I read the original bundle for this book back in 2017, so I decided to do re-reads, with stand alone reviews. Can't lie, this book still irks my heart. I read this one second since I knew it was shorter than "The Body in the Library" and that one holds a special place in my heart.
"The Moving Finger" takes a while to get going, and we don't have Miss Marple entering into some ways into the story. Instead, we have "The Moving Finger" told in first person POV by Jerry Burton. Jerry was a pilot who was injured in an airplane accident. Now he is back in England and recovering. Jerry is told he needs to go to the country to recover, and he and his sister, Joanna, decide to find a home that is available for them to stay at in the village of Lymstock. The two siblings right away learn that there is some randomness going on with a poisoned pen writer that seems hell-bent on stirring up trouble among the village. Eventually someone is found dead (by their own hand it appears) but then someone turns up murdered, and many in the village fear that more deaths are imminent unless the writer of the letters is found.
Jerry is adrift while in Lymstock until he comes across a local solicitor's stepdaughter, Megan. Megan is described throughout this book as indecisive and frumpy. Although she is 20, Jerry treats her like a kid sister and feels annoyed by her inability to stand up for herself. When Jerry and Joanna see how her own mother treats her (married for the second time to Megan's stepfather and having two more kids with him) they just pity her. I honestly did too since she is not wanted at home, but doesn't know what else she can really do. When Megan suffers a personal loss, things seem even more frantic with her.
I did hate how Christie had Megan go through what I call "She's All That" makeover. Jerry takes her to get herself together with clothes, hair, etc. in London and then he starts having "feelings."
Joanna is a bright young thing that is not too serious until she starts to think on the local doctor, Owen. There is not much character development with Joanna and Owen though. We get some scenes, but Christie is focused mostly on Jerry. I wish that she had built up Joanna more. I loved the tv adaptation of this book since we get to see more of Joanna in that one.
Miss Marple shows up around the halfway mark I think. The local vicar's wife (no not that one) calls up Miss Marple since she knows her way around murders. And Miss Marple and Jerry constantly have conversations about smoke and fire. It was so repetitive and annoying after a while. I really didn't feel like anything was found out by deduction as much as Jerry is told about things after the fact. He starts to feel a bit superfluous after a while.
We have other characters in this one too such as Megan's mother and stepfather, the governess the family has hired, the older woman who has rented her home to Jerry and Joanna, the maids, Owen's sister, etc. Lymstock feels pretty alive with characters a history there.
The flow was just off to me. And I have to admit the writing was okay, but this one took me a while to even get into. I just found it boring until the first murder. And then the ending just comes quite quickly after that.