £4.50. It was the last Christie book to be published under the Collins Crime Club imprint although HarperCollins continue to be the writer's UK publishers.
The book contains eight short stories and did not appear in the United States.
Despite the title, most of the stories were written in the 1940s so they are not chronologically the "final" cases which Miss Marple was involved in.
List of stories
- Strange Jest
- Tape-Measure Murder
- The Case of the Caretaker
- The Case of the Perfect Maid
- Miss Marple Tells a Story
- The Dressmaker's Doll
- In a Glass Darkly
Literary significance and reception
Robert Barnard: "Posthumous collection, containing several good and good-ish Marple cases previously only available in the States. Also two supernatural stories, which Christie did not have the stylistic resources to bring off successfully."
- 1978, Ulverscroft Large-print Edition, Hardcover, ISBN 0-7089-2346-1
- 1979, Collins Crime Club (London), October 1979, Hardcover, 140 pp ISBN 0-00-231596-3
- 1980, Fontana Books (Imprint of HarperCollins), Paperback
First publication of stories
The first UK magazine publication of all the stories is as follows:
- Strange Jest: First published in issue 643 of The Strand Magazine in July 1944 under the title of The Case of the Buried Treasure. (This was the final short story Christie wrote for the Strand.)
- The Tape-Measure Murder: First published in issue 614 of The Strand Magazine in February 1942 under the title of The Case of the Retired Jeweller.
- The Case of the Caretaker: First published in issue 613 of The Strand Magazine in January 1941.
- The Case of the Perfect Maid: First published in issue 616 of The Strand Magazine in April 1942 under the shortened title of The Perfect Maid.
- Sanctuary: First published in the October 1954 issue of Woman's Journal. After being published in instalments This Week, September 12 to September 19, 1954 the story was submitted to that year's Westminster Abbey restoration appeal fund. The story was sold to the highest bidder with the funds going to the appeal and though the Magazine did not state the sum that they paid but noted that it was "considerable".
- The Dressmaker's Doll: First published in the December 1958 issue of Woman's Journal.
- Miss Marple Tells a Story was not written for magazine publication initially but was a special commission from the BBC for a series called Short Story as announced in The Times on 27 March 1934. It is further unusual in that the story was read out by Christie herself, in the manner of her previous broadcasts of Behind the Screen (1930) and The Scoop (1931). The twenty-minute broadcast took place on Friday, 11 May 1934 at 9.20pm on the National Programme. The text was first published in Volume 3, Issue 64 of the weekly UK magazine Home Journal on 25 May 1935 under the title Behind Closed Doors and with an illustration by Michael Bernard.
- The Daily Mirror of 6 April 1934 stated that In a Glass Darkly was being read out by Christie on BBC Radio that night as part of the Short Story series. However, the programme billings on the same page stated the broadcast was by Dorothy L. Sayers with a story titled Dilemma and the Radio Times also states that this was the broadcast made. The text of Christie's story was first published in the December 1934 issue of the monthly Woman's Journal.