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Summary

One of The Times’ 25 Best Audiobooks.

Of poison pens and poisoning: a gripping Miss Marple mystery. 

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets – a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir.

But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note said ‘I can’t go on’. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Was this the work of a poison-pen? Or of a poisoner?

©1943 Agatha Christie Mallowan (P)1998, Re-issue 2002 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London, UK

Critic reviews

"Beyond all doubt the puzzle in The Moving Finger is fit for experts." ( The Times)

What listeners say about The Moving Finger

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent reading of a classic mystery novel...

This is my top favourite of all of Agatha Christie’s books, and this reading by the marvellous Joan Hickson is pretty much perfect.



Although this is a Miss Marple tale, she doesn’t in fact appear until the last quarter of the book. The story is told in the first person by injured airman Jerry Burton who, accompanied by his sister Joanna, has moved to Lymstock to recuperate in the peace and quiet of village life. But there’s no such thing as peace in a Christie village. Spiteful gossip, anonymous letters, jealousy, resentment and murder – not quite what the doctor ordered. However, as always with Christie, there’s plenty of humour, likeable lead characters and a little bit of romance. And when the vicar’s wife finally calls in Miss Marple to act as an ‘expert in wickedness’, we know she’ll dig the truth out from under the pile of red herrings that Christie has carefully strewn in our path.



Listening to Joan Hickson is like being read to by a favourite grandmother. This is a straight reading – she doesn’t ‘act’ the various parts, but her tone is full of expression and her rather old-fashioned accent is perfect for the period of the novel. Sometimes when listening to an audio book I find my attention wandering a bit – but not with this one. Ms Hickson sucked me in (despite the fact that I know the book so well) and held my attention throughout. She brought out the lightness and humour that make Christie’s books such a pleasure and her obvious affection for the book was contagious.



This is an excellent reading of one of the very best of classic mystery novels – highly recommended.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not the right narrator

Any additional comments?

A good, solid Agatha Christis story, but as it is told in first person by a young male protagonist, Joan Hickson really isn't the right narrator. Miss Marple does appear, but only in what amounts to a cameo role near the end. Some of her voices, in particular the younger female ones, sound very peculiar. It is not helped by the fact that Joan Hickson sounds rather as though she is recovering from a bad cold, and occasionally mumbles her words. I would have enjoyed this more if it had been narrated by Hugh Fraser or someone similar.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Joan Hickson is Miss Marple.

A wonderful reading of one of my favourite characters by the only actress who has ever come close to the character as written. Joan Hickson reads this story perfectly and as I listen I can picture her reactions. I enjoyed this and will be purchasing more for my Marple collection but only the Joan Hickson narrations.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Marvellous Miss Marple!

A brilliant reading of this book by Joan Hickson. Superbly done. Joan Hickson was the very best Miss Marple!

1 person found this helpful

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Narration Gender Specifics

I had this version of this book recommended to me &, although I concour with the general concensus that Ms Hickson is the greatest Actress to play the PART of Miss Marple in the TV adaptations (although Geraldine McEwen is also exceptional) I can't help but feel, as this is written in the form of a Gentleman's narration of his experiences, it really ought to've been read by a gentleman, though no particular actor immediately springs to mind.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Joan Hickson's voice is very annoying

Her lack of range of voices often led me to misunderstand who was speaking in places

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

no spoilers

Agatha Christie writes every book so differently from each other (at least the ones I've read). but it works perfectly for the story. the narrator does this amazingly!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classic Christie

Wonderful audiobook. Joan Hickson conveys the true spirit of the novels. Highly recommended for any crime aficionado.

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absolutely marvellous

Honestly incredible. I've listed to 3 miss marple books over the past two days and watched 4 of the BBC adaptations from eons ago with Joan Dickson but this is by far the best story yet. It was so very pleasant even if it was in a murderous sort of way and the end is just brilliant. At the beginning I was doubtful as it took rather a while for anything to happen but then it got very wonderful very quickly after that. I do love Joan hickson reading them and only listen to the ones she narrates. she has such a friendly, warm voice. I now intend to go and watch the BBC adaptation of this story with my mum, a thoroughly good read all round.

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Wrong Narrator

While this is a "Miss Marple" novel and I enjoyed Joan Hickson's performance as Miss Marple in the TV series, this was inappropriate casting. "The Moving Finger" was written as if it is being narrated by Jerry Burton, accordingly the audio would have been best narrated in the voice of a male actor in their 20's or 30's. Alternatively revise the script of "The Moving Finger" so that the narrator of the story matches the voice being used by the audio narrator. Additionally, Joan Hickson's voice frequently sounded slightly muffled, presumably from old age, leaving the impression that she would have performed this narration far better if she had been 20 or 30 or 40 years younger at the time of recording.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-09

Great Story

I love the story and love joan Hickson but her reading was somewhat slurred which slightly marred the reading.

3 people found this helpful