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The Thirteen Problems

Narrated by: Joan Hickson
Series: Miss Marple, Book 2
Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (551 ratings)

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Summary

When her friends from the Tuesday Night Club visit Miss Marple's house, the conversation often turns to unsolved crimes. Trying to solve these 13 mysteries are Raymond West, a young writer; the artist Joyce Lemprière; Dr Pender, the clergyman, who claims to know the hidden side of human character; Mr Petherick, a lawyer who is only interested in the logical approach; and Sir Henry Clithering, whose experience as commissioner of Scotland Yard speaks for itself. Then, of course, there is Miss Marple, who has observed enough about human nature to be more than a match for the most perspicacious investigator.
©1932 Agatha Christie Limited, a Chorion Company. All rights reserved (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London UK

Critic reviews

"The plots are so good that one marvels...most of them would have made a full-length thriller." ( Daily Mirror)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss
  • Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
  • 28-03-13

Very good

Loved listening to the late Joan Hickson's melodious tones again. I enjoy Agatha Christie's shorter stories perhaps more than the longer ones, no need for character development, which I don't think was her forte, just a well crafted yarn.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joan
  • Wallington, United Kingdom
  • 16-01-12

What a Treat

A treat indeed to have the great Joan Hickson (surely the definitive Miss Marple) read some of Christie's greatest stories. Her quietly authoritative voice lends itself beautifully to the prose text and the clarity of her tones makes listening a pure joy. What a pity she passed on before the whole gamut of Miss Marple mysteries could have been recorded. That would be an archive worth having.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great as ever

Always a great read -I love Agatha Christie and Joan hickson!
Great way to start listening with these 13 short stories

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs A
  • Nottinghamshire, UK
  • 27-06-14

Individual stories - unusual for Christie!

I liked this because it WASN@T a usual Christie book! I love the Miss Marple book, but find a lot of her other stuff a little tedious (I know I shall probably be stuck down for saying such things!!)
The individual stories are told by a group of people sat playing cards one evening and they start to tell their tales of woe!
Joan Hickson is FABULOUS as the narrator! She, in my opinion, was also the best Miss Marple in the televised adaptations too! She has the Oooh's and Ahh’s that Christie wrote so painstakingly for the Marple stories. None of the others have ever "got" that part - - anyway, I digress...
Over all I did actually enjoy this book! This is probably the 15th book I have read of Christies over the years and this is my favourites!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • Salford, United Kingdom
  • 13-04-13

Classic Christie all the way.

If you've read Christie before - and if you haven't, shame on you - you know what to expect. A complex riddle surrounded by red-herrings, archetypal characterisation, and loads of posh people. Joan Hickson, as expected, reads this as if she had written it herself. Simply brilliant.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good

Thirteen problems - clever and intricate. How does Agatha Christie do it? Lovely to listen to Joan Hickson’s voice.
The only irritation is the way that the next story starts at the end of the end of the previous one without a pause.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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"A mind like a Victorian Sink!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! These short stories contain the essence of Miss Jane Marple in all her glory. Her deceptive fluffiness, and her mind like a razor blade that cuts through all subterfuge. Time and again, her nephew Raymond and his bright young crowd, try to put Aunt Jane in the corner while they ponder some mystery. Time and again, she clicks away on her knitting needles and then informs them sweetly of the true solution to whatever baffled them. I never tire of it!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Miss Marple - who else?

Which character – as performed by Joan Hickson – was your favourite?

Joan Hickson, for me is the quintessential Miss Marple. Hearing an audio performance of these stories is like completing the BBC series starring her. It is delightful.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, many times I have listened to it in one gardening session.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Always a pleasure

Joan Hickson the one and only Miss Marple, such pleasant personality to listen to especially of an evening when settling down to bed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A super set of stories narrated by the best.

If you could sum up The Thirteen Problems in three words, what would they be?

Thirteen well structured short mysteries.

What other book might you compare The Thirteen Problems to, and why?

Death By Drowning-same series.

What about Joan Hickson’s performance did you like?

Her diction and her ability to read the characters as they were written-without an absurd sense of 'modern irony'.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C
  • 19-03-17

Minor issue

Slightly annoyed as when put together the different stories start too fast and almost blur the last word of the previous section... Could have done with a two second pause. But otherwise no gripes. Good stories very clear and well put together.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • happyretro
  • 08-02-12

Awesome Miss Marple Short Stories

What did you love best about The Thirteen Problems?

Its a series of 13 short stories, expertly read by Joan Hickson (my favourite Miss Marple). Each story is the perfect length to listen to before bed, on the train, etc. Each keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering who-dunnit.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, by having a series of short stories, so the suspense never lowers.

What does Joan Hickson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Joan Hickson's voice just epitomizes Miss Marple. But she's also a great actress who brings life to every character, and adds suspense and excitement through her voice.

Any additional comments?

A good selection for time poor people.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • 13-03-18

Not a Joan Hickson Fan - but great AC stories

you can't go wrong with AC short stories. every one of them entertaining in their own right. but I am not a fan of Joan Hickson's narration and it made the book just a little tedious. at points she sounded like she was mumbling and her diction isn't half as clear.

i know many fancy her the perfect miss marple, and mayhap she is but I would take the clear, crisp, and knowing voice of Geraldine McEwan anyday.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Yuen May
  • 27-08-19

"Pleasant Pleasantries"

I can imagine Miss Marple's voice as I type this out. 😅🤭

It was so nice to hear Joan Hickson's voice again. For all the terrible murders, I feel like this is a series I will enjoy going through in my life (time). Although, now I'm tempted to start on the Hercule Poirot series.
But it is queer. To listen to all these discussions of these cases. Why... It almost makes me feel liko I'm beside Miss Marple, listening to her as she shares her observations on human nature.

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  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 06-07-19

Love agatha Christie

I never get tired of Agatha Christie and the narrators are wonderful - enough said I think.

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  • Stevo
  • 14-08-14

Classic Miss Marple

Where does The Thirteen Problems rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

'The Thirteen Problems' is one of my favourite audio-books so far. The thirteen stories in this collection are Miss Marple at her best.

What did you like best about this story?

Agatha Christie really excelled at writing these type of stories, so all of the stories in this collection are very entertaining bite-sized mysteries.

I like short story collections as they are perfect for easy listening in short bursts.

Which character – as performed by Joan Hickson – was your favorite?

Miss Marple of course!

Joan Hickson was Jane Marple in the 1980's BBC TV series, so having this great actress narrate these Miss Marple stories brings an authentic voice to the thirteen stories. She does a brilliant job voicing all of the characters in this audio-book, but Joan Hickson is Miss Marple as far as I am concerned.

Who was the most memorable character of The Thirteen Problems and why?

These are Miss Marple stories where her shrewd intelligence and experience of human nature shine through, so nobody is supposed to surpass Jane Marple's clever way of solving problems... and nobody does.

Any additional comments?

A nice collection of mystery stories, that are very well written and very well performed.